OHIO — A new state law set to take effect this fall requires school districts to test for dyslexia. Signed into law in 2021, it was delayed because of the pandemic. 

What You Need To Know

  • The new Dyslexia law will require school districts across Ohio to screen all K-3 students for Dyslexia

  • It's to make sure students get the resources they need earlier

  • The law will go into effect in the fall

  • Columbus City Schools already screens all 1st-5th grade students for reading and math

Dyslexia is described as a learning disability marked by poor spelling and decoding abilities, defined by the International Dyslexia Association. Those with dyslexia can have trouble reading, reading, and comprehending written text. 

Melissa Moulin knows first-hand. Now an adult, she struggled as a child, reading and writing letters and numbers correctly.

“My friends were reading before me,” said Moulin. “I felt really dumb. I just thought that my brain just doesn’t work and everyone else is just so much smarter than me.”

Her teachers recommended she get glasses and receive additional support.

“I was in occupational therapy, like working on handwriting and things like that,” she said. “And occupational therapy did end up helping with my handwriting, but it wasn’t the glasses."

It wasn't until third grade that they realized she showed the common signs of dyslexia, and she got the extra help she needed. The new law could help diagnosis dyslexia earlier and help people like Moulin.

This fall, districts will administer a onetime screening for students in kindergarten through third grade. Columbus City Schools already does math and reading screening for all K-5 students.

“The screening aspect is very similar to what we’re already doing,” said Michalene Nelson, executive director of extended accelerated learning for Columbus City Schools. “We’re just looking at our current practice and making sure that these screeners that we’re using it will follow what the ODE says to use.”

Nelson said the district already has nearly 2,700 students identified as having a specific learning disability, with most of them struggling in reading.

“It’s really important because we want to identify those students early and we want to get them linked with the appropriate intervention sooner, rather than later," Nelson said.

The intervention came just in time for Moulin, who overcame her dyslexia to become a lifelong book lover. 

“In middle school I got the hang of reading and writing and then I became a reading fool," she said. "I would be reading like two to three books a week."

This new law will require all kindergarten students be screened every year. Transfer students who have not been previously screened will be tested as well. Any first through sixth grade students can be evaluated for dyslexia if requested by a parent or teacher.