The SMU Learning Therapy specialization 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. 

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

The Learning Therapy specialization is designed 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 comprised of multisensory, sequential, and integrated language arts that incorporates alphabet and dictionary skills training, reading, decoding and comprehension, spelling, cursive handwriting, and written composition.

Curriculum Structure

This specialization 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 specialization, 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 all coursework over a minimum of 24 months. With approval from the SMU Learning Therapy 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 Therapy specialization is accredited by IMSLEC and IDA. Upon successful completion, 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 Therapy Certification Preparation

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

Learning Therapy Certification Preparation 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. Students will complete a two-year course of study and 700 hours of clinical teaching experience in direct service to clients.

Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) is comprised of ICALP and QI. CAS 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 ICALP 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 QI must have completed a minimum of 1400 MSLE teaching hours beyond certification.


The Learning Therapy specialization 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.

For More Information

SMU Learning Therapy
6401 Airline Rd., Suite 301
Dallas, TX  75205