Dr. Laura Cassidy sits at a roundtable with Sens. Britt and Cassidy to discuss supporting students with dyslexia with K-12 teachers in the certification program at UA.

Transformative Dyslexia Education Program at UA Draws National Attention

The University of Alabama hosted Sen. Katie Britt of Alabama, Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Dr. Laura Cassidy, a Dyslexia Resource Center board member, for a roundtable with UA Certified Academic Language Therapist program participants.

The roundtable featured K-12 educators from around Alabama in the CALT program and gave them an opportunity to speak about their experiences supporting students with dyslexia in their respective schools and positive outcomes they’ve had as a result of the CALT program. 

“The teacher expertise makes a real difference, and this kind of program can impact not only children with dyslexia, but also the teacher instruction — from reading coaches who are getting this expertise down to the children,” Dr. Carol Donovan, UA CALT program director, said.

UA CALT, a satellite site of the Dyslexia Resource Center, is an innovative professional development program for teachers that offers pathways to certification for those specializing in dyslexia. 

“We’re here to highlight, to celebrate and to learn from people who are actually in the trenches,” Sen. Cassidy said. “How is this program working for you? And, how, on a federal level, can we learn from you to augment your success?”

Teachers in the two-year program are required to complete 700 hours of practicum work before sitting for the certification exam. The first CALT cohort will finish in May. 

“This program not only helps students, but helps other teachers understand the tools and innovation that are out there and the science that supports it, so that they can take what they’ve learned back to their communities and change the trajectory of children’s lives,” said Sen. Britt. “There is a reason we say the University of Alabama is Where Legends Are Made, and I know that this program will be at the top of that list.”

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.