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Katy Parents Take Dyslexia Education Concerns to the State Capital


May 21, 2021

By Natalie Cook Clark

Katy parents join thousands hoping to align Texas dyslexia education with the rest of the country. The Beckley Wilson Act (HB 3880) will go before the Texas Senate today. If passed, it would be a win/win situation for the district, students, and Katy families.

Ashley Roberts, Amy Traynor, Rep. Dutton (Chair for House Public Education Committee) Elisha Kalvass, Rep. Toth. Photo courtesy : Amy Traynor

Katy Moms at the State Capital

“We are 100% parents; we’re not paid lobbyist that know how to do this,” says Katy mom Elisha Kalvass, a director for The Dyslexia Initiative, a non-profit, with a strong Katy chapter aimed to educate and help families navigate dyslexia.

Praise from Katy Board Trustee

“I have great respect for the parents from our community who are fighting for our youngest learners,” says Katy ISD Board of Trustee Rebecca Fox. “A strong literacy foundation is crucial for students. These advocates have an understanding and knowledge that are of significant influence with state legislators. Ultimately their preservice will benefit all learners. “

The Beckley Wilson Act is named after a 12-year-old Texan who bravely testified before the House Public Education Committee, but really it could be named after any of the 2,276 elementary students currently receiving dyslexia intervention in Katy ISD.

1 in 5 children have a form of Dyslexia. Katy ISD reports that their dyslexia intervention services met 5.7% of elementary students this academic year.

Parent’s Step Up

Amy Traynor is Katy mother of two (one is dyslexic.) She has worked for 20 years in public schools as an occupational therapist and assistive technology professional for special education. She leads the National Center for Learning Disabilities’ Parent Advisory Council in Texas is has been working alongside Katy ISD Board of Trustees to ensure the best literacy practices for our students.

“It’s been amazing to be seen,” says Amy Traynor. “Especially with the push back that parents of dyslexic students get at every level, after the way our kids are treated and underestimated.”

Traynor and Kalvass are Katy moms that have joined more than 45,000 people across Texas in support of passing legislation to align Texas with federal law that will better serve dyslexic students.

The bill is supported by the Texas Education Agency (TEA,) the Texas State Board of Education and more. It would give parents greater choice and participation in their student’s testing and progress monitoring.

More than Dyslexia

“Dyslexia is not just about reading,” says Kalvass “Lots of kids have other things that are being missed because they are not properly being evaluated.”

If the Beckley Wilson Act passes all students will have access to full individual evaluations, not quick dyslexia only tests.

“We need to get a better picture of the full child,” says Kalvass.

Also, under the Beckley Wilson Act, the parents will get to choose the path of either a 504 vs. a SPED. The school no longer gets to choose the path and power falls to the parent.

For more information on the Beckley Wilson Act and how it could impact your student, visit the website.

“When you are a parent group your voice is powerful when you are telling people, your kids are being wronged,” says Kalvass. “We’re hopeful that progress is being made.”

The 87th legislative session ends on May 31st. They hope to have Governor Abbott sign it before then.

“We are one step closer,” says Trayner.” “But still have lots of steps to take.”

Local Dyslexia Group Offers Information, Support

Parents have a voice and that voice is powerful. It also can be supportive in a topic that is often overwhelming.

The Dyslexia Initiative is a non-profit organization that has a local chapter to support parents, especially coming up on the summer when it’s easy to let reading slip.

“It’s important to learn as much about dyslexia and reading in general because the parent is an equal partner in their child’s education,” says Ashley Roberts, Founder and Executive director of The Dyslexia Initiative. “As a community we are powerful and inspiring.”

The Dyslexia Initiative hosts online coffee sessions most Saturdays through their Facebook page. These discussions cover various topics to help parents and support a growing community. Learn more at their website.

“If parents want information all they have to do is reach out,” says Kalvass. “If you want a topic, let us know and we can put something together.”


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