Albany, NY – Assemblymember Robert Carroll (D/WF-Brooklyn) announced that his bill the “Dyslexia Diagnosis Access Act” (A.2898) passed the New York State Assembly unanimously last night.
This legislation would require that private health insurance policies pay for neuropsychological exams for the purpose of diagnosing dyslexia. Most medical insurance companies do not reimburse for this and schools typically only offer limited assessments. Neuropsychological exams are often administered over the course of two days and currently may cost in excess of six thousand dollars making them unaffordable to many families.
Studies indicate that as many as one in five children may have dyslexia or another phonemic awareness issue. As well as hampering students’ educational achievement, untreated dyslexia and other learning disorders increase the risk of anxiety, depression, suicide, drug use, and incarceration; this leads to increased healthcare costs as well as substantial costs to society. Educational research has unequivocally demonstrated that early identification of dyslexia, coupled with intervention and multisensory sequential phonics instruction drastically improves educational outcomes limiting the harm caused by dyslexia.
“I was fortunate as a child that my family had the resources to pay for a neuropsychological exam. Being diagnosed with dyslexia was the first step in getting the interventions I needed that literally changed my life,” said Assemblymember Carroll. “This legislation has the potential to help thousands of children and their families. The cost of these assessments will be lower than the costs that result from dyslexia going undiagnosed and untreated. The Senate should move with alacrity to pass this essential legislation.”
“Assemblymember Carroll is making a profound difference for New York City’s underserved children with learning disabilities. The “Dyslexia Diagnosis Access Act” will be a game changer at leveling the playing field and allow many more children access to get the educational tools they need to learn and put them on the path to success,” said Ted Kamoutsis, Executive Director of the Promise Project, which provides neuropsychological exams and teacher training regarding reading disorders for kindergartners in marginalized and underserved communities in New York City.
While responding to an ongoing need of children and families, this legislation is also timely given the anticipated increase in demand for neuropsychological exams as New York City ramps up its efforts to screen students for dyslexia.
The “Dyslexia Diagnosis Access Act” is part of an ongoing and multifaceted effort in the area of dyslexia and literacy education by Assemblymember Carroll. His “Dyslexia Task Force Act” has passed both the Assembly and Senate this year and will now go to the Governor for signature. This February he announced that he directed $100,000 in state funding to PS 107 and PS 295 in New York City School District 15 for structured literacy programming. In 2020 he successfully lobbied the New York City Department of Education to provide dyslexia screening at two schools in his district, PS 107 and PS 130. Over the past two years, he has secured $500,000 in state funding to support the Promise Project at Columbia University which provides neuropsychological exams and teacher training regarding reading disorders for kindergartners in marginalized and underserved communities in New York City. He just successfully secured another $250,000 for the Promise Project in the State’s 2023-23 budget.