Dyslexia Therapist and Dyslexia Practitioner Licensing Program - FAQ's

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Frequently Asked Questions
The information on this page is not a substitute for reading and following the complete rules and law related to the Dyslexia Therapist and Dyslexia Practitioner Licensing Program.

What is dyslexia? 
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability caused by the brain’s inability to recognize words, letters, symbols, and/or sounds. These difficulties can cause repeated spelling errors, reading problems, and trouble sounding out words. Common characteristics include:

  • Difficulty pronouncing words
  • Difficulty with reading and reading comprehension
  • Difficulty spelling
  • Difficulty learning letter names and their given sounds
  • Difficulty spelling words by sounding them out
  • Difficulty sequencing letters in words
  • Difficulty with handwriting
  • Difficulty with rapid naming
  • Difficulty rhyming
  • Difficulty understanding right and left handedness
  • Difficulty in mathematics
  • Seeing or writing letters in reverse (for example, "d" for "b")

It is important to remember that many people without dyslexia may have 1 or 2 of the characteristics. People with dyslexia usually exhibit multiple characteristics that may or may not be listed above.

I think my child is dyslexic. What do I do?
Educate yourself about dyslexia, testing, and instructional methodologies. You may want to talk to your child’s teacher or local school’s reading specialist.  Discuss your concerns and describe your child’s behavior in detail.  Give specific examples.  You may have to write a formal request to your child’s school asking for a dyslexia or specific learning disability test. You may also want to explore local dyslexia resources.  The Dyslexia Therapist and Dyslexia Practitioner Licensing Program does not maintain a list of local dyslexia resources.  For more information, you may want to contact the Academic Language Therapy Association at www.altaread.org, the International Dyslexia Association at www.interdys.org, the Learning Disabilities Association of America at www.ldaamerica.org, and the Learning Disabilities Association of Texas at www.ldat.org.  A roster of Licensed Dyslexia Therapists and Licensed Dyslexia Practitioners may be found on the following website: www.dshs.state.tx.us/dyslexia/rosters/.

How is dyslexia treated?
Every person is unique and may require a specific technique.  Multisensory (hear, see, say, touch, and movement) techniques are often used to actively engage the student in the learning process by using multiple senses at the same time. You may want to review the Texas Education Agency’s Dyslexia Handbook for more information.  You can access the handbook through the following link: www.tea.state.tx.us.

If I currently teach and/or assist those with dyslexia, can I continue to provide my services without being a licensed dyslexia therapist or licensed dyslexia practitioner?
Yes, you can provide educational services to persons with dyslexia without being licensed by the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). The only persons who are required by law to be licensed are those who use the titles “Licensed Dyslexia Therapist” or “Licensed Dyslexia Practitioner”. If a person does not use those protected titles, the person is not required to be licensed, even if they are performing the same duties as persons who are licensed. Texas school districts are currently not required by state law to employ licensed dyslexia practitioners and/or licensed dyslexia therapists.

Since licensure is voluntary, why would an educator choose to be licensed?
Dyslexia educators choose to be licensed so the public can identify them as dyslexia-service providers who have met the standards set forth by DSHS. The standards include passing an examination, completing classroom training, completing clinical experience, and conducting demonstration lessons. Since licensed dyslexia therapists and licensed dyslexia practitioners are required to complete continuing education classes biennially to maintain licensure, the public will know that licensed individuals are maintaining and upgrading their skills and knowledge in order to provide quality services. Those who choose to be licensed are also regulated by the state of Texas in order to increase public confidence in their practice. When an individual is licensed, the public may report violations of the rules (Title 25, Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 140, Subchapter K) and/or law (Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 403) to DSHS through the complaint and investigation process. For more information on how to file a complaint, please select the "Complaint Process" tab on the right side of your screen.

Are Texas school districts required to employ licensed dyslexia practitioners and/or licensed dyslexia therapists?
No. Texas school districts are currently not required by state law to employ licensed dyslexia practitioners and/or licensed dyslexia therapists. A school district may choose to require that the district’s dyslexia educators hold a DSHS license. That choice is made at the local level and is not required by state law.

What is the difference between a licensed dyslexia practitioner and a licensed dyslexia therapist?
Licensed Dyslexia Practitioner:
• holds a BACHELOR’S degree (or a more advanced degree) from a regionally accredited public or private institution of higher education;
• has successfully completed a training program accredited by the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC) that included, at a minimum: 
    -at least 45 hours of course work in multisensory structured language education that meets the requirements of the licensing rules; 
    -at least 60 hours of supervised clinical experience in multisensory structured language education; 
    -at least 5 demonstration lessons of the practice of multisensory structured language education, each observed by an instructor from a training program that meets the requirements of the licensing rules; and
• has successfully passed the Alliance National Registration Examination for Multisensory Structured Language Education: Associate/Teaching Level administered by the Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA).

