The purpose of the Specialist in Dyslexia Therapy is to train candidates to meet the needs of students with dyslexia in public schools, non-public schools, and private centers. The program provides instruction in Structured Literacy, a proven approach that is based on current reading research. The Dyslexia Therapy techniques are based on the works of Samuel Orton and designed for students with dyslexia and related disorders.
Upon completion of the program, the candidate will have met the requirements for attaining a state AAA license in dyslexia therapy.
Candidates who successfully complete the program will be eligible to sit for the Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA) examination for the opportunity to gain national certification as a Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT) and the International Dyslexia Associations examination KPEERI.
The Specialist in Dyslexia Therapy program is accredited through the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC) and the International Dyslexia Association (IDA).
The program is designed to be in compliance with the 2012 Mississippi Dyslexia Law (MS Code Sec. 37-173-1). The specialist degree meets the MDE licensure requirements and has been approved by the Mississippi Department of Education and the State Board of Education.
Students who currently hold an M.Ed. in Dyslexia Therapy are not eligible for this program.
Description of the Program
The Specialist of Education in Dyslexia Therapy is structured in a two-year cohort format. The first 10 courses are face to face with a practicum component that requires supervision of 720 clinical hours. The Specialist Degree will include 36 semester hours. Students will be assigned additional assignments to add to the rigor of the existing ten dyslexia therapy courses, plus completion of two additional courses that are required in the existing Specialist of Education Program.
All students will be required to sit for the Knowledge and Practice Examination of Effective Reading Instruction Exam (K-PEERI) which is required by IDA. Upon passing this exam, the candidate earns the national title of Certified Dyslexia Specialist.
“Dyslexia” is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin, characterized by difficulties with accurate and fluent word recognition and poor spelling and decoding abilities, which typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction, and secondary consequences which may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge (International Dyslexia Association, 2012).
“Dyslexia therapy” means an appropriate specialized dyslexia instructional program that is delivered by a Mississippi Department of Education licensed dyslexia therapist which is scientific, research-based, Orton-Gillingham based, and is offered in a small group (MS Code Sec. 37-173-1).
“Dyslexia therapist” means a professional who has completed training in a department approved Orton-Gillingham based dyslexia therapy training program attaining an AA license in dyslexia therapy or a professional participating in a state approved dyslexia therapy training program to attain a AA license in dyslexia therapy (MS Code Sec. 37-173-1).
Students are admitted to the Master of Education in dyslexia therapy program as a cohort class. No student will be admitted on a provisional or probationary basis. Coursework used in a previous degree may not be used toward the master’s degree.
To fulfill requirements for admission to the Master of Education in dyslexia therapy program, the student must:
- hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university.
- complete and file with the graduate education office the application packet for admission to the university. This application must be submitted prior to registering for classes and before the deadline established by the graduate admission office.
- provide official transcripts of all college work completed to date for the registrar and the graduate office. After the applicant is accepted, a supplementary official transcript showing any additional work completed at other institutions is also required.
- have a G.P.A. of 3.25 in a related master’s program.
- currently hold or qualify to hold a teacher’s license to teach at the elementary or secondary level in Mississippi if seeking AA teaching license approval upon completion of the degree.
- submit two letters of recommendation completed by a school administrator and an immediate supervisor.
This degree leads to an advanced license in dyslexia therapy as regulated by the Mississippi Department of Education. A weight system will be used when examining the submitted information. A committee will examine the information and make acceptance decisions after an evaluation of the information from all potential students who have made application to the program.