How to Help your Child

How to Help Your Child

Once you have a diagnosis of Dyslexia, coordinating a game plan can seem overwhelming. The next few months may be a bit of an emotional and educational roller coaster for you and your child. There are some steps you can take to begin helping your child.

  • Explain Dyslexia to your child

    • In the most simplified way possible, using age appropriate language, you need to tell your child what Dyslexia is. Use pictures, websites and success stories to help him understand that this is not a disease nor the result of something he did or did not do. Chances are your child already senses that something is different. Knowing that the challenges he faces are typical of one who has Dyslexia may come as a huge relief.

  • Teach him the best way to explain Dyslexia to his peers.

    • He will need to begin advocating for himself. Example: “I have dyslexia and it makes it difficult for me to hear sounds, read quickly, and spell words. The cool thing is that there are lots of people just like me. (Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein)”. The key is to empower him and eliminate any feelings of shame.

  • Help him to determine his strengths and talents.

    • People with Dyslexia are often gifted in areas of creativity, music, out of the box thinking and entrepreneurship. Help him to develop his gifts and talents in positive ways.

  • Develop a game plan together.

    • Include him in the remediation planning and selection of tutors. Allow him to have some control over how he gets the help he needs.

  • Seek appropriate tutoring by determining and understanding all the options for Dyslexic interventions. 

    • There are many different types of interventions emerging as dyslexia becomes a much more well studied entity and as development, evolution, and delivery of these interventions continue and become more commercially available.  Most of these interventions, however, can be categorized somewhat by the underlying methodological principles from which the intervention is based upon.

  • Listed below are many of the different interventions that have shown benefit over time or are emerging as beneficial while ongoing research continues. The following discussion although not inclusive for every single intervention available does attempt to educate the reader about the processes involved so that one may better understand why these differing methodologies are effective for dyslexic children.

    • Understanding how the brain learns to read will be critical to your success in advocating for your child’s future scholastic success.  So, within these listed interventions is also an educational discussion about how the brain learns to read and why interventions are done the way they are -- whether phonics based or neuro-developmentally based.

    • Deciding which intervention is best for your child depends on many factors such as age of your child, emotional fragility and existence of co-existing disorders, degree of severity, and limits of both your accessibility to interventions and their costs.

  • A phonics based approach, such as Orton-Gillingham method, is a direct, instructional, and multisensory, structured sequential way to teach language. Orton-Gillingham is a heavily researched method that accommodates the three ways through which people learn: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. By using multiple input channels the student is able to increase memory through these multisensory pathways to the brain. This approach is so named after Dr. Samuel T. Orton who was a neuropsychiatrist and pathologist (1879-1948) and Anna Gillingham, a gifted educator and psychologist (1878-1963)

    • Many dyslexic children will improve when they receive dyslexia-specific tutoring based on Orton-Gillingham (OG) principles. There are many Orton-Gillingham influenced or based systems including the classic Orton-Gillingham purist approach in addition to Slingerland, MTA (Multi-sensory Teaching Approach), Take Flight, Alphabetic Phonics, Wilson Reading System, SPIRE, Verticy Learning, the Barton Reading and Spelling System, Project Read, and a few others.

    • In addition, there are now specially trained educators called dyslexia specific interventionists such as Multisensory Structured Language Education (MSLE) specialists and Certified Academic Language Therapists (CALT) trained individuals. For best results, the chosen approach will need to be used with experienced, well trained tutors. Individual tutoring is preferred over group intervention if possible.

    • A technological based program called MindPlay Virtual Reading Coach is another alternative that is consistent with the Orton-Gillingham approach which is language-based, multisensory, structured, sequential, cumulative, cognitive, and flexible. This is a relatively inexpensive online program which can be done in one’s home that gives differentiated instruction based on each student’s initial diagnostic testing. This program has shown considerable improvement in struggling readers. It is a technology based reading solution that analyses each student’s strengths and weaknesses. It then builds a unique prescriptive plan for each child. The interactive mastery-based activities help students stay focused and accelerate their progress. Each child is able to work at his or her own pace.

      • This educational software solution is systematic, repetitive, and rule-based. Virtual reading coaches and speech pathologists work directly with each student to provide immediate feedback. Because the built-in placement test determines the student’s unique lesson plan, students only take lessons they really need and gaps close quickly. This program can be great for those just learning to read or for those needing more focused remedial help.