Licensed Dyslexia Therapist:
• holds a MASTER’S degree (or a more advanced degree) from a regionally accredited public or private institution of higher education;
• has successfully completed a training program accredited by IMSLEC that included, at a minimum:
    -at least 200 hours of course work in multisensory structured language education from a training program that meets the requirements of the licensing rules; 
    -at least 700 hours of supervised clinical experience in multisensory structured language education; 
    -at least 10 demonstration lessons of the practice of multisensory structured language education, each observed by an instructor from a training program that meets the requirements of the licensing rules; and
• has successfully passed the Alliance National Registration Examination for Multisensory Structured Language Education: Therapist Level administered by ALTA. 

Is there a difference between a “Certified Academic Language Therapist” and a “Licensed Dyslexia Therapist”?
Yes, there is a difference. A certified academic language therapist (CALT) is a person who is certified by the Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA). A licensed dyslexia therapist is a person who is licensed by the state of Texas and is legally authorized to use the title “licensed dyslexia therapist”. A person who does not use the title “licensed dyslexia therapist” is not required by law to hold a license. The education, training, and examination requirements to become a CALT and to become a licensed dyslexia therapist are the same.  Many licensed dyslexia therapists are also certified academic language therapists, and many licensed dyslexia practitioners are also certified academic language practitioners (CALP). 

Where do licensed dyslexia therapists and licensed dyslexia practitioners work?
A licensed dyslexia practitioner may practice only in an educational setting, such as a school, learning center, or clinic. A licensed dyslexia therapist may practice in a school, learning center, clinic, or in a private practice setting.

Where can I find a list of accredited training programs?
DSHS does not maintain a list of accredited training programs.  Please visit the website for the International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC) for more information. When you select the link below, you will be taken to the IMSLEC homepage. Please select the “Membership” tab, and then select the "Search for Training Centers by Zip Code" link.  www.imslec.org

I am applying for a license, but I am not currently certified by the Academic Language Therapy Association. What additional information is needed with my application?
If you are not currently certified by ALTA, you must submit proof of completion of your training program and proof of passing the required examination. You should include copies of the certificate(s) and/or letter(s) showing the number of completed coursework hours, supervised clinical hours, and demonstration lessons from your IMSLEC-accredited training program. If the certificates do not show the specific number of completed hours and/or demonstration lessons, you must submit a letter from the training program outlining these requirements.  You must also submit proof of passing the required exam.

What if my training program is not accredited by IMSLEC?
If your training program is not accredited by IMSLEC, it must be reviewed and approved by DSHS and the Dyslexia Licensing Advisory Committee before you may be approved for licensure. In order to be reviewed, the training program must submit any and all relevant documentation that verifies that the training program and its instructors meet the requirements of section §140.584 of the rules.  Please read the rules carefully to ensure that you qualify for licensure, as all fees submitted to DSHS are non-refundable. 

Can I become a licensed dyslexia therapist if I hold a bachelor’s degree, not a master’s degree?
No. In order to be a licensed dyslexia therapist holding a bachelor’s degree, the law required a person to complete the training and examination requirements by November 30, 2012 and postmark the license application by December 31, 2012. This option is no longer available.

I have a master’s degree (or higher degree), but I have not completed my 700 hours of supervised clinical experience. What do I apply for?
If you have completed the lesser amount of training required for the therapist level license, you should apply for the dyslexia practitioner license. Upon completion of the clinical experience required for the dyslexia therapist license, we encourage you to apply for the dyslexia therapist license.

How much does it cost to become a licensed dyslexia therapist or licensed dyslexia practitioner?
The initial licensing fee is $161 for a two-year license. The two-year renewal fee is $158.

Can the dues for my Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA) certification be applied to the licensed dyslexia therapist or licensed dyslexia practitioner application or renewal fees?
No.

The application form asks me to provide my original transcript from my university. Can I send in a copy instead?
No. Copies of transcripts are not accepted. The Department of State Health Services requires an official transcript issued by the college or university, but it does not have to be sent in a sealed envelope. The transcript does not have to be mailed directly from the college or university. Transcripts may be faxed to DSHS, but only if they are faxed directly from the school’s official registrar to the fax number provided on the application. The fax must contain sufficient information to identify the applicant.

Does my college transcript have to be mailed directly from my university, or can I have my university send it to me and I include it with my application packet?
Your official transcript does not have to be mailed directly from your university.  

The application asks for my criminal history background.  What do I need to disclose?
You will need to provide information on all felony and/or misdemeanor offenses.  You will need to provide information if you have ever been arrested, charged, convicted, entered a plea of nolo contendere (no contest), a plea of guilty, and/or received deferred adjudication for a felony or misdemeanor.  You must also include any convictions which are currently on appeal.  Please note that most minor traffic offenses do not need to be reported to DSHS. DUI/DWI is NOT a minor traffic offense. If you do not have a criminal history, check "No" on the criminal history questions. Failure to report your criminal history may jeopardize your application.

