Illinois Chapter

Our mission is to educate the community about the nature of Academic Language Therapy and the professionals, Certified Academic Language Therapists (CALTs) and Certified Academic Language Practitioners (CALPs) who provide a multi-sensory, systematic, comprehensive, and structured literacy approach to remediating dyslexia and written language disorders.

ALTA Calendar

Chapter Events

We are dedicated to providing continuing education opportunities that promote the professional growth of our members. Events are worth continuing education hours (CE) to use towards ALTA membership requirements. 

ALTA Directory

Find an Illinois Professional

Our members are made up of individuals with the CALP, CALT, ICALP, or CALT-QI distinction. Find an ALTA-certified professional in your area that represents the highest quality services to those individuals with dyslexia. 

Chapter Resources

Current legislation:

  • IL HB 5032 Illinois Right to Read Act: Creates the Right to Read Act. Provides that the State Board of Education shall offer support: to each public school district to select evidence-based core reading instruction programs and implement them using structured literacy instruction; and to each early childhood, elementary, and special education teacher, reading specialist, literacy coach, and administrator to complete evidence-based training in teaching reading. Requires the State Board of Education to annually compile and post on its website information on the steps it has undertaken to support school districts to deliver high-quality, evidence-based literacy instruction, including a list of any Early Literacy Grant recipients, documentation of how the recipient allocated the funding to support improved literacy, and what evidence-based literacy curricula the recipient is utilizing. Amends the School Code. In provisions concerning educator testing, requires applicants seeking specified licenses to pass a test in reading foundations, which shall include assessment of the applicant’s understanding of phonological and phonemic awareness, concepts of print and the alphabetic principle, the role of phonics in promoting reading development, word analysis skills and strategies, vocabulary development, application of reading comprehension skills and strategies, and methods for assessing reading development. In provisions concerning minimum requirements for educators trained in other states or countries, provides that an applicant who has successfully completed a reading foundations test of at least comparable rigor to the Illinois reading foundations test is not required to complete a reading foundations test. Makes other changes. Effective immediately.
  • IL HB 4202 Dyslexia Screening: Amends the School Code. Provides dyslexia screening guidelines and rules. Requires the State Board of Education to employ at least 5 dyslexia specialists or dyslexia therapists with a minimum of 5 years of field experience in screening, identifying, and treating dyslexia and related disorders to provide technical assistance and training. Provides that, beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, each school district must screen students in grades kindergarten through second (and in higher grades under certain circumstances) for the risk factors of dyslexia using a universal screener approved by the State Board. Sets forth what the screening must include. Provides for additional screening for a student who is determined to be at risk, or at some risk, for dyslexia to determine if a student has the characteristics of dyslexia. Requires the use of a multi-tiered system of support framework if screening indicates that a student has some risk factors for dyslexia or has the characteristics of dyslexia. Sets forth provisions concerning exceptions to screening, dyslexia intervention services, and reporting. Effective July 1, 2022.

Leadership

ALTA-IL is made up of therapists and practitioners dedicated to providing rigorous evidence-based multisensory structured language education (MSLE) therapy to individuals with dyslexia. Meet the leadership team. 

Terri Sendelbach, B.S., CALT

Terri Sendelbach, B.S., CALT

President

Dyslexia Specialist; Certified Academic Language Therapist; ALTA McKinney Christian Academy – Multisensory Teacher Training (TX) – Hosted by The Written Word Center for Dyslexia and Learning (IL); Children’s Center of Dyslexia LaGrange (IL)

Private Practice: I provide dyslexia therapy, utilizing Take Flight: A Comprehensive Intervention for Students with Dyslexia, developed  Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, TX.

Serving These Communities: Western Suburbs

Professional Affiliations: International Dyslexia Association, Academic Language Therapy Association

 

Tara Chapman, M. S., AMS/EL, CALT-QI

Tara Chapman, M. S., AMS/EL, CALT-QI

Vice President

Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction – Reading, University of Wisconsin – Madison; Certified Academic Language Therapist; ALTA Qualified Instructor

Private Practice: Executive Director of The Written Word, Center for Dyslexia and Learning 

Tara has been teaching students in both public and private education for 35 years. She has extensive training in the field of education. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction-Reading, and an American Montessori Society Elementary I Credential. Tara is a Certified Academic Language Therapist (CALT), and a Qualified Instructor (QI). She earned her CALT credential through Southern Methodist University’s Learning Therapy Program, with additional therapist retraining at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. She earned a Qualified Instructor (QI) credential at McKinney Christian Academy’s Multisensory Teacher Training Center in Texas. 

As the founder of The Written Word Center for Dyslexia and Learning, she provides academic language therapy for students and professional development opportunities in structured literacy for educators and parents. Course offerings include Dyslexia Therapy Training (Take Flight: A Comprehensive Intervention or Students with Dyslexia), A Structured Approach to Teaching Reading, Writing and Spelling, and Literacy and Learning Seminars.  As the first QI in Illinois, Tara launched the ALTA Illinois State Chapter and serves on the board.

Serving These Communities: Western Suburbs

Professional Affiliations: Academic Language Therapy Association, International Dyslexia Association, American Montessori Society, Everyone Reading Illinois, The Illinois Reading League 

 

Allison Ryan, M.S., CALT

Allison Ryan, M.S., CALT

Secretary

Master of Science in Teaching and Learning; Certified Academic Language Therapist; Certified Dyslexia Practitioner                            

Professional Affiliations:  International Dyslexia Association, Academic Language Therapy Association, Everyone Reading Illinois, The Reading League

 

Sharon Marrello, M.Ed, CALT

Sharon Marrello, M.Ed, CALT

Treasurer

M.Ed. in Reading Education – National Louis University; B.A. Elementary Education – National Louis University; Certified Academic Language Therapist

Sharon has 20 years of experience teaching in both public and private education.  She currently provides dyslexia therapy to students ages preschool through middle school in the Western Suburbs of Chicago, using Take Flight: A Comprehensive Intervention for Students with Dyslexia, developed by Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, TX.

Professional Affiliations: International Dyslexia Association, Academic Language Therapy Association, Dyslexic Advantage

Diana Oreske, CALT

Diana Oreske, CALT

Social Media/Technology

Diana Orseske has worked in education for 16 years at a school district in the western suburbs. She spent the first two years as a reading paraprofessional working with children in kindergarten through second grade and since then she has been teaching kindergarten. She has served as a grade-level representative and is currently on the reading assessment committee for the district. During her time teaching kindergarten, Diana received her Reading Specialist endorsement from Lewis University. She is a Certified Academic Language Therapist through the Academic Language Therapist Association. She has tutored students from first grade through high school and recently started a dyslexia tutoring business, Finish Line Tutoring, in the southwest suburbs.

Professional Affiliations: Academic Language Therapy Association

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