  • A neuro-developmentally based approach on how the brain learns to read is medically understood and is strongly grounded within the science of neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity means the ability of the brain to make new connections (new brain wiring) in response to explicit learning experiences or activities, also known as experience-based plasticity. A critical foundational skill that children need to have before being able to sound words out is to be able to separate spoken words into their individual sounds. Many struggling readers have extremely poor foundational skills in this area, and need the brain to go back and make new connections.

    • For some struggling readers, these poor phonological processing skills (processing sounds in words) can prevent future reading success even when these children are exposed to well-known phonics programs or Orton-Gillingham multisensory dyslexia methods.

  • For many years, a research-based program well known to successfully remediate weak auditory discrimination skills (i.e. the ability to recognize differences between sounds) was the Auditory Discrimination in Depth Program(ADD), that was by Lindamood & Lindamood, 1969 (i.e. the Lindamood’s first version of their LIPS Program®) which was taught previously through any Lindamood-Bell® Center. Currently, however, the methods in this original program were last modified in 1998 and parts of the method are now outdated. The Lindamood-Bell® Centers now offer a different visual phonics program.
     

  • Beginning in 1991 through 2013, an independent group of scientists began modification and updating the original LIPS Program®. In 2013, these updated methods were fully integrated into the NOW! Foundations for Speech, Language, Reading, and Spelling® Program. These modified and then improved methods came from interventional techniques designed and tested in a transdisciplinary clinic in Florida called The Morris Center that was started in 1986 by a Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician. This program’s modified and improved methods were developed with input from the combined expertise of: 

    • neuropsychology,

    • neurorehabilitation science,

    • developmental behavioral pediatrics,

    • speech-language pathology, and

    • sensory integration focused occupational therapy training that was pioneered at The Morris Center clinic.

  • Further strengthening the NOW! Foundations program was achieved by incorporating neuro-rehabilitative therapeutic techniques that were learned from another 10 years of research with adults that had acquired reading difficulties after suffering a brain injury called a stroke. The final result of all this past input and scientific research culminated into what is now known as the NOW! Foundations for Speech, Language, Reading and Spelling® program.

    • This neuro-rehabilitative and neurodevelopmental approach is strongly grounded within the science of neuroplasticity.  Therefore, the NOW! Foundations intervention is based upon the tenets of neuroplasticity, which means that the therapy is intensive, frequent, specific, based upon neurodevelopment hierarchy (training basic skills before advanced ones), and occurs for a significant duration of training until a child’s skills are fully developed, mastered and able to be performed independently without accommodations.

  • The resulting NOW! Foundations for Speech, Language, Reading, and Spelling® program is an evidence based, very effective program based upon the neurological principles of how the brain learns to read.

    • This program is available through online face-to-face tutoring or by teachers or tutors that have undergone this program’s intensive teacher training course.

  • The results from the evolution of past research and interventional techniques that are incorporated into the NOW! Program have since been studied in three separate 5-year, peer reviewed, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) studies, called Randomized Controlled Trials.

    • This scientific evidence shows the NOW! Program to be both efficacious and to result in significant and even sustained improvement in reading scores for students who showed continued gain in their reading skills even 1 and 2 years after receiving this specific neuro-developmental intervention.

    • Two hallmark findings from the research using the NOW! Program are:

      • High-risk 5-year olds who receive this program can be prevented from reading below grade level and going to Special Education.

      • 40% of 8-10 year olds who completed only a portion of the NOW! Program in 8-weeks were able to read on grade level so well that they no longer needed and actually ended Special Education services.

  • For further information about the NOW! Program see http://www.nowprograms.net 

  • Get plugged into technological resources

    • Learning Ally – www.learningally.org - online non-profit organization that provides Dyslexia support for students by provision of textbooks and literature books on audio files.

    • LiveScribe Pen – www.livescribe.com - Smartpens that can not only record lectures but also send your handwritten notes directly to your computer or tablet.

    • Naturally Speaking Voice Recognition Software – www.nuance.com – Using a digital Dictaphone, students can dictate thoughts and have the voice recognition software transcribe it into text.

    • Apps – there are numerous applications for iPads and tablets that help the student with Dyslexia. Using these can be more like playing games to the student which makes learning fun.

  • Grow your own knowledge base about Dyslexia

    • There is currently a wealth of resources both online and in book format to help you get started learning all you can about Dyslexia.

    • Don’t try to learn everything at one time. Pace yourself. Talk with the person who evaluated your child or possibly your child’s tutor to determine which resources are most important and begin with those.

 

Go to our “Important Resources Links” page for a list of resources.

Call AGC.

We are happy to help!

205-914-3027

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Call Us: 1-205-914-3027   or   Email:  intakecoordinator@AlabamaGameChangers.org

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