When Hardin-Simmons breaks ground on the Houston-Lantrip
Center (HLC) on Thursday, a long-awaited dream will be realized. Dr. Emily Dean has dreamed of serving students with dyslexia
in a more conducive environment since she became program director of the Houston-Lantrip
Center for Literacy and Learning in 2011.
Dr. Dean currently works with students in Abilene Hall, an
academic classroom building constructed in 1948. There is no waiting area for
children and their families, so children typically sit on the floor while they
wait for their therapy session.
Despite this inconvenience, HSU has been serving students
with dyslexia for over twenty years. The problem of dyslexia is more prevalent
than one might think. Dyslexia affects one in five children. However, only half
of those with dyslexia characteristics are
identified by the public-school system, and most private schools are
unequipped to serve students with reading disabilities. HSU hopes to stand in
that gap as they help students succeed in school and in life.
Through HSU’s dyslexia therapy program, students throughout
the Abilene area have learned to read at grade level. The program also improves
students’ social lives as they gain the confidence
they may have never had before. When the Houston-Lantrip Center is complete,
HSU will be able to expand their services to a greater number of students and
improve the quality of their experience.
Thanks to a generous gift from Mae Houston-Lantrip, a 1947
Hardin-Simmons graduate whose daughter has dyslexia, and other major donors,
HSU has received more than enough funds needed to construct and furnish a
state-of-the-art facility to give these students the education they deserve.
A challenge grant issued in the fall by the J. E. and L. E.
Mabee Foundation promised $600,000 if $900,000 was
raised by October. The challenge was met and exceeded. The overall
funding needed was $3.2 million, but the
center raised over $3.7 million. The conference center will be expanded with the additional funds that were raised.
Not only will the HLC provide a place for dyslexia therapy, but it will also be the home to HSU’s new
Autism Center. The center will enable more teachers and HSU graduates to be
trained to help children with dyslexia
and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It will provide learning environments that
can adapt through the integration of
embedded technology, flooring and wall finishes,
and audio and visual enhancements. These multi-sensory experiences are a vital
part of effective therapy for both children with dyslexia and children with
The center will contain multiple soundproof rooms and
separate waiting areas to accommodate individualized programming for children
with dyslexia and ASD. Permanent office spaces for both full-time and part-time
faculty and staff will also be provided. The
Houston-Lantrip Center is projected to be completed by Fall 2019.