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USM’s DuBard School Holds Annual Symposium to Combat Dyslexia

Tue, 09/03/2019 - 13:08pm | By: Van Arnold

Statistics indicate that as much as 15-20 percent of the world’s population experience some symptoms of dyslexia. About 3.5 percent of American students — slightly more than two million children — are receiving special educational services for a reading disorder.

Few schools, agencies, or organizations work harder to bring awareness and provide proven treatment options for dyslexia and related disabilities than the DuBard School for Language Disorders at The University of Southern Mississippi.

As a leader in the fight against dyslexia, the DuBard School has hosted a two-day symposium for the past 22 years, featuring nationally recognized keynote speakers along with breakout sessions and related programming. The 23rd Annual DuBard Symposium: Dyslexia and Related Disorders is set for Sept. 12 through 13 at Parkway Heights United Methodist Church in Hattiesburg, Miss.

Dr. Missy Schraeder, DuBard School Director, notes that the symposium was created as a response to a need for dyslexia education in our region.

“The symposium provides a variety of topics on both oral and written language disorders and offers professionals and parents an opportunity to network and learn from one another,” said Schraeder. “In addition to the symposium, the DuBard School provides an average of 10 professional development offerings each year.”

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words (decoding). Also called reading disability, dyslexia affects areas of the brain that process language. People with dyslexia have normal intelligence and usually have normal vision.

Approximately 100 attendees from across the Southeast are expected for this year’s DuBard Symposium. The annual gathering is designed to provide high quality information to local general educators, special educators, administrators, dyslexia therapists and speech-language pathologists through nationally recognized speakers in the world of language and literacy.

A keynote speaker will kick off the event each day and then host breakout sessions to follow. Keynote speakers include Ken Apel, Ph.D., CCC-SLP; and C. Melanie Schuele, Ph.D., CCC-SLP.

Apel is a professor and chair of the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of South Carolina. Additionally, Apel is a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. His featured topic will be Word Study: A Multilinguistic Approach to Literacy Instruction.

Schuele currently serves at Vanderbilt School of Medicine as Associate Professor in Hearing and Speech Sciences; Associate Professor in the Department of Special Education at Peabody College and Director of the Child Language and Literacy Laboratory. Her featured topic will be All Learners Need a Foundation of Phonological Awareness on Which to Build Word Reading and Spelling Skills: Assessment and Intervention.

For nearly 60 years, USM’s DuBard School has been helping children and their parents cope with language disorders, while also providing a real-world training platform for speech pathologists. Through its annual symposium, the school strives to create a better understanding of dyslexia and develop viable strategies to combat the frustrating affliction.

“We have a unique opportunity to not only educate individuals about language disorders, but to demonstrate the success of our method through the students who attend DuBard School,” said Schraeder. “We are very grateful to be a source of oral and written language education for individuals throughout the world.”

For more information about the symposium and to register online visit or call 601.266.6777.

About the DuBard School for Language Disorders

The DuBard School for Language Disorders was established in 1962 and is a clinical division of the Southern Miss Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences. The school serves children with severe language/speech disorders, including the written language disorder of dyslexia, and/or hearing impairments and provides guidance and counseling for parents and families of the children. The school is a practicum site for university students majoring in speech-language pathology, audiology or deaf education. DuBard School for Language Disorders is a United Way agency. Further information is found at