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Thomas More University opens a dyslexia institute with a focus on community

a woman wearing a black shirt dress and pants stands before a screen while talking to students sitting at desks in a classroom
Thomas More University
Professor Kayla Steltenkamp teaches at Thomas More's School of Education.

This semester, Thomas More University's School of Education opened a dyslexia institute to support college students and people in the surrounding community struggling with the disorder.

The Thomas More University Dyslexia Institute will focus on research and sharing knowledge on how to set up students with dyslexia for success. It will provide assessment clinics, teacher training, and support for families in Kentucky and the Greater Cincinnati area.

Thomas More students in the education program will be trained to identify the characteristics of dyslexia and build strategies to help students. The university says the institute is the first of its kind in the state and will expose people to the latest trends in the field, as well as provide people with a strong foundational knowledge of the disorder.

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Assistant Professor in the School of Education Kayla Steltenkamp says the institute intends to be a resource for anyone wanting to know more about dyslexia.

"If parents are concerned or have questions, or maybe they've just received a dyslexia diagnosis and they're not really sure what to do now, they can set up a consulting visit and work with us on thinking about understanding the strengths of their child and the unique profile they have and just knowing what next steps to take," Steltenkamp told WVXU.

Steltenkamp is excited about the institute's potential. She says many people don't fully understand what dyslexia is and how to deal with it, but with the right tools, educators can better accommodate students with dyslexia and help them thrive.

"It's real. It's a thing. And it's not a big deal," Steltenkamp says. "It really is just some simple strategies and some understanding, and resources to help us to know what to do next."

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Thomas More's School of Education and the already existing Institute for Learning Differences has a close relationship with the Kentucky Department of Education. With the launching of this new institute, Steltenkamp can see that connection growing even stronger and looks forward to building new initiatives out of its dyslexia research to reach students across the state.

During its first year, the Dyslexia Institute will work on building relationships with the surrounding community and gathering feedback to best meet the community's needs. Eventually, Steltenkamp sees the institute becoming an easily accessible resource that can assist children from the moment they discover they have dyslexia all the way through to adulthood.

Zack Carreon is Education reporter for WVXU, covering local school districts and higher education in the Tri-State area.