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Funding For Dyslexia, Disability Screening Slashed From Legislation

ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — More than 1 million California students have a disability you can't see, but can interfere for a lifetime.

Schools don't screen for dyslexia, but a new bill in front of state lawmakers would help train teachers.

Roseville fourth-grader Sophia Granucci has improved her dyslexia by working with a private tutor after school.

"When the teacher called on me to read I had to ask a lot of friends what words were and what they said," she said.

Dyslexia prevents her from being able to read and write despite a normal intelligence. Her mom says she went undiagnosed for years.

They were among dozens who spoke out at the state Capitol last month in support of a new bill that requires schools to better identify and address dyslexic students' needs.

Sophia's tutor, Lisa Skinner, says California teachers lack the proper training.

"Unless they are using a program specific to dyslexia, children are going to continue to struggle." she said.

Without it, Skinner says those students can fall behind even more, damaging their self-esteem in the process.

The original bill would have screened all kindergarten to third-grade students annually for disabilities including dyslexia. Opponents said it would cost too much and struck that part out of the measure.

"Eighty percent of our kids in special ed, which costs money, are dyslexic," Skinner said. "So if you could screen at an early age and use the appropriate teaching strategies, those kids wouldn't be in special ed. Imagine how much money they are saving."

If passed and signed by the governor, the new training guidelines will go into effect by the 2017-18 school year.

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