Learning Therapy Graduate Certification
SMU's Learning Therapy program is a professional certification program for individuals interested in working with children or adults who have dyslexia or related language learning disorders. Participants receive thorough instruction in guided discovery, multisensory teaching techniques, lesson planning, and documentation of student progress. The curriculum is a multisensory, sequential, integrated language arts program that includes alphabet and dictionary skills training, reading, decoding and comprehension, spelling, cursive handwriting, and written composition.
The program requires two years of graduate study and includes extensive practicum experience, seminars, and clinical teaching hours. The core curriculum includes courses concerning basic and advanced theory, methods, curriculum design, and professional development. Students are also required to complete two elective credit courses during their two years of training; the elective courses are scheduled throughout the year. For the duration of the program, interns work with private clients or in school settings and routinely prepare student progress reports. Class schedules are designed to accommodate the busy schedules of working adults and are posted online. The content of all courses develops knowledge and skills prescribed by the national professional organizations, the Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA) and the International Multisensory Structured language Education Council (IMSLEC).
Students must complete the program over a minimum of 24 months. With approval from the SMU Learning Therapist Certification Regulations Board, students may extend coursework beyond 24 months. However, all courses and requirements must be completed within a maximum of 48 months. Students who extend coursework beyond 24 months may be subject to additional fees.
The Learning Therapist Certificate Program is accredited by IMSLEC. Upon successful completion of SMU's Learning Therapist Certificate Program, students may apply to take The Alliance National Registration Exam for Multisensory Structured Language Education at the therapy level. Passage of the exam qualifies the individual for membership in ALTA as a Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT). CALTs provide services to clients that are educational and emphasize reading (decoding, fluency, and comprehension), spelling, handwriting, and written expression. Members of ALTA must acquire continuing education units to maintain their membership. For additional information on current ALTA requirements, please visit ALTA's website at www.altaread.org.
Click here to view current CEU courses offered at SMU.
The Course Work
• Introductory Courses
• Advanced Courses
• Elective Courses
The Learning Therapist Program is open to persons holding a Bachelor's or higher professional degree from an accredited university or college. Although these graduate students primarily come from elementary and secondary education, nursing, psychology, speech-language pathology, diagnostics, and counseling, a wide variety of other educational and professional fields may be appropriate backgrounds for the profession. Applicants must submit a formal application, official academic transcript, statement of goals, recommendations, application fee, and a written summary of work experience. The statement of goals and work experience must reflect a keen interest in learning, a sincere desire to work with individuals with written-language disorders, empathy for others, and high standards of professional practice and conduct. Click here to view program application and additional admission information.
Contributions to the Community
In 1993, the Texas Instruments Foundation (TIF) approached the SMU Learning Therapy Program with a proposal to develop a phonics-based, prereading program for the Margaret Cone Center in Dallas. Over the next few years, a team of educators from the Learning Therapy program developed the Language Enrichment Activities Program (LEAP). This unique, multisensory, enriched language program provides lessons to be used throughout the day. It includes teacher training, model teaching by volunteers, parent workshops, and expandable lesson plans.
The Diagnostic Center for Dyslexia & Related Disorders
The Learning Therapy Center also administers The Diagnostic Center for Dyslexia and Related Disorders, which was established in response to a community need for services that evaluate individuals for learning disorders related to reading acquisition and comprehension. Dyslexia is involved in most disorders of this type, which include developmental spelling disability, developmental auditory imperception, dysgraphia, and dysphasia. The Center is dedicated to providing comprehensive evaluative services and appropriate medical, psychological, and educational referrals and recommendations to children, adolescents, and adults who are at risk for dyslexia. Please visit the Diagnostic Center's website to learn more about its services.
For More Information
SMU Learning Therapy Program
5236 Tennyson Pkwy, Bldg. 4, Suite 108
Plano, TX 75024