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  • Writer's pictureDyslexia Media

Digging into Dyslexia Therapy Training

If you were able to attend the latest ASDEC information session by Jennifer Appleton, CALT-QI you will have heard some of this, but let’s dig into the nit and gritty of what it takes to become a Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT) using the Sounds In Syllables (SIS) curriculum.


Becoming a dyslexia therapist is not a quick process, but it is so worthwhile! It takes a minimum of two years to become fully certified. You work with students the entire time. While SIS is the curriculum you learn, it is the therapeutic skills that take two years to develop and refine. SIS is therapy. It is not tutoring.

Definition of dyslexia therapy

During the two years of dyslexia therapy training, you will take four courses. The first course, Language 1, lays the foundations and principles of multi-sensory language instruction. You will also learn the precise procedures embedded in SIS that allow you to work with a student and begin making a change in the way they read and write.


picture of a therapist and student practicing sounds

After successful completion of the in-depth Language 1 course, you can begin working with students. One option is for your practicum to begin with the three-week summer intensive during which you will work with your student one-on-one each day under direct guidance. The summer intensive surrounds you with support from your supervisor who will review your lesson plans, guide your instruction, and provide valuable feedback on how to implement the diagnostic and prescriptive, individualized SIS curriculum. You will work along-side other trainees sharing the same experience. The summer intensive fosters professional and personal relationships that will continue throughout your career as an Academic Therapist. 


hands with caption of a supportive environment

Once the summer intensive is over and you have perfected the precise structure of an SIS lesson, you can begin working with your student independently. Some Academic Therapists are employed in a school setting, but many grow their own small business.  We will give guidance to help you start your business and assist in adding students to your case-load as you are ready. ASDEC has a long wait-list of students in need of an Academic Therapist! Small business owners work under contracts developed with families. You are in charge of setting your rates and the times/days that you meet. You will feel proud to be a small-business owner providing a desperately needed service that changes lives.


small business owner caption

The support continues as you complete 700 hours of practicum working with students. Each month, your supervisor will watch a lesson and provide feedback. While this sounds intimidating, it is not! Your supervisor is there to guide you in developing a full range of therapeutic skills. Your supervisor is always there to answer questions outside of your monthly one-on-one feedback meetings.


A unique aspect of the ASDEC practicum experience is the monthly group meetings where you meet with a small cohort of colleagues and your supervisor. These meetings are important because of the very true saying, ‘if you’ve met one person with dyslexia, you’ve met one person with dyslexia!’  The supervisor guides trainees to share experiences to help educate each other on what may be seen with future students. These monthly meetings are vitally important to expanding therapeutic knowledge and ASDEC graduates often claim this to be one of their favorite parts of the training! It allows the trainees to form professional relationships – and often close friendships – during their training.


group of therapists around a table collaborating

Over the remaining time of your practicum, you will take three other classes that will deepen your knowledge of the Structure of the English language. You will excel in implementing systematic instruction of the critical literacy components:

·       Phonology

·       Phonemic awareness

·       Decoding and spelling

·       Fluency

·       Vocabulary

·       Comprehension

·       Writing


After you have completed the requirements to become a Certified Academic Therapist, the support does not end. You have access to a professional community to share ideas, discuss the latest research, and network with others passionate about changing the lives of their students.


Becoming an Academic Therapist is not easy, but the journey is as rewarding as the destination. Join the next ASDEC cohort today.

SIS: Sounds, Syllables, Success



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