The College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) now offers a certificate that is pending approval to be Michigan’s first program accredited by the International Dyslexia Administration (IDA).

Last year, the Academic Senate approved the Certificate in Structured Language and Literacy Intervention (SLLIC), within the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) in CLASS.

SLLIC is an interdisciplinary graduate certificate that focuses on teaching children with literacy disorders, such as dyslexia, according to Dr. Katie Squires, speech pathologist and faculty member of the CSD department.

“It provides systematic and explicit diagnostic instructions in all four domains of language: speaking, listening, reading and writing,” Squires said.

The five quality standards set out by the Joint National Committee on Learning Disabilities are:

1. Provide high-quality continuing professional development.

2. Align curriculum and instructional strategies to meet the needs of students with learning disabilities.

3. Use valid and appropriate assessments that reveal student strengths, needs, and levels of achievement.

4. Develop a comprehensive understanding of “the child as a whole”, in order to successfully achieve the HQES.

5. Use transition planning to prepare students for success in college or in a career.

The SLLIC is for graduate students in speech-language pathology or education, but anyone who meets the requirements can enroll. Counselors and parents can also complete the certificate.

The CSD department is trying to secure financial aid for students who have graduated but want to return to CMU for the certificate.

Eligibility

To be eligible for SLLIC, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and live in Michigan.

To complete the certificate, the student must complete six required courses over a three-year period, and courses are readily available according to Dr. Squires. They are offered online and in hybrid formats on Fridays and Saturdays.

The following classes are included in the certificate:

Support students with literacy difficulties

· Literacy clinical internship

Reading assessment, instruction and intervention

Diagnosis and treatment of reading difficulties

Knowledge of various readers including dyslexia

Literacy: theory and practice

Knowledge and Practice Review for Effective Reading Instruction (KPEERI)

SLLIC is currently awaiting accreditation by IDA, which would indicate that the program meets IDA’s five quality standards and that students who obtain the certificate would be considered specialists in structured literacy / dyslexia according to Dr. Squires.