ALTA - Academic Language Therapy Association

Fall 2014 — ALTA bul*le*tin

The Newsletter of the Academic Language Therapy Association

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President's Message

Fall greetings colleagues! October is "Dyslexia Awareness Month" and there is excitement in the air as many of us are striving to promote local awareness on behalf of children with dyslexia around the country. I know we all share a great sense of pride in belonging to such a prestigious professional organization as ALTA. Being a member of ALTA for the past 24 years has been the cornerstone of my professional career and I am honored to be serving you as your new president.
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Tribute to Dr. Sylvia Richardson

It is with much sorrow that I write to let you know that Dr. Sylvia O. Richardson passed away peacefully at her home on Friday, October 24, 2014. We have lost a giant in the field and a very dear friend.
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2014 ALTA Annual Conference Photo Album

Take a look at some photos from this spring's 2014 ALTA Conference.
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ALTA Website Update

The ALTA website has recently been updated.
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Mississippi Colleges Conduct Dyslexia Therapy Summer Training

During the month of July, the classrooms at Mississippi College and Blue Mountain College are filled with enthusiastic participants, a "cohort" from different professions, preparing to teach the structure of the English language to students who struggle with reading, spelling, and writing. In addition to the summer courses, cohort members attend class twice in the fall semester and twice in the spring semester. Each cohort is a unique blend of teachers, parents, nurses, educational diagnosticians, speech therapists, and school administrators. They all have one common goal - to teach students to read who struggle with the English language.
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Ohio Reading Initiative Drives Need for Training

Many educational changes took place in Ohio with the passage of the Ohio Third Grade Guarantee in the spring of 2012. The educational initiatives approved by state law makers heightened the awareness of how best to teach reading. School districts sought resources and professional training to accomplish the mandate of grade level readers by the third grade. Keystone Literacy, LLC, an educational company aimed at offering high quality professional development services, partners with school districts, educational service centers, and teachers to develop individual and school potential in the area of literacy. They desire to motivate and encourage participants to strive for professional growth and fulfillment,as well as assist districts in attaining sustainability and better equip teachers to teach struggling readers. Vicki Krnac and Rebecca Tolson, owners and partners of Keystone Literacy, LLC, graduated from Southern Methodist University, with a Certificate of Advanced Studies in 2013.
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Texas ALTA Chapter Launched at ALTA Spring Conference 2014

The Texas ALTA Chapter officially launched at the annual ALTA Conference this past spring. The purpose of the Texas Chapter is to focus on dyslexia issues specific to Texas. We will continue to sponsor legislation to help school-aged children deal with their dyslexia in the classroom. Also, we will work with TEA to heighten awareness of dyslexia in public schools.
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Odyssey Elementary Colorado's First School to Identify Students with Dyslexia

ALTA members Joanne Barner and Teresa Hinote are leading the way in changing educational outcomes in Colorado. These two teachers are providing dyslexia remediation in Colorado's first public school to identify children with a profile of dyslexia, Odyssey Elementary School. Odyssey, in the Falcon School District located in northeastern Colorado Springs, has spent two years preparing for the creation of a "LEx School," standing for Literacy Excellence. A part of this plan is to identify students with profiles of dyslexia and teach them to read.
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Update on Texas Licensure for Dyslexia Therapists and Practitioners

Each state agency in Texas is reviewed by the Sunset Advisory Commission (SAC) every 12 years to examine the need for and performance of that agency. The Texas Department of State Health Services was reviewed this year and SAC staff recommended abolishment of licensing for 19 occupations, including Licensed Dyslexia Therapists and Practitioners. The SAC process this summer included avenues for comment online and at a public hearing. At the urging of ALTA, 190 online comments were logged in protest to abolishment of the license. Three witnesses appeared before the committee at the hearing in Austin and stated their objections through oral testimony. Office visits were made to legislative members of the committee; however, the final recommendation to the Legislature included cessation of the license.
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ALTA Membership Growth in Ohio School Districts

Ohio legislators have passed significant education bills to raise awareness of dyslexia and the specialized multisensory structured language (MSLE) training, which greatly benefits all those with dyslexia. As an example of local response to the increased community interest and need for MSLE training, the Columbus Children's Dyslexia Center began contracting with public and private schools in 2012 to provide Practitioner-level teacher training. Successful graduates are encouraged to sit for the National Alliance Registration exam and become certified members of ALTA. Of the 40 school district teachers we have trained since 2012, 62% of the course graduates have chosen to take the Alliance exam and are now ALTA members as Certified Academic Language Practitioners.
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