Class Act with Grant: Dyslexia Awareness Lighthouse Academy

Lighting the Coast for Bright Minds

October is Dyslexia Awareness Month, and as we enter the final days of the month, NEWS 25 is shining a light on a local school dedicated to helping children with dyslexia as well as dispelling some myths and misunderstandings surrounding the diagnosis. For this special edition of Class Act, sponsored by the Descher Organization, we had the privilege of visiting the Lighthouse Academy for Dyslexia in Ocean Springs during Spirit Week to see how they’re helping kids rise above the challenges.Behind the doors of Lighthouse Academy for Dyslexia lies an important mission – to help children and their families. A group of teachers recognized the need for dyslexia-specific education here on the Coast and leaping into action.
“Although we had no experience with admin, no experience with how were going to get a brand-new school of the ground, we decided it was worth it for the students who needed those services,” says teacher Stephanie Hill. “So, we started Lighthouse Academy three years ago with about 30 students.”
Now with 67 students and more on a waiting list, growth has been a constant for the fully accredited school. Students learn every subject over the course of a normal school day with a primary emphasis on dyslexia therapy and education.
“Our schedule starts with intensive multi-sensory structured literacy for two hours in the morning,” explains Hill. “So, we work really hard those first two hours they’re doing writing strategies. We call it dyslexia therapy and you’ve heard some of the students mention that or reading lab. Although they work those two hours really hard in the morning, our afternoon hours are a lot more hands-on and multi-sensory so they can really get up and move and be active.”
Teachers at the school say there are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding dyslexia and it’s important to remember it has many components.

“It’s not just flipping letters or numbers, although that does happen with dyslexics. It’s also being able to put those sounds and letters together to fluently read, that’s the biggest thing,” says Hill.

It’s clear from talking to students that the lessons they learn at Lighthouse have made a true difference in their lives.

“I’m so thankful for my amazing teachers, because I wouldn’t be able to read, write, spell, all this without them,” says fifth grade student Emry Kates.

“It’s so fun, because you learn something new every day,” adds fifth grade student Kiley Anderson.
Hill explains, “Once you’re in here, and you’ve been around these students, and you get to know them, you realize that their strengths far outweigh their weaknesses. And if we can remediate those weaknesses, like reading, then the sky’s the limit for what they can do.”
Categories: Class Act, Education