On February 18, 2016, President Obama signed to law the bipartisan Research Excellence and Advancements for Dyslexia Act (READ Act) (H.R. 3033). The READ Act, introduced by Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), supports important research to further our understanding of dyslexia, including better methods for early detection and teacher training.
From news release from the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology Committee:
Dyslexia affects an estimated 8.5 million school children and one in six Americans in some form. The House passed the READ Act last October with unanimous support and earlier this month approved a Senate amendment, sending the bill to the president’s desk 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.’
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.
Chairman Smith introduced the READ Act with Rep. 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 that all students have equal educational opportunities.