On December 12, 2018, Decoding Dyslexia Ontario contributed the following response to the provincial government’s Education Curriculum Consultation.
Decoding Dyslexia Ontario is a parent-led, non-profit organization that raises dyslexia awareness, empowers families to support their children who are dyslexic, and shares best practices regarding identification, remediation and support for students with dyslexia. We are parents, teachers, tutors and students who are concerned about the students with dyslexia in our public schools. The Decoding Dyslexia parent advocacy movement began in the U.S. and has managed, in under a decade, to influence education policy across that country. They have done so by providing policy makers with illustrations of the failure of schools to address the needs of students with dyslexia and by offering evidence-based solutions to this tragedy. To date, 47 of 50 states have dyslexia legislation and related policy.
The Ontario Curriculum Consultation process does not seek to specifically address Ontario’s reading curriculum and Ontario’s reading instruction policies and guidelines. Yet this Submission begins with reading and then will also address math, EQAO (and other large-scale standardized assessments), and mental health. This is because reading is the one key skill that every child must develop to find success in school and in life. Math and any other subject taught in schools cannot be entered into by a student without first knowing how to read. Reading therefore must be addressed by the Ontario Curriculum Consultation.
Decoding Dyslexia wants to improve overall reading scores (and math scores) by addressing the needs of the estimated 6% to 17% of children with dyslexia in our province (J. Fletcher et al, 2007, p. 105). By providing a reading curriculum that follows universal design, is based on the science of reading and is accessible to ALL children, we can reduce the number of children with learning disabilities who will need special education services, leading to cost savings for our schools and better outcomes for students. Where students with physical impairments requires a wheelchair ramp to access a school environment, a student with dyslexia requires an explicit, systematic and scientifically based approach to reading instruction to access education in our province, a right for all children under The Ontario Human Rights Code.
Read our entire submission here: