Regents Approve Request for WTAMU Center for Learning Disabilities

Aug. 9, 2013

COPY BY: Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129,

Regents Approve Request for WTAMU Center for Learning Disabilities

CANYON, Texas—The College of Education and Social Sciences at West Texas A&M University is now home to the WTAMU Center for Learning Disabilities (CLD) following approval for its establishment by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents at its regular meeting Aug. 8-9 in College Station.

The University established the WTAMU Community Partnership for Learning Disabilities (PLD) in 2011 to provide a resource for parents of children with learning disabilities. A website was created along with educational, research and community outreach initiatives, and WTAMU officials wanted to capitalize on the success of those initiatives with the creation of the West Texas A&M University Center for Learning Disabilities. The Center will be funded through external sources and housed at WTAMU’s Amarillo Center in Amarillo.

“The creation of the WTAMU Center for Learning Disabilities provides a means for WT to expand on a sustained basis its specialized offerings for the Panhandle community,” Dr. J. Patrick O’Brien, University president, said. “Through increased services and research, it will provide a learning environment for our students, a resource for parents and an opportunity to educate the public. I expect the Center will make a significant impact in the lives of those with learning disabilities.”

The CLD is a collaborative effort designed to promote evidence-based teaching and research to help those with learning disabilities find success. Parents will continue to discover a network of support through the CLD while educators and administrators can count on professional development designed to help in the identification of students with learning disabilities along with a curriculum to ensure improved student learning. 

Students in multiple disciplines at WTAMU will gain hands-on learning in a proposed state-of-the-art laboratory. The facility will serve as a classroom for undergraduate and graduate students learning to assess and teach children with disabilities. It also will provide students, teachers, educators and families opportunities to experience the latest in technology and adaptive equipment. Traditional assessment instruments and technology-based and assisted assessments will be used to focus on the early identification of exceptional learners.

Many of the services provided through the PLD—community outreach, student scholarships, research, grants and the Distinguished Lecture Series in Learning Disabilities—will continue through the Center while others will be introduced to fulfill its mission. The Center will work with the WTAMU Department of Education to establish certificate programs focused on dyslexia for both undergraduate and graduate students along with plans to endow a chair in learning disabilities to provide leadership for the Center.

“What a gift WTAMU has given to the Texas Panhandle by providing support and programs to the families who have been affected by learning disabilities,” Puff Niegos, chair of the CLD advisory council, said. “This effort has the potential to change lives.”

For more information about the WTAMU Center for Learning Disabilities, visit the website at



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