The National Institute of Health started studying dyslexia in 1978. Today there are 34 leading universities conducting research here in the US and collaborating with research centers from six other countries. We now have a great deal of independent, scientific, replicated, published research on dyslexia.
There are three things that a child with dyslexia needs:
Early identification and intervention is crucial.
Research has shown that with early and proper intervention, new neuro-pathways are created in the brain, allowing dyslexic students to overcome reading deficits. Best results are achieved when intervention is started before 4th grade.
It is necessary to use the correct intervention. Research-based best practices for implementing an effective dyslexia reading and spelling program must include all the following:
- Simultaneously Multi-Sensory – Using multiple senses at the same time will help the student to both store and retrieve information.
- Direct and Explicit – The student must be taught each and every rule that governs our written words. Must be taught one rule at a time and practice it until it is stable in both reading and spelling before introducing a new rule.
- Systematic – The student must be taught our language from the beginning and create a solid foundation with no holes, presenting one rule at a time and practicing it until the student can automatically and fluently apply that rule to both reading and spelling.
- Cumulative – Continue to weave previously learned rules into current lessons to keep fresh and solid. The system must make logical sense to the student from the first lesson to the last.
- Synthetic and Analytic – Teaches how to take individual letters or sounds and put them together to form a a word (synthetic) as well as how to look at a long word and break it into smaller pieces (analytic). Both synthetic and analytic phonics must be taught all the time.
- Intense Practice – Dyslexic students need much more intensive instruction and more practice. At least 45 min to 1 hour, two times per week.
Only Orton-Gillingham based programs provide all of these practices in a single program. This is the approach recommended and considered the “best practice” by the International Dyslexia Association. This type of instruction will help “re-wire” your child’s brain and is intense enough to close the gap between their reading level and grade reading levels.
Classroom Accommodations Classroom accommodations are extremely important for your child while they are acquiring their basic reading, spelling, and writing skills. These can make a huge difference in their success at school and how they feel about themselves and about their education.
“The greatest stumbling block preventing a dyslexic child from realizing his potential and following his dreams is the widespread ignorance about the true nature of dyslexia.”