We are excited to share some updates related to the Dyslexia Endorsement, new content for our website, and more.
Updates Related to the Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement
The first cohort of the IRRC-coordinated Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement program at the University of Iowa College of Education is almost finished with its practicum experiences. These educators from around the state have been working hard to obtain the knowledge and experience necessary to be dyslexia experts. Meanwhile, we have three updates related to the Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement to share.
Applying Previous Coursework to Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement Program
Educators can now apply certain previous coursework toward fulfilling the Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement program completion requirements. The experience and training must meet State of Iowa requirements for endorsees. Syllabi for courses will be evaluated to ensure that all of the Knowledge and Practice Standards from the International Dyslexia Association are met. If educators have the right qualifying coursework and they meet all other criteria, they may receive the Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement without needing to complete any additional coursework.
To apply previous coursework, email the “Application to Recognize Non-Iowa Reading Research Center Approved or Out-of-State Coursework for the Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement” to email@example.com. After approval by the IRRC, you must complete the Iowa board of Educational Examiners coursework form for formal approval by the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners.
Apply Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement Program Coursework to a Master’s Degree
The coursework in the Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement program is taught at a graduate level, and now, there is a path for educators to apply that coursework toward a master’s degree. Up to 12 hours of program coursework can be applied toward the 100%-online Master of Arts in Teaching, Leadership, & Cultural Competency (MATLCC) at the University of Iowa College of Education.
More information on applying coursework toward the MATLCC is available on our Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement program webpage. And find more information about the MATLCC on the College of Education’s program webpage.
Opportunity for Other Institutions to Offer a Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement Program
The opportunity now exists for educational and professional development institutions to apply to have a Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement program approved to offer to educators as early as the 2023 fall semester. Until now, the University of Iowa College of Education has been the only institution offering a program. It was always the intention of the 2020 legislation establishing the Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement to roll out this opportunity to other institutions. As was written in the legislation, the IRRC ensures that endorsees are properly qualified to be dyslexia specialists by approving and overseeing the programs. In order to be approved, programs must meet requirements including:
Learn more about the application process and browse frequently asked questions on our website. We will announce any new programs as they are finalized.
Spotlight on Students with Dyslexia
Last month, we published written pieces that approach topics relevant to literacy instruction in a slightly different way than you may be used to reading on our website.
In this new blog post, Sam McVancel, Ph.D., school psychologist at the Scanlan Center of School Mental Health, outlines the potential impacts dyslexia can have on students’ mental health, such as a higher risk of developing depression. Then, she looks at ways to support the social and emotional well-being of students with dyslexia and help them form a positive sense of identity. This is the first time an IRRC blog post has explored the overlap between literacy learning struggles and mental health, and it is well worth the read.
This feature article by IRRC Lead Student Writer Meg Mechelke follows the journey of Iowa City Community School District junior high student Will Caballero and his mother Megan through Will’s experiences with dyslexia. Learn about their impetus to get Will diagnosed, the challenges the family faced, the educators that invested the time and used the evidence-based instructional techniques that made a difference, and the ways Will has found success. We are grateful to Will and Megan for being willing to share their story to raise dyslexia awareness and provide insight to other families going through similar experiences.
New IRRC Assistant Director
As of November 1, Nina Lorimor-Easley, M.S., M.Ed., is the new Assistant Director for Education and Outreach at the IRRC. She will be the lead on all of the center’s academic offerings, professional development, trainings, and assistive technology programs.
You may already know Nina, as she has been involved with the IRRC since 2019, most recently as a literacy consultant. She has also been involved in the dyslexia community as a volunteer and advocate. Read more about this assistant directorship in this article.
Welcoming Two New Assistive Technology Coordinators
We have hired two speech and hearing sciences students as our two new assistive technology coordinators.
Natalie is a speech and hearing sciences major from Winthrop. She plans to become a speech language pathologist after graduation.
Natalie is excited to have the opportunity here at the IRRC to work directly with students and their families and to gain experience working with different learning technologies.
In her free time, Natalie enjoys reading, playing her flute, and spending time with her four cats: Milly, Mim, Marigold, and Mischief.
Grace is also a speech and hearing sciences major with plans to become a speech language pathologist.
The Arlington Heights, Ill., native is looking forward to learning more about working with people with disabilities and gaining experience in a research center.
Grace considers herself a competitive person, and she would love to compete on The Amazing Race for the chance to travel around the world.
The duo will be working with our Lead Assistive Technology Coordinator Karah Kluck for the next month. They will be learning a lot from Karah, who was hired in 2019 to build our AT consultation service from the ground up. Karah is graduating in December, at which time Grace and Natalie will be taking the reins.
If you are interested in seeing a demonstration of assistive technology applications and devices that may assist your children with dyslexia or other reading disabilities, read more about our consultation service and request an appointment to meet with one of our coordinators.
Decoding Dyslexia Iowa Honors Former IRRC Director
Deborah Reed, Ph.D., the former director of the Iowa Reading Research Center, was named a 2022 Dyslexia Champion by Decoding Dyslexia Iowa. At its annual Educator Conference on Oct. 28, the organization recognized Reed for her dedication to making positive changes in literacy instruction in Iowa. It noted her leadership in the efficient rolling out of the Dyslexia Specialist Endorsement and her emphasis on the need for evidence-based instructional practices. Reed stepped down as IRRC director in July and is currently director of the Tennessee Reading Research Center: A Reading 360 Initiative at the University of Tennessee, where she is a professor on faculty.
Decoding Dyslexia Iowa also honored its former director and current Executive Director Katie Greving as a 2022 Dyslexia Champion. Greving was previously chair of the IRRC Advisory Committee and a leader in advocating for families affected by dyslexia, and she is a member of Iowa Dyslexia Board. Her work with legislators and policymakers was instrumental in getting the 2020 dyslexia legislation passed in Iowa.
Congratulations Deborah and Katie for this well-deserved recognition!
Thanks for reading!