Did you know that 1 in 5 children struggle with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities? That is over 61,000 students in Idaho alone.
Learn more about the grassroots movement of Decoding Dyslexia.
Children with these types of learning challenges are often misunderstood, inaccurately diagnosed and go unsupported. Currently there is NO legislation in the State of Idaho around this important issue, and until 2021, dyslexia wasn’t even mentioned in the Idaho Comprehensive Literacy Plan. Children entering school are not being screened and little remediation or teacher training is in place. Thankfully, improvements are being made, thanks to an inspiring organization known as Decoding Dyslexia Idaho.
Decoding Dyslexia is a 501(c)3 grassroots movement that started in New Jersey in 2011 by a passionate group of parents and educators who saw a need to bring awareness and better resources to our public schools for these students who struggle. Idaho was the final state in the nation to develop a chapter, which was pioneered by Robin Zikmund in 2018.
Since launching the DDID State Chapter, the effort has grown from two moms and one Special Education Teacher to 100’s of teachers, even more parents and a team of dyslexic and literacy specialists dedicated to serving students. They have joined efforts to:
- Bring awareness to dyslexia and language-based learning disabilities
- Advocate for and create changes to solid literacy instruction (based in the Science of Reading) for all children
- Work with leaders to develop dyslexia specific remediation programs
- Create legislation to support these efforts
DDID’s first meeting with Governor Brad Little was in October 2019 at the Idaho State Capitol where he publicly signed a Proclamation naming October as Dyslexia Awareness Month. This was followed by their first in-person conference, the Dyslexia Awareness Summit, produced by just 2 moms and 1 Special Education teacher. It was a great success with over 100 people in attendance and is an annual event that has continued every year since.
Their biggest success to date was being part of the committee who revised the Idaho Comprehensive Literacy Plan. This is the statewide plan for literacy that all Idaho school districts are to follow and write their own districts’ literacy plans. Idaho’s state plan is now based in the “Science of Reading” and for the first time ever, Dyslexia is referenced in the plan. Most recently, DDID, in collaboration with others, pushed for a Dyslexia State Handbook. This is now in the works and moving forward successfully!
Currently, Decoding Dyslexia Idaho is also working on dyslexia legislation with the Governor’s office, sponsored by Senator Crabtree. It will be presented in the upcoming session and will include an early secondary dyslexia specific screener, teacher training, and dyslexia resources for families.
The future is bright as DDID and their impact continues with dreams of bringing in dyslexic specialists from outside of Idaho for their Annual October 2022 Dyslexia Awareness Summit where they are planning for another full day of teacher and parent training and would love to begin a DDID Kids Camp.
Want to get involved?
- Grant writing volunteer to support current and upcoming initiatives
- Volunteers (they are in great need of event coordination, sign & printing services, event sponsors, & dyslexia experts for speaking and training for our Idaho teachers). They will gladly welcome your skills, talents, and time in any capacity
- Financial donations
- Contact your local Legislator and express your support for a dyslexia screener, awareness, remediation, and support.
More information can be found at the Decoding Dyslexia Idaho website or by contacting them at 303-681-7059.
Additional information if we want to include it:
Quote About Conferences
“Our teachers come to our conferences with tears in their eyes starving for support on how to help this population of children.”
Picture of Robin Zikmund with Senator Crabtree and Mathew Reiber from the Governor’s office who they are working with in writing our states Dyslexia Legislation. This picture is from the Speaker of the House Luncheon that was Friday, January 7th, 2022.