Hattiesburg, MS, May 24, 2012 – Dr. Cena Holifield, founder and executive director of The Dynamic Dyslexia Design School (The 3-D School) in Petal, will teach a graduate course in Multi-Sensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills for Children with Dyslexia (EDU 690) June 4-9 at William Carey University.
During the one-week course at Carey, Dr. Holifield will give an overview of dyslexia and the type of instruction dyslexia children need. She will also provide activities educators can use in their classroom which will benefit all children, especially those with dyslexia.
Dr. Holifield opened The 3-D School in 2008 after spending 10 years in a regular classroom and realizing dyslexic children’s educational needs were not being served. This state-accredited special purpose school’s objective is to strengthen children with dyslexia by providing them with therapy sessions using Orton-Gillingham based instruction delivered by state licensed dyslexia therapists. The school, which currently has 42 students and seven licensed therapists, accepts students entering second or third grade and allows students to stay two-three years, providing them with intensive curriculum based on current scientific reading research.
According to the International Dyslexia Association, 10 to 20 percent of the population at large suffers from dyslexia, which translates to about two in every classroom of 20 children in this state. Holifield said that there are about 60 licensed dyslexia therapists in Mississippi, and another 80 dyslexia therapy college students finishing their education now, but that is not enough for a state with 152 school districts.
“Although a few pockets of Mississippi schools have intervention services, the majority of them do not have adequate programs in place,” Dr. Holifield said. “I saw the need in this state for a program that provides the appropriate dyslexia therapy and curriculum to help these children succeed.”
The Mississippi Legislature recently passed two bills to improve the state’s response to the challenges of dyslexia. House Bill 1031 establishes mandatory dyslexia screening guidelines for kindergarten and first grade students. It also provides state scholarships for students in grades first through sixth struggling with dyslexia to allow them to attend a public school that provides dyslexia therapy delivered by state licensed dyslexia therapists or to attend a state-accredited non-public special purpose school like The 3-D School that provides dyslexia-specific instruction.
House Bill 1032 created the Mississippi Dyslexia Education Scholarship Program for college students who wish to pursue a Master of Education in dyslexia therapy at a Mississippi college or university. Scholarship recipients are required to render one year’s services as a licensed dyslexia therapist in a Mississippi public school for each year of scholarship award.
The 3-D School has had the support of WCU for some time. Dr. Barry Morris, dean of the School of Education, and Dr. Susan Whitcomb, assistant professor of education, have visited the school a number of times and provided the students with a number of educational tools, such as library books and math manipulatives.
Dr. Holifield said the students always get so excited when Dr. Morris comes because he is like Santa Claus to them, always bringing gifts and books.
“We are thrilled to have Dr. Holifield teach the first of such dyslexia courses at Carey,” Dr. Morris said. “We are excited about this partnership with The 3-D School, and the opportunities it will bring for both the children and WCU students.”
For more information, contact Dr. Morris at (601) 318-6587 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To register for the course, visit Carey’s website at www.wmcarey.edu.
(left to right) Dr. Barry Morris, dean of the School of Education at William Carey University, poses for a photo with Dr. Cena Holifield, director and founder of The 3-D School/Dynamic Dyslexia Design in Petal, in one of the classrooms at Carey. Dr. Holifield will teach a graduate course in Multi-Sensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills for Children with Dyslexia (EDU 690) June 4-9, from 8 a.m.- 4p.m. at WCU.