Located at 90 Main Street, Andover, Massachusetts
Signs of Dyslexia
How is dyslexia helped?
Dyslexia is a life-long learning difference. The Orton-Gillingham approach is a scientifically proven multisensory approach that supports dyslexia. This means that students are not expected to memorize information, but instead they will learn through practice using their visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile senses. By using multisensory pathways and by doing, students retain and apply the information learned. The English language is 80% predictable and students will learn phonemic awareness of predictable letter-sound patterns in singular and combination formations. Research shows that the differences in the dyslexic brain can be supported using the Orton-Gillingham approach. Two individualized one-hour sessions will improve reading comprehension and spelling. Each lesson plan is carefully created to meet the specific needs of the student.
Why an Orton-Gillingham Certfied Therapeutic Practitioner?
Orton-Gillingham is a multisensory approach to teaching predictable reading and spelling English language patterns. Students are taught strategies to use their knowledge to read and spell words with which they are not yet familiar. It's a program that is adjusted to meet the needs of the student. Every lesson is planned for the student's area of need. This is a life changing program for any aged person who has dyslexia and reading/spelling differences.
There are important differences between a trained and certified Orton-Gillingham practitioner. For effective progress, the practitioner you select for your child needs to be a Certified, not trained, Orton-Gillingham therapeutic practitioner. Tutors who have training means they attended a workshop without a supervised practicum. Be sure to ask your tutor if they are certified and their certification is current.
It takes dedication and commitment to become certified in Orton-Gillingham. To earn Orton-Gillingham certification with Initial and Advanced levels, the tutor has spent fifty to one hundred hours in class, reading and writing reports, passing quizzes, a midterm and a final. The most important step in the Orton-Gillingham certification is that the practitioner has passed a one hundred to four hundred hour supervised practicum. A supervised practicum provides continual feedback and instruction improvements to ensure the tutor meets high standards in teaching procedures and practices. Certified practitioners have also had thorough background checks. Security checks are done as a prerequisite to the Orton-Gillingham certification program. Often, certified Orton-Gillingham practitioners will have a higher hourly rate than non-certified reading tutors, and can be an indication of the skills. Rates vary because of certification level and experience.
The Evaluation for Dyslexia
The process starts with a Core Evaluation by your town's school district. An independent evaluation will need to follow your school's evaluation by a neuropsychologist who specializes in dyslexia and language based challenges.
Why do you need this? Your school's Core Evaluation will not be thorough enough.
Schools do not diagnosis dyslexia and reading challenges because dyslexia is considered a medical diagnosis. This critical piece of the evaluation is done by an independent neuropsychologist with expertise in dyslexia. There are more in depth tests for phonological awareness, word attach, word id, pseudo word, reading comprehension, and memory that complete the evaluation.
Who do you turn to for the complete diagnosis? There are recommended neuropsychologists under Professional Resources who do specialize in reading and dyslexia. You can also ask your pediatrician for a recommendation.
The Orton-Gillingham seven step lesson plan includes:
1) Phonograms (letter to sound patterns) and phonemic blending drills for automaticity;
2) Review words;
3) New Feature Work (it may be a phoneme, a spelling rule, a syllable type, or a Latin morpheme);
4) Phonemic Awareness, Fluency Drills,
5) Sound to letter association drill (What Says?);
6) Spelling and Sentence Dictation for grammar and spelling;
7) Oral Reading for fluency and comprehension.
You will need to be able to commit to two one-hour sessions per week. It will take approximately one to two school years to master levels one through four of the Orton-Gillingham program depending on the ability of the student. Level 5 may be completed later for younger students. An Accelerated Program for teens and adults may be possible and will take approximately twelve weeks when meeting twice per week depending on the student's ability. You will learn and practice phonemes, spelling rules and generalizations, common letter-sound patterns, learn affixes, Latin Roots, Greek combining forms, and work on active reading strategies to aid comprehension.