Dyslexia On Demand was brought about for one BLARING reason…. As I dug and learn, I recognized that the experience for dyslexic students country wide was NOT equal.
See, I was trained and practiced exclusively in Austin, Texas. In and around that area, due to advanced education on dyslexia, many local public schools are equipped with Certified Academic Language Therapists (CALT), such as what you will find at Dyslexia On Demand. In case you are new to dyslexia intervention, a CALT is an individual who has the specialized training needed to serve students with dyslexia and the only ones permitted to deliver a formal treatment course of dyslexia therapy. The certification process requires a Master’s Degree, two years of coursework, 700 clinical hours of practicum, and a national examination. In Austin, and in many metropolitan areas of Texas, we are fortunate enough to have training facilities locally. In fact, Texas has the highest concentration of CALTs countrywide, with 1990 registered with the Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA). Because Texas is called home to almost 30 million people, this number is still extremely low to serve the need of the 1 in 5 estimated to have dyslexia. Either way, the more educated dyslexia professionals concentrated in an area, the more folks interested in pushing legislation and education efforts…hence the “normality” of public schools being equipped to properly handle dyslexia therapy efforts.
Sadly, Texas is the ONLY state with such numbers of Certified Academic Language Therapists (CALT). The next heaviest hitting state is Mississippi with 228! Then Ohio with 205, Colorado with 120 and finally, Arkansas with 105. Let me remind you again, that estimates show roughly 20% of the population as individuals who would greatly benefit from access to dyslexia therapy.
Now, lets talk about the surprising states with little to no support – and how those rank in terms of COVID-19 cases. States who likely could benefit from having virtual access to educational supports for students with dyslexia since their schooling will possibly never return to the same as prior to Coronavirus. In terms of the highest number of reported cases, New York state ranks first. They also only have 29 therapists in the entire state. New Jersey and California come in at spot two and three with the highest number of COVID cases, and both with a surprising 8 total CALTs in the state. Illinois has 56 CALTs, Massachusetts has 19, Florida has 13, and Pennsylvania has 95. Do you see the reason for concern?
This enormous underrepresentation is, in part, since educators and parents are not aware of the training options and caliber options of dyslexia intervention. Not all Orton-Gillingham programs are made equal. It is a huge platform of Dyslexia On Demand to not only educate individuals countrywide on the difference between dyslexia intervention levels, but to be a resource and option for parents searching for the highest level of change accessible to their students. Knowledge is power, and we hope to spread the seed of change one family and child at a time!