If I apply for and qualify to be a licensed dyslexia therapist or licensed dyslexia practitioner, will I receive a license certificate?
Yes. It will be mailed to the “preferred mailing address” you provide on the application. Please see the application for more information.  

How many hours of continuing education are required for each licensure period?
Licensees are required to complete 20 hours of continuing education during the 2 year period. 

If I am ALTA certified, can I use the same continuing education hours for my ALTA certification and dyslexia license?
Yes. Visit the ALTA website for more information regarding continuing education opportunities.  www.altaread.org

How do I renew my license?
You may now renew online or by mail.  DSHS will mail out renewal forms approximately 30 days prior to your license's expiration date. However, it is your responsibility to renew your license. Be mindful of your expiration date, and contact DSHS if you have not received a renewal form. You may also print off a blank renewal form found on the "Applications and Forms" web page. Please remember that if you do not keep your address information up to date with our office, your renewal notice may not reach you! Failure to receive a renewal form does NOT excuse you from late fees. If you need to update your address with DSHS, you will need to submit the request in writing using the Change of Address Form found on the "Applications and Forms" web page.  You are required to complete 20 hours of continuing education before your license is renewed.  You are also required to disclose misdemeanor and/or felony convictions that occurred during the preceding 2-year licensure period, if not already reported to DSHS.

What do I do if my renewal says that I am “Selected for Audit”?
To ensure compliance of the continuing education requirements, DSHS randomly audits licensees.  If you are selected for audit, you must send in sufficient proof of your completed continuing education hours. Sufficient proof includes photocopies of your continuing education certificates that clearly show the number of completed continuing education hours.  
  
I am a licensed dyslexia practitioner and am seeking licensure as a dyslexia therapist.  What do I need to submit?
You are required to submit a new application with the $161 fee, official transcripts, and a copy of your current ALTA card.  If you are not currently certified by ALTA, please send in proof of passing the required exam and proof of completing the required training program. You are also required to return your previously issued dyslexia practitioner license and renewal cards to DSHS.  

What initials may I use on my business card once I become a licensed dyslexia therapist?
The law only addresses the use of the titles “licensed dyslexia therapist" and “licensed dyslexia practitioner”. However, a person could also use the initials “LDT” or “LDP” since we are not aware of those designations being currently used by other Texas licensed professionals.

If I am a CALT and an LDT and I live in Texas, how may I write my credentials?
There is no specific protocol for this, but our recommendation is to list the degree, followed by the state license, and then the certification from a national organization. Example: Jane Doe, MS, LDT, CALT

I don’t live in Texas. Can I still apply to be a licensed dyslexia therapist or a licensed dyslexia practitioner?
Yes. A person who does not live or work in Texas can still apply for and attain licensure (as long as they meet all of the requirements). However, the license is valid only within the state of Texas and does not permit any special right or privilege in another state. It does not authorize a person to use the title or engage in the practice in another state. It is not a national license.

Are the dyslexia therapist and dyslexia practitioner licenses national licenses?
No, they are not. The licenses are valid only within the state of Texas and do not permit any special rights or privileges in other states. The licenses do not authorize a person to use the titles or engage in the practice in other states.

If I am licensed in Texas as a dyslexia therapist or dyslexia practitioner but I do not work in Texas, can I advertise that I am “licensed” in the state in which I work?
Using the word "licensed" outside of Texas could be considered deceptive or misleading advertising, depending on the laws of the state in which you are practicing and advertising. These licenses are valid within the state of Texas only and do not permit any special rights or privileges in another state. They do not authorize a person to use the titles or engage in the practice in another state. It is the licensee’s responsibility to ensure that the public knows that the license is only valid in the state of Texas. 

How may I write my licensure credential if I do not live in Texas?
It is the licensee’s responsibility to ensure that the public knows that the license is only valid in the state of Texas. Should a licensee choose to use the LDP, LDT, Licensed Dyslexia Therapist, or Licensed Dyslexia Practitioner credentials in another state, it is incumbent on the licensee to let the public know that the title and license to practice are only valid in Texas.

As licensed dyslexia therapists and licensed dyslexia practitioners, are our services reimbursable from third party entities (insurance companies or Medicaid)?
Dyslexia services may or may not be reimbursable. Check with the insurance company for further information. For insurance inquiries, please contact ALTA for more information.

How do I file a complaint against a licensed dyslexia therapist or licensed dyslexia practitioner?
If you believe that a licensee has violated the rules (Title 25, Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 140, Subchapter K) and/or law (Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 403) for dyslexia therapists and practitioners, you may mail in the complaint form found on the "Complaint Process" page on the right side of your screen. For more information on the complaint process, please call the Complaints Management & Investigations Section at 1-800-942-5540. 

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Last updated September 17, 2013
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    Dyslexia Therapist and Dyslexia Practitioner Licensing Program