Dr. Jeremy Mills has instructed students in Wright State’s Intervention Specialist program, and was recently appointed as the Intervention Specialist Program Director. In addition to taking on this new role, he has developed the Dyslexia Specialist Certification program. This is a graduate certificate program that provides knowledge for individuals to serve students with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyslexic tendencies. Interested individuals who obtain the Dyslexia Specialist Certification can serve as a consultant and/or a dyslexia intervention specialist for schools or organizations. We asked Dr. Mills to share some information regarding this high need and how it developed into a certification program.
Q: When did you first have the idea to implement the Dyslexia Certification?
A: A little over a year ago, a colleague connected me to Monic Clarke, owner of the dyslexia tutoring and consulting business CodeBreakers, LLC. The colleague advised me to meet Mrs. Clarke and hear her ideas, as they relate significantly to the field of special education. She and I began meeting for coffee and sharing ideas over the next few months. During this time, we began to discuss the need in our schools and in the community for increased education on dyslexia. From there we began to “dream” and investigate the possibility of such a program. We discovered that there are not many programs of this nature in higher education.
Q: Who should pursue this certification program?
A: Individuals from a wide range of backgrounds may seek to complete this program. Anyone who has an undergraduate degree in fields such as education, counseling, and psychology (not limited to just these) can complete the program and become a certified dyslexia specialist. Likewise, we designed the introductory courses to be accessible to undergraduate seniors who receive senior permission, other professionals, or any individuals who want to learn more about dyslexia. We believe a wide range of individuals may want to increase their understanding of the disorder, including those with dyslexia and their parents. They are able to enroll in the introductory courses without requiring a background degree in a related field.
Q: What are some common misconceptions, or gaps in understanding/skills that you hope to fill in/clear up with this program?
A: The misconceptions of dyslexia are many. One of the main misconceptions is that dyslexia causes individuals to see words backwards. This is not true. The individual visually sees things the same as a typically developing individual but cognitively processes information through different neurological pathways, often resulting in the information being processed out of sequence. Understanding how an individual with dyslexia cognitively processes stimuli brings awareness to the notion that it may not be ideal to label it as a disability but as a personal strength that excels when nurtured properly. One out of five students in every classroom has dyslexia and often goes undiagnosed and untreated because of the lack of training in many professional preparation programs. Our understanding of dyslexia and evidence-based practices has been established through research for more than 30 years, but, for unknown reasons, has not made its way into all professional preparation programs to the necessary levels. Our goal is to provide a way to begin educating professionals and the community on what dyslexia is and how to support such individuals.
Q: What will candidates add to their educational toolboxes by completing this certificate?
A: Many of the already implemented reading interventions in schools are effective for individuals who are poor readers. However, dyslexia is different than just being a poor reader and the reading interventions implemented will not support the student with dyslexia. Therefore, candidates who complete the certification are more marketable because the interventions that support the students with dyslexia will support all struggling readers. Candidates who complete the certification program will gain training in identifying the defining characteristics of dyslexia, how the dyslexic brain process information, how to assess, diagnose and implement school-wide plans that support students with dyslexia, and how advocate on behalf of such individuals. Candidates will leave the program with the professional credentials and knowledge to serve as a dyslexia consultant and dyslexia intervention specialist for their school or organization.
For more information regarding the Dyslexia Specialist Certification program, as well as the Intervention Specialist program, contact Dr. Jeremy Mills @ Jeremy.firstname.lastname@example.org