Dyslexia

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What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge. 

Dyslexic minds work differently.  Dyslexics have trouble with reading, writing, and spelling even though they have average to above average intelligence.   Students with dyslexia are smart and they can learn; they just learn in a different way.

This definition is used by the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), 2002.


Characteristics of Dyslexia

General Indicators

Thinks in pictures, not words and solves problems in unusual ways

Has a vivid and active imagination

Difficulty maintaining order

Exhibits inconsistencies between potential and performance

Weak memory for lists, directions, or facts

Needs to see or hear concepts many times to learn them

Inconsistent school work


Indicators in written language

Difficulty acquiring and using written language

Difficulty learning to spell accurately

Difficulty learning and retaining multi-syllabic vocabulary


Indicators in reading

Limited reading comprehension due to weak decoding and/or word recognition and fluency skills

Difficulty in phonological awareness, including segmenting, blending and manipulating sounds in words

Difficulty mastering the alphabetical principle and basic decoding skills (sounds to letters)

Slow, inaccurate labored reading (lacking fluency)

Difficulty acquiring age appropriate sight words recognition skills (visual coding)


Indicators in oral language

Difficulty acquiring and using oral  language

Difficulty naming colors, objects, and letters rapidly, in a sequence

Oral language skills are often stronger than written language skills



Dyslexia Therapy