DEVELOPING INNOVATIVE STRATEGIES
Whether you need consulting help in setting up a dyslexia center in your school, planning an Orton-Gillingham training at your school, or in-service training workshops for your parents or teachers, Cindy is enthusiastic about helping you meet your goals.
Read what others are saying about how Cindy’s advice from her years of experience with dyslexic students and running a successful dyslexia program has helped their school.
Do you need to dig a little deeper to understand dyslexia better? A host of resources, articles, and sites that have helped Cindy and her colleagues better understand best practices for working with dyslexic individuals are listed here.
When a bright child unexpectedly struggles, we all search for reasons and solutions. Our classrooms often have students who are witty, full of great stories to share about their experiences, curious and eager to learn. For reasons we can’t explain, they don’t learn in the way that was anticipated.
Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects one in five students. It usually shows itself when the child enters school and begins the task of learning alphabet letters, reading and spelling skills. In hindsight, parents often report that their dyslexic child did mix up syllables in multi-syllable words, coming up with funny versions of common words, such as “hekalopter” for helicopter or “psgetti” for spaghetti. Other early warning signs of dyslexia include difficulty with supplying a rhyming word or remembering words and names. Once a child enters Kindergarten, the warning signs become more related to reading tasks. A Kindergarten student who misspells their own name, or can’t seem to learn to write an alphabet or link letter names with the sound and accurate letter formation when most classmates are able is showing signs of dyslexia. First graders who need to sound out the same word each time it appears on the page, or who misread the same word different ways on the same page, or try to avoid reading altogether may be dyslexic. Older elementary students tend to either omit words, put in words that are not there, mix up the order of words in a sentence, reverse or substitute a completely different word with a similar meaning. Poor spelling characterizes dyslexia at all ages.
If dyslexia is suspected, children as young as four years old can be tested for tendencies toward dyslexia and intervention can be started early. An educational psychologist can complete a dyslexia assessment. Scottish Rite Foundation has branches in many states that test at no charge.
Early intervention is vital to a good outcome for the dyslexic child. “It takes four times as long to improve the skills of a struggling reader in fourth grade as it does to do so between mid-kindergarten and first grade. In other words, it takes two hours a day in fourth grade to have the same impact as thirty minutes a day in first grade.” (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development)
The Orton-Gillingham approach to teaching dyslexic students is the gold standard for teaching language skills to dyslexic individuals. The Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators describes the O-G approach this way: “The essential curricular content and instructional practices that characterize the Orton-Gillingham approach are derived from two sources: first from a body of time-tested knowledge and practice that has been validated over the past 80 years, and second from scientific evidence about how individuals learn to read and write; why a significant number have difficulty in doing so; how having dyslexia makes achieving literacy skills more difficult; and which instructional practices are best suited for teaching such individuals to read and write.”
The outcome is bright for dyslexic students who complete the O-G approach lessons. Although dyslexic is a characteristic that can no more be erased than big feet can be made small or musical talent can be changed into sports ability, many of the difficulties associated with un-remediated dyslexia can be overcome.