On Saturday May 3, 2014, Cooper Learning Center, part of the Children’s Regional Hospital at Cooper, hosted a regional conference on dyslexia and language-related disabilities. Over 125 parents and educators from across Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware came together to explore these topics at “Facets of Dyslexia,” held at the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford.
The keynote speaker for the day was George McCloskey, PhD, Director of School Psychology Research at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Dr. McCloskey presents and consults nationally on issues related to improving students’ executive functioning capacities in the classroom and at home. Other sessions during the conference included screening tools available, developing educational plans, language processing and more.
In early 2014, Governor Chris Christie signed legislation which requires that school districts screen children for dyslexia and other reading disabilities at an early age if they show signs of having a reading disability. The legislation stems from the advocacy efforts of New Jersey parent Beth Ravelli whose daughter, Samantha, was diagnosed and later treated with learning therapy at the Cooper Learning Center, as well as the efforts of the grassroots parenting group, Decoding Dyslexia, NJ.
The law, which will go into effect for the 2014-2015 school year, requires school districts to screen children who have exhibited a potential indicator of dyslexia or other reading disabilities by the completion of the first semester in the second grade. This measure is part of a four-bill package to strengthen support services for students with these specific reading disabilities.