The Ohio State University at Newark

Ohio State Newark Associate Professor One of Six People Nationwide Credentialed in Specialized Dyslexia Teaching Approach

NEWARK, Ohio, February 4, 2016 — Education students at The Ohio State University at Newark can learn about a specialized approach to teach those with dyslexia to read from one of the few people in the nation who is credentialed to teach it. Associate Professor of Special Education Terri Hessler recently earned the Certified Master Trainer – Institutional Level (CMT– IL) credential from Orton-Gillingham International, Inc. This is the first and only credential of its kind, and only six other individuals have earned it in the United States. It required 40 hours of coursework and a 90-hour practicum.

“My eight-year old has dyslexia,” said Hessler. “I began to suspect dyslexia when she was four to five years old. When her diagnosis was confirmed a year or so later, I started training in the Orton-Gillingham (OG) approach, the recommended instruction for individuals with dyslexia. At about the same time in 2011, the Ohio legislature passed two house bills, which among other components, specified dyslexia as a specific learning disability and defined it, specified the training required for dyslexia specialists, authorized a pilot program for early identification and remediation of dyslexia and instituted a method for providing professional development for teachers to carry out the identification and remediation. It became clear that all universities would need personnel trained in research-based approaches like OG, and when one of my colleagues, Dr. Dorothy Morrison from Ohio State in Columbus, and I found out that Orton-Gillingham International was going to try to fill that need with the CMT-IL training, we signed on.”

Hessler said The CMT– IL of Orton-Gillingham International is specifically designed to train faculty in departments of education at institutions of higher education to use the Yoshimoto Orton-Gillingham Approach (YOGA), an instructional approach that has been successful in several schools and clinics worldwide. YOGA utilizes explicit instruction to teach synthetic phonics and the structure of language (all essential for teaching struggling readers) while using vocal, visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile (VVAKT) sensory involvement during learning sessions. This approach more generically is known as the multi-sensory, structure of language (MSSL) approach.

“There is no one way to teach children how to read, but there are best practices based on empirical evidence for students with certain reading disabilities like dyslexia, and most teacher training programs do not include them in their programs,” said Hessler. “One reason is because there are a lack of faculty with the skills and training to educate pre- and in-service teachers regarding those practices. With the advent of the state mandates, a need opened up not just for practitioners skilled in these practices, but also for higher education faculty.”

Because Dr. Hessler and Dr. Morrison hold this credential, Hessler said the graduate-level Structured Language and Literacy (SSL) strand of the reading endorsement offered by The Ohio State University Columbus and Newark campuses is eligible for accreditation by The International Dyslexia Association (IDA). There are only 16 colleges and universities currently accredited. If the review that was conducted in January 2016 is successful, Ohio State would be the 6th Ohio institution of higher education and the largest in the country to earn the accreditation. In addition, SSL strand completers would be eligible to sit for the new IDA certification examination.

“Since everything I teach in some way relates to reading, I can infuse this information in all my courses,” said Hessler. “Most importantly, the students of our reading endorsement program can know that the skills I am teaching them will help them get great results for those treatment resistors, the students who reading and elementary teachers agonize about being able to help learn to read. And upon earning our IDA accreditation, Ohio State Newark will distinguish itself from other teacher-training and reading education programs popping up in our area by being the only one to offer the pathway to the IDA dyslexia certificate.”

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