Empowering Educators

Sacred Heart University’s Isabelle Farrington College of Education & Human Development (FCEHD) has partnered with The Southport School in Southport and unveiled a Dyslexia Graduate Certificate program. 

Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects individuals of all ages, often leading to challenges in reading, writing and spelling. This online program, comprising 18 credits, is designed to champion a whole-child teaching approach for students facing reading difficulties, equipping educators with the knowledge and practical experience necessary to implement evidence-based literacy instruction. 

The online format caters to the diverse needs of individuals seeking to enhance their knowledge and skills while accommodating their busy schedules. 

“The focus is to help those SHU graduate students in the program to understand the foundations of dyslexia, how to assess and evaluate students’ literacy strengths and needs, and to design a comprehensive plan for instruction based on those findings,” said Dr. Kristin Rainville, Associate Professor and Program Director for Literacy at FCEHD. 

The Dyslexia Graduate Certificate is a comprehensive program designed to empower educators with the knowledge and skills needed to support individuals with dyslexia. Participants come from diverse backgrounds, including teachers, speech-language pathologists, and psychologists. 

“All educators need to be aware of dyslexia and what it means for their instruction and classroom- whether they teach in an elementary school, a high school physics class, or a college classroom,” said Dr. Sally Drew, Program Director of Special Education and Associate Professor of Teacher Education. 

The curriculum of the certificate program is tailored to meet the specific needs of dyslexic individuals and aligns with the latest research in the field. The program covers a wide range of topics, including the foundation of dyslexia, phonetics for educators, evidence-based writing instruction, and diagnosis and remediation. 

The program emphasizes practical experience, ensuring that participants are well-versed in theory and equipped with the skills to implement effective interventions. 

Through supervised practicum experiences, participants work directly with dyslexic learners, gaining invaluable hands-on experience in applying their knowledge in real-world settings. 

“There is a part where you are working in the population, an internship component to it,” said Dr. Catlin Ross, Associate Professor in the Dept. of Communication Disorders. 

Graduates of the program are well-equipped to become advocates for dyslexic individuals in their respective fields. Whether they are educators implementing evidence-based instructional strategies in their classrooms or therapists providing targeted interventions, these graduates play a crucial role in transforming the lives of dyslexic learners. The knowledge and skills acquired in this program can have a ripple effect within communities. 

“As a parent of a child with dyslexia, this program is important to me personally and professionally,” said Katherine Cunningham, Associate Professor of Elementary Education. “I’m so grateful to be a part of this important program at SHU to help make learning to read easier, rather than harder, for children and for teachers to be fully prepared for supporting all of the students in their care.” 

The program is a beacon of hope for dyslexic individuals and their families. It represents a commitment to inclusivity and a recognition of the unique strengths and talents that dyslexic individuals possess. 

“We had our first launch just this past summer. The first cohort went through, and that cohort was comprised of people coming back for the most part,” said Ross. 

By equipping educators with the knowledge and skills needed to support dyslexic individuals, this program is not just about academic success but also about unlocking the limitless potential that resides within each dyslexic learner. 

Students can learn more and apply through the SHU website: www.sacredheart.edu/majors–programs/initial-or-advanced-dyslexia—graduate-certificate/.

About the author

Assistant Features Editor

Leave a Reply