William Carey University in Hattiesburg became one of 15 nationally-accredited universities this week to offer a master's program dedicated to working with dyslexic students through the International Dyslexia Association.
Cena Holifield, founder of the Dynamic Dyslexia Design, said this is a step for dyslexic students who often go unnoticed because of their condition.
"These children are very bright children. And they are overlooked because they are very bright. But they struggle with reading, writing and spelling."
Dr. Ben Burnett, a former superintendent of Lamar County Schools who recently accepted an offer to become the Dean of Education at William Carey, said this new program will help raise the bar statewide in the effort to help dyslexic students succeed.
"As a former middle school principal, I saw children struggle and not really knowing what all their struggles are from," Burnett said. "Academic change for children is directly tied to the effectiveness of a classroom teacher. Period. All research points to that."
Holifield said future therapists are being trained to become experts in identifying dyslexia and providing children with appropriate intervention.
"It is overlooked, and at William Carey, we're trying to not make that a reality anymore."