YCD&C Applauds New Federal Dyslexia Policy

 There is great news from Washington for people with dyslexia, for people who care about dyslexia and for society as a whole.

The Senate and House this week overwhelmingly passed the bipartisan First Step Act to make changes to the federal criminal justice system.

Critically, the bill makes significant progress in federal dyslexia policy.  For the first time, the legislation uses the “21st” Century definition” of dyslexia that emerged from our work at the Yale Center on Dyslexia & Creativity – namely that dyslexia is an “unexpected difficulty” in reading.  That is, a person can be very bright and still struggle to read. 

In addition, the legislation calls for the Attorney General to incorporate a dyslexia screening program into the system.  This screening of adolescents and adults must be evidence-based, efficient and economical, like the screener we have developed at the Center.

We applaud Congress for taking this important step.  The President has indicated he will sign the bill, and we look forward to a better 2019 for all those who struggle with dyslexia.


Bennett A. Shaywitz, M.D.

The Charles and Helen Schwab Professor in Dyslexia and Learning Development

Sally E. Shaywitz, M.D.

The Audrey G. Ratner Professor in Learning Development

Co-Directors, Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity (www.dyslexia.yale.edu)

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