Embarking on the journey to become a Dyslexia Therapist is an exhilarating endeavor, and at the heart of this transformative experience lies ASDEC’s Language I course. ASDEC’s Language I course isn't just another class; it's a pivotal step toward earning the professional title of Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT) through the Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA). Scheduled for January 2024, the course meets virtually and includes hands-on, guided practice with the aim of meeting the individual needs of adult learners.
Before delving further into the Language 1 class, I wanted to share a bit about my journey to becoming a CALT.
Back in my college days as an elementary education major, I assumed that papers, tests, practicum experiences, and the like would prepare me for the challenges of being in the classroom. While much of the theory I learned was useful, not all of it proved practical. As many teachers can attest, the transition from learning to be a teacher to actually being one is a significant leap. I grasped many essentials for successful classroom management and organization, fully aware that it would be a challenge. But armed with hard work and energy, I was ready to roll up my sleeves and be an effective teacher. After all, I had a degree!
Now, after my fellow teachers have had a good laugh, let's continue.
I quickly discovered how dreadfully my whole-language-based college reading preparation had failed me in actually teaching reading. Despite being a proficient reader, I couldn't rely on my early reading experiences to bridge the gap. My only solace was knowing I wasn't adequately prepared and hoping for a position in an intermediate grade where all the kids already knew how to read.
Again, please continue after another laugh break.
I then entered a master’s program in education, specializing in reading, aiming to strengthen my poor knowledge of teaching reading. The assumption was that having a master’s degree in reading would make me a more confident, successful teacher of reading. I learned various assessment methods to identify weaknesses, excellent comprehension strategies, and techniques for teaching vocabulary. However, there was a gap in methodology. I lacked an understanding of the structure of the English language and was not taught it. Ignorantly, like many teachers, I would reference the lack of structure, insinuating that our language was just confusing. I cringe when recalling those times.
Fast forward several years to when my second born was diagnosed with dyslexia. Like many parents, I delved into research, sorting through both bogus information and effective strategies. Once again, although armed with another degree, I had little knowledge of how to teach reading to a typical reader much less a struggling reader. At this point, I was confident in my understanding of dyslexia but equally certain that I was not qualified to remediate it. During one of my “meet a friend for coffee whose kid was just diagnosed with dyslexia” dates, fate was at work. In helping my friend find someone qualified as a certified dyslexia therapist, I stumbled upon ASDEC, The Atlantic Seaboard Dyslexia Education Center, and my incredible journey to effective teaching of reading began in ASDEC’s Language 1 course.
Language 1 teaches the characteristics of dyslexia and effective methods in multisensory language instruction, as identified b y the American Academy of Pediatrics and The International Dyslexia Association. Through a potent therapy level curriculum, Sounds In Syllables developed by Sandra Dillon, methodology, theory, and practice are combined to teach participants effective strategies in reading, writing, and spelling remediation. Participants learn diagnostic and prescriptive techniques to meet the needs of individual learners because, as the saying goes, once you've met one dyslexic student, you've met ONE dyslexic student.
Language 1 with ASDEC was the missing piece of my educational puzzle that I had been searching for as both a student and a parent. I will always be grateful for fate tapping me on the shoulder. I am eagerly looking forward to meeting you in the January 2024 cohort as you embark on your exhilarating journey of effective instruction as a dyslexia therapist!