The University of Southern Mississippi Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education (CISE) and the DuBard School for Language Disorders in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences are collaborating to offer a Master’s of Education degree in Dyslexia Therapy expected to begin in June 2013.
In development for more than three years, this innovative program will be the first such degree offered by a Mississippi public university. As school administrators, teachers, therapists and the general public are becoming more aware of students with reading difficulties and the academic challenges they face, the need for extensive and specialized professional development becomes more obvious.
“Dyslexia is a common, but complex, disorder that is often misunderstood or misdiagnosed,” said Dr. Maureen Martin, director of the DuBard School for Language Disorders at Southern Miss. “The more teachers and therapists who are prepared to identify and treat dyslexia with scientifically-based multisensory reading approaches, the more successful students challenged with reading disabilities will be across their lifetimes.”
While the program is still in the proposal state, specifics on courses and qualifications have already been determined. The courses will utilize the DuBard Association Method® as the therapy methodology, which will qualify candidates for Mississippi’s Class AA Master’s degree level educator licensure for dyslexia therapy. It will also prepare them to take the Alliance Examination, which is required for national certification as a Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT).
The DuBard Association Method® is a phonetic, multisensory teaching-learning strategy designed for individuals with oral and written language learning differences, including the language disorder of dyslexia, and is utilized by professionals throughout the nation. In addition, courses in typical language development, the structure of the language, reading development, research, and related areas will be offered. Extensive practicum experiences will be included both on site at Southern Miss and at other sites through virtual supervision.
This new degree program will be offered through the cooperation of two colleges within the university, the College of Education and Psychology and the College of Health, providing a wider range of educational opportunities for students. Qualifying applicants must have an undergraduate degree in elementary or special education, speech-language pathology, or a related field. Because of a unique format of on-line and face-to-face components, this degree program will provide a flexible schedule that will allow working professionals to participate.