BOSTON — Senator Eric P. Lesser voted with the State Senate on Wednesday and Thursday to pass bills supporting those affected by dyslexia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The first bill, S. 2243 An Act relative to students with dyslexia, requires the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, in consultation with the Department of Early Education and Care, to issue guidelines on developing screening protocols for students who have at least one indicator for dyslexia or another neurological learning disability.
“This bill levels the playing field for students who want to learn and simply don’t understand why they’re having trouble keeping up,” said Sen. Lesser. “By providing clearer guidance on how to screen children for dyslexia and other learning disabilities, we can shed light on how these students learn and what kinds of support they need to reach their full potential.”
“I first filed this bill after meeting Ethan, a young boy in my district who has dyslexia and his family. I quickly learned that our current laws and education system do not adequately serve our students with dyslexia,” said Sen. L’Italien (D-Andover), who filed the bill. “Most families in the stories I read today have spent countless hours, thousands of dollars, and many sleepless nights trying to get their kids the education that every child deserves. The Massachusetts Senate took a big first step today toward finally supporting thousands of students who just want to be able to learn alongside their peers, enjoy school, and go on to find success in life. Education is the greatest equalizer, and that starts with learning to read.”
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.
The second bill, H. 4116 An Act relative to Alzheimer’s and related dementias in the Commonwealth, also sponsored by Sen. L’Italien and co-sponsored by Sen. Lesser, establishes a state advisory council on Alzheimer’s disease research and treatment.
It also requires all designated agencies of the Department of Elder Affairs to provide training to caseworkers on recognizing the signs and symptoms of cognitive impairments such as Alzheimer’s. In addition, it requires that physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers complete a continuing education course on diagnosis and treatment of patients with cognitive impairments including Alzheimer’s.
“Everyone knows someone, or has someone in their own family, struggling with Alzheimer’s or dementia. I saw the toll these impairments take on families due to my own grandfather and grandmother, who both suffered from dementia. But even though these impairments are common, recognizing their symptoms and treating them is unfortunately not common knowledge. This bill aims to close that gap to provide greater support and care to these members of our families and communities,” said Sen. Lesser.
The bill, having passed the House of Representatives, now goes to the Governor’s desk for his signature.