Sen. Mimi Stewart’s bill to screen first-graders in New Mexico public schools for dyslexia received concurrence from the Senate on Thursday after passing the House of Representatives on Wednesday. SB 398 now goes to the governor.

“Data show that the earlier we identify students with dyslexia and start interventions, the more likely those students are to succeed,” Stewart said. “All students deserve the chance to learn.”

SB 398 requires first-grade teachers to screen any students showing signs of dyslexia. This screening is a first step in helping to identify dyslexic students. Based on screening results, a student may receive in-classroom interventions or may be referred for further testing. Parents will be involved and informed throughout the process.

“Kids want to learn,” Stewart said. “They want to read and feel successful. Undiagnosed dyslexia can take the fun out of learning and lead to lifelong academic struggles.”

Throughout the legislative process, SB 398 has received support from students, teachers and parents from the May Center for Learning in Santa Fe, which works extensively with dyslexic students.

“The students from the May Center are success stories,” Stewart said, “but even their journeys have been hard. Students told me of feeling ‘stupid’ and being made fun of by classmates at other schools before they were diagnosed with dyslexia and received academic interventions. Earlier screenings could have helped these kids realize their potential and believe in themselves even sooner.”