Dyslexia Legislation in New Jersey

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dyslexiaNew Jersey has recently enacted three key pieces of legislation with regard to Dyslexia. They include chapter 131, the definition, Chapter 105 professional development which is needed in order to facilitate the legislation and Chapter 210 which deals with the screening of Dyslexia. This legislation was signed into effect during the summer of 2013. It is to be implemented in the upcoming 2014-2105 school year.
Previously, NJ administrative code did not delineate between Dyslexia and other types of specific reading disabilities. The new legislation provides to its delineation, the training of teachers and other support professional in its screening and specific diagnosis. Screening instruments will be distributed to the boards of education from the state. Once the screening occurs, should it prove the possibility of a disability then comprehensive assessment will commence.

CHAPTER 131
AN ACT concerning special education and supplementing chapter 46 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.
BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey: C.18A:46-55 Regulations incorporating definition of dyslexia.

1. The State Board of Education shall promulgate regulations that incorporate the International Dyslexia Association’s definition of dyslexia into chapter 14 of Title 6A of the
New Jersey Administrative Code.
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
Approved August 9, 2013.

CHAPTER 105
BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
C.18A:6-130 Professional development opportunities related to reading disabilities.

1. The Department of Education shall provide professional development opportunities related to reading disabilities, including dyslexia, to school district personnel. The
professional development shall be made available to general education, special education, basic skills, and English as a second language teachers, instructional support staff,
administrators, supervisors, child study team members, and speech-language specialists. The professional development opportunities shall be designed to account for the various manners
in which different school district personnel interact with, or develop instructional programs for, students with reading disabilities.
C.18A:6-131 Required instruction.

2. The State Board of Education shall, as part of the professional development requirement established by the State board for public school teaching staff members, require certain teaching staff members to annually complete at least two hours of professional development instruction on the screening, intervention, accommodation, and use of technology for students with reading disabilities, including dyslexia. The professional
development requirement established pursuant to this section shall apply to general education teachers employed in grades kindergarten through 3, special education, basic skills, and English as a second language teachers, reading specialists, learning disabilities teacher consultants, and speech-language specialists. A board of education may make the professional development opportunities available to other instructional or support staff as the board deems appropriate.

3. This act shall take effect immediately and shall first be applicable to the first full school year beginning after the effective date of this act.
Approved August 7, 2013.

CHAPTER 210
AN ACT concerning reading disabilities among public school students and supplementing chapter 40 of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.
BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:  C.18A:40-5.1 Definitions relative to reading disabilities.

1. As used in this act:
“Potential indicators of dyslexia or other reading disabilities” means indicators that include, but shall not be limited to, difficulty in acquiring language skills; inability to comprehend oral or written language; difficulty in rhyming words; difficulty in naming letters, recognizing letters, matching letters to sounds, and blending sounds when speaking and reading words; difficulty recognizing and remembering sight words; consistent
transposition of number sequences, letter reversals, inversions, and substitutions; and trouble in replication of content.
C.18A:40-5.2 Distribution of information on screening instruments.

2. a. The Commissioner of Education shall distribute to each board of education information on screening instruments available to identify students who possess one or more potential indicators of dyslexia or other reading disabilities pursuant to section 3 of this act. The commissioner shall provide information on the screening instruments appropriate for kindergarten through second grade students and on screening instruments that may be suitably used for older students. A board of education shall select and implement age-appropriate screening instruments for the early diagnosis of dyslexia and other reading disabilities.
b. The commissioner shall develop and distribute to each board of education guidance on appropriate intervention strategies for students diagnosed with dyslexia or other reading disabilities.
C.18A:40-5.3 Screening for dyslexia, other reading disabilities.

3. a. A board of education shall ensure that each student enrolled in the school district who has exhibited one or more potential indicators of dyslexia or other reading disabilities is screened for dyslexia and other reading disabilities using a screening instrument selected pursuant to section 2 of this act no later than the student’s completion of the first semester of the second grade.
b. In the event that a student who would have been enrolled in kindergarten or grade one or two during or after the 2014-2015 school year enrolls in the district in kindergarten or
grades one through six during or after the 2015-2016 school year and has no record of being previously screened for dyslexia or other reading disabilities pursuant to this act, the board of
education shall ensure that the newly-enrolled student is screened for dyslexia and other reading disabilities using a screening instrument selected pursuant to section 2 of this act at
the same time other students enrolled in the student’s grade are screened for dyslexia and other reading disabilities or, if other students enrolled in the student’s grade have previously
been screened, within 90 calendar days of the date the student is enrolled in the district.
c. The screening shall be administered by a teacher or other teaching staff member properly trained in the screening process for dyslexia and other reading disabilities.
C.18A:40-5.4 Comprehensive assessment for the learning disorder.

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