Missouri legislators recently passed a new law that would require all public schools in the state to provide dyslexia screening to students, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. That's great news for children with dyslexia and their families in Missouri. But not all states require dyslexia screening in schools. In fact, many don't even define dyslexia as an educational issue, forcing parents to find private resources to help their children learn.

Research has shown early intervention to treat dyslexia can drastically change the course of a child's education for the better. Many children struggle to learn to read in their early school years. But for kids with dyslexia, these struggles continue in middle school and high school. By that point, kids with dyslexia may have failed hundreds of tests and missed out on many valuable learning opportunities, not because they weren't smart enough, but because they have trouble processing the letters on a page.

According to the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity, dyslexia comes in many forms, making it difficult to understand — and to diagnose. Many people think it simply involves reversing letters. But it can also affect the way a person sees and interprets letters and numbers, making reading comprehension, writing, spelling and even speaking more difficult.

Most states offer special support to students with learning disabilities. But in many states, kids with dyslexia are not granted this support. Without teacher training and other resources, a diagnosis of dyslexia can do little to help a child learn to read.

As the new Missouri bill shows, dyslexia legislation is rapidly changing across the U.S. But there are still 10 states that have absolutely no laws on the books to define dyslexia, don't provide for screening or teacher training or allow children with the condition to access the resources they need to learn. They are Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota and Vermont.

Several of the states that have some legislation addressing dyslexia only go so far as to define the condition without providing any guidance or means for screening, teacher training or other resources. But grassroots movements led by parents of kids with dyslexia are helping to change this.

The advocacy group Decoding Dyslexia was instrumental in getting the new Missouri law on the books. Similar groups are working on adding and improving dyslexia legislation and educational resources throughout the country. To find out what's happening in your state — and how you can help children with dyslexia get a better shot at an education — check out the Decoding Dyslexia website.

Why don't all states require dyslexia screening in schools?
Research has shown early intervention to treat dyslexia can drastically change the course of a child's education for the better.