Graduate Programs

Learning Therapy Specialization

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Learning Therapy Graduate Specialization

The SMU Learning Therapy Program is accredited by the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC) and by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) for both the Practitioner and Therapist level certificates. For full story please click here

This program prepares teachers to take certification exams. The Academic Language Therapist Association (ALTA) is the official certifying agency.

SMU's Learning Therapy program is a professional 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.

Program Structure

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), the International Multisensory Structured language Education Council (IMSLEC), and the International Dyslexia Association (IDA). 

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 and IDA.  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  

Learning Therapist Certificate Program

This program prepares teachers to take state certification exams. The Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA) is the official certifying agency.

The Learning Therapist Certificate Program teaches individuals how to remediate dyslexia and related written-language disorders through professional educational therapy.  Therapists are trained in the structure of the written language, basic and advanced theory, multisensory teaching methods, curriculum, and sequential procedures for teaching written-language skills and learning strategies. The Therapist Program is a two-year course of study and requires 700 hours of clinical teaching experience in direct service to clients.

Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS)

The CAS program is comprised of the ICALP and the QI programs. The CAS program is open to individuals who hold a Master’s or higher degree from an accredited college or university and have completed Multisensory Structured Language Education (MSLE) training.

ICALP – Prospective students must have been a CALP and a member of ALTA for a minimum of one (1) year, and must have taught through a multisensory, structured, sequential, Orton Gillingham-based curriculum at least one (1) time. Additionally, candidates for the ICALP program must have completed a minimum of 600 MSLE teaching hours beyond certification.

QI – Prospective students must have been a CALT and member of ALTA for a minimum of two (2) years, and must have taught through a multisensory, structured, sequential, Orton Gillingham-based curriculum at least three (3) times. Additionally, candidates for the QI program must have completed a minimum of 1400 MSLE teaching hours beyond certification.

The Diagnostic Center for Dyslexia and Related Disorders

SMU has closed the Diagnostic Center for Dyslexia and Related Disorders at the SMU Campus in Plano.  The diagnosticians who worked at the SMU Diagnostic Center have opened a practice with LEAD/Literacy Education & Academic Development Center.  

The LEAD Diagnostic Center for Dyslexia & Learning Disorders

9535 Forest Lane, Suite 111
Dallas, Texas 75243 

The diagnosticians can be contacted directly:

Helen Macik                                                

Amy Fulmer


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.

For More Information

SMU Learning Therapy Program 
5236 Tennyson Pkwy, Bldg. 4, Suite 108
Plano, TX 75024
Phone: 214-768-7323 
Fax: 972-473-3442