Grant expands Regional Rehab’s dyslexia efforts

By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Regional Rehabilitation Center is trading up on its dyslexia programs, thanks to a nearly $20,000 grant from Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi.
Regional Rehab has offered dyslexia testing and interventions for years, but its efforts have been limited by a modest inventory of tests and materials.
“This will let us take advantage of advances in dyslexia treatment,” said Regional Rehab Executive Director Kay Mathews.
Dyslexia, a learning disability that makes it difficult to read and write, can be highly individualized. There’s no one approach that will work for everyone who struggles with the disorder, which affects about 20 percent of students in the United States.
“The tests pinpoint exactly where the deficits are and specifically what intervention is needed,” said Regional Rehab speech pathologist Tina Finch, who heads the dyslexia program.
Effective treatment for dyslexia opens up a world of learning and opportunity, Mathews said.
“If you can’t read, you can’t do,” Mathews said.
When students initially come in for help, they are usually slumped over, confidence in shreds. After a few weeks, their shoulders are back and there are smiles on their faces.
“The transformation is amazing,” she said.
The new materials, which cost $19,200, will allow Regional Rehab to partner with school districts for dyslexia testing and intervention, Mathews said. Under state legislation passed this spring, school districts are required to offer more testing and intervention for students with dyslexia.
The center already contracts with districts to make occupation and physical therapy available to students.
michaela.morris@journalinc.com