Dyslexia Identification and Orton Gillingham Technology as a Solution
By Dr. Deborah Levy
Most teachers think that Dyslexia is a condition in which children reverse letters when they write. Unfortunately, that is probably one of the least-common forms. Common symptoms which may be observed, include slow reading, very poor spelling, great difficulty sounding out words, and looking and guessing at the visual shape of word. Students with Dyslexia often see strings of letters and cannot break them into syllables. Some children even have problems rhyming words, being late in establishing hand dominance, or even being unable to tie shoe laces. There is often a family history of reading difficulty, delayed speech, learning the alphabet, and pronouncing words. Some children have Dysgraphia, which is difficulty writing paragraphs and essays.
Yet, there have been many famous people over the years who have had dyslexia and are very successful in their lives and careers. Some of them include Anderson Cooper, Steven Spielberg, Charles Schwab, Albert Einstein, and Tim Tebow. So having Dyslexia is not a curse.
Fortunately, there are many things that a teacher can do to help a child, if there is a suspicion that s/he might have this condition. Conventional teaching of reading or conventional tutoring is usually ineffective for students with Dyslexia. These children need to learn through a multi-sensory approach, including visual, auditory, and tactile kinesthetic modalities. For children who are homeschooled, a blended model of technology and workbooks is usually very successful, especially if they follow the Orton-Gillingham (OG) approach. OG has been used for over 70 years and most experts in the field still feel that the OG approach is the best way to teach children with Dyslexia how to read.
The use of technology has added a whole new dimension to the OG approach. It can incorporate what is called phonemic awareness, phonics, sound blending, and fluency. Technology provides never-ending drill and practice, something that children with Dyslexia need. It provides all the materials that a parent, teacher, or tutor needs for a lesson plan. It provides immediate feedback to the child which improves self-confidence as s/he scaffolds up to higher reading levels. It holds the student’s attention and keeps him/her engaged in the learning activity. It provides the cutting edge learning that students in the digital age prefer.
MaxScholar software is the first OG program that is web-based and includes the entire OG sound sequence. The MaxPhonics and MaxWords programs are just what children with Dyslexia need and enjoy. MaxScholar also uses a multi-sensory approach to vocabulary, teaches specific strategies for improving reading comprehension, using electronic highlighting tools, and teaches writing. The use of color in MaxReading improves visual memory which improves spelling. With this set of programs, children with Dyslexia have been improving two grade-levels in just 90 days. It is well-worth the effort to visit their web site at www.maxscholar.com. They can even arrange an on-line tutor to work with children, no matter where they live. Most of all, they can design a Dyslexia-based curriculum.
Dr. Deborah Levy is a nationally known Dyslexia expert. She has authored many papers and books in the field and has successfully treated thousands of children during her career of over 40 years. She lives in NYC and Miami and can be reached at 305-496-7208.