Frisco ISD is on its way to becoming an independent, accredited dyslexia therapist training center.
The district is pursuing the accreditation to enable the district to train and certify teachers as dyslexia therapists in-house.
The district has submitted all of the necessary documentation to the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council, an organization that accredits quality training courses for the preparation of language specialists. The next step is a site visit by the council.
FISD Dyslexia Coordinator Cheri Howell said there is no timeline as to when the district would receive approval. The district serves nearly 1,000 students in its dyslexia program.
“In the state of Texas there is a shortage of dyslexia therapy training centers, and with the growth we are experiencing in Frisco it’s difficult to find and to hire certified language therapists,” Howell said.
The closest center is at the Dyslexia Education Center at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in downtown Dallas. Howell said if the district wants certified teachers it has to send teachers to the two-year training program in Dallas.
“[Becoming a center] would really help us train in-house,” Howell said. “It would save the district in travel costs to the hospital, and I think it also provides a service because it builds up our capacity as a dyslexia department.”
TSRHC opened its campus in Frisco, known as Scottish Rite for Children, in October.
“We have built a lot of shell space for future growth, and we are evaluating services that could locate to Frisco,” Vice President Jeremy Howell said. “Dyslexia is one of those services, but at this time there are no plans.”
Apart from teachers becoming certified through TSRHC the district also uses the hospital’s program curriculum, known as Take Flight, Howell said.
The curriculum provides students learning techniques on how they can be academically successful with their dyslexia. The support students receive is individualized, intensive and multisensory.
“In order to teach in the program you have to be a certified language therapist, and by being [a training center] it helps us to make sure that we have the highest quality trained teachers that are able to deliver our program to our students,” Howell said. “It’ll allow us to continue to grow our program and hire new therapists as we grow.”