Washington, D.C. – President Obama today signed the bipartisan Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia Act (READ Act) (H.R. 3033) into law. The READ Act was introduced by Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Julia Brownley (D-Calif.) who are co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Dyslexia Caucus. The Caucus is comprised of over 100 Members of Congress and is dedicated to increasing public awareness about dyslexia and ensuring all students have equal educational opportunities.
Dyslexia affects an estimated 8.5 million school children and one in six Americans in some form. The READ Act supports important research to further our understanding of dyslexia, including better methods for early detection and teacher training. The final version of the READ Act passed the House and Senate earlier this month, sending the bill to the President for his signature.
Chairman Smith: “Today we can help millions of Americans have a brighter and more prosperous future. Despite the prevalence of dyslexia, many Americans remain undiagnosed, untreated and silently struggle at school or work. We need to enable those with dyslexia to achieve their maximum potential. I am glad that the House and Senate were able to work together and send the president a good bipartisan bill to help accomplish this goal.”
Rep. Brownley: “I am proud to be the co-Chair of the Congressional Dyslexia Caucus, where I can help individuals like my daughter who live with dyslexia. The resounding bipartisan support for the bill demonstrates how many Americans are impacted by dyslexia, and underscores the need for more research and better evidence-based interventions for students with dyslexia. I thank the members of the Science Committee and Chairman Smith for their leadership on this important issue.”
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) was a founding member and former co-chair of the Congressional Dyslexia Caucus.
Sen. Cassidy: “Every child deserves the chance to reach their full potential. Unfortunately, many children who have dyslexia are never properly diagnosed and their school performance suffers through no fault of their own. This law will make dyslexia research and diagnosis a priority and give our children the tools they need to excel. When we invest in dyslexia research, we invest in our next generation of doctors, teachers, writers and engineers.”
The READ Act requires the president’s annual budget request to Congress to include the Research in Disabilities Education program of the National Science Foundation (NSF). As amended, the bill requires the NSF to devote at least $2.5 million annually to dyslexia research, which would focus on best practices in the following areas:
•Early identification of children and students with dyslexia
•Professional development about dyslexia for teachers and administrators
•Curricula development and evidence-based educational tools for children with dyslexia
The READ Act authorizes dyslexia research projects using funds appropriated for the National Science Foundation. The bill would also authorize $2.5 million for research focused on other learning disabilities, including those which are also associated with dyslexia.