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Kansas seeks to help students with dyslexia

ROELAND PARK, Kan. -- The state is taking action to help students with dyslexia and other problems reading. A new law creates a task force seeks to help struggling Kansas kids become more successful in school.

Horizon Academy is a private school that specializes in helping children with learning disabilities. The head of the school says an estimated one in five children have trouble learning to read.

At Horizon, specially trained teachers work to retrain students' brains, helping them read at the grade level of their peers.

The new Kansas task force will recommend best reading practices for public schools, and develop screening and protocols for identifying children early who have trouble reading. That's when specialized instruction can do the most good.

"For years schools in general have not even recognized the fact that dyslexia is a true learning difference," said Vicki Asher of Horizon Academy. "And it requires a different approach to meeting our students' needs. So it’s huge. Even if it’s just a baby step. We are out there talking about it, is incredible."

The task force also is expected to recommend inservice training for teachers, so they know alternative methods to help children learn to read in different ways.

Identifying dyslexia can help children become stronger students at an early age and prevent some from being diverted into special education classes, which are costlier for taxpayers.

There are only five states left in the nation that do not have a law addressing dyslexia and other reading hurdles children may face in school.