Carey offers Dylsexia Course | Schools
The following is a press release from William Carey University:
Dr. Cena Holifield, founder and executive director of The Dynamic Dyslexia Design School (The 3-D School) in Petal, will teach a graduate course in Multi-Sensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills for Children with Dyslexia June 4-9 at William Carey University.
During the one-week course at Carey, Dr. Holifield will give an overview of dyslexia and the type of instruction dyslexia children need. She will also provide activities educators can take back to their classroom which will benefit all children, especially those with dyslexia.
Dr. Holifield opened The 3-D School in 2008 after spending 10 years in a regular classroom and realizing dyslexic children’s educational needs were not being served. This state-accredited special purpose school’s objective is to strengthen children with dyslexia by providing them with therapy sessions using Orton-Gillingham based instruction delivered by state licensed dyslexia therapists. The school, which currently has 42 students and seven licensed therapists, accepts students entering second or third grade and allows students to stay two-three years, providing them with intensive curriculum is based on current scientific reading research.
According to the International Dyslexia Association, 10 to 20 percent of the population at large suffers from dyslexia, which translates to about two in every classroom of 20 children in this state. Holifield reported to The Clarion Ledger that there are roughly 60 licensed dyslexia therapists in Mississippi, and another 80 dyslexia therapy students finishing their education now, but that is not enough for a state with 152 school districts.
“Although a few pockets of Mississippi schools have intervention services, the majority of them do not have adequate programs in place,” Dr. Holifield said. “I saw the need in this state for a program that provides the appropriate dyslexia therapy and curriculum to help these children succeed.”
The 3-D School has the support of the state; Gov. Phil Bryant and the Mississippi Legislature recently passed two bills in the most recent session calling to improve the state’s response to the challenges of dyslexia. This is an issue close to home for Gov. Bryant, who had to repeat the third grade before a teacher realized he was dyslexic. House Bill 1031 establishes mandatory dyslexia screening guidelines for kindergarten and first grade students. It also provides state scholarships for students in grades first through sixth struggling with dyslexia that allows them to attend a public school that provides dyslexia therapy delivered by state licensed dyslexia therapists or to attend a state-accredited non-public special purpose school like The 3-D School that provides dyslexia-specific instruction.
House Bill 1032 created the Mississippi Dyslexia Education Scholarship Program for college students who wish to pursue a master’s degree in dyslexia therapy at a Mississippi college or university. Scholarship recipients are required to render one year’s services as a licensed dyslexia therapist in a Mississippi public school for each year that person received a scholarship award. Even before Dr. Holifield joined the Carey faculty, The 3-D School had the support of WCU, as well. Dr. Barry Morris, dean of the School of Education, and Dr. Susan Whitcomb, assistant professor of education, have visited the school a number of times and provided the students with a number of educational tools, such as library books and math manipulatives. Also, one of Dr. Holifield’s daughters, Erin, is currently a sophomore elementary education major and basketball player at Carey.
“The students always get so excited when Dr. Morris comes because he is like Santa Claus to them, always bringing gifts and books,” Dr. Holifield said.
Dr. Morris predicts a positive response to Carey offering a course in dyslexia therapy.
“The future is looking bright for dyslexic programs, and we are thrilled to have Dr. Holifield teach the first of such courses at Carey,” Dr. Morris said. “We are excited about this partnership with The 3-D School, and the opportunities it will bring for both the children and WCU students.”
To register for the course, visit Carey’s website at www.wmcarey.edu.