New York has a new Dyslexia Law thanks to Ptahra Jeppe and Assemblywoman (and long-time dyslexia advocate) Jo Anne Simon. Read more about the law HERE.
“I was literally in tears because now in New York State we are one step closer to all students getting the opportunity to be successful. “
When Ptahra entered the 7th grade reading at a 2nd grade level, she was told that she would never graduate high school. Not only did she graduate high school, but she graduated with honors from college, and now she is in her second year of law school.
Although Ptahra grew up in family of educators (both her mother and grandmother were teachers), but she struggled mightily with reading and timed tests.
“I remember the first time I had a test where the teacher couldn’t help me out at all. We were told to write our names on the front of the packet, and I just sat there bawling. I knew there was something missing for me. Kids around me were starting to read through the test and write answers, but for me it was like looking at a blank piece of paper because I couldn’t read anything.”
“I am living proof that accommodations work
and are needed.”
Ptahra was identified with dyslexia in the 3rd grade, but she was bounced around special and general education classrooms without the specific instruction she needed. In the 7th grade, Ptahra’s parents fought to get her accepted to a private school that specialized in dyslexia so that not only did she receive dyslexia-specific instruction, she also received a reader, scribe, double-time, audiobooks, and separate testing to help her succeed.
“I was the kid who statistically wasn’t supposed to graduate high school. And forget life after that: college, a successful job, and other achievements. But I graduated and went on to attend Adelphi University where I studied sociology and graduated magna cum laude.”
The legislation passed quickly with bipartisan support directs the state commissioner to create a guidance memo about the unique needs of students with dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia. It also informs schools that they can use those specific terms instead of “learning disorder.” This step may bring students closer to to making sure they receive the support and intervention they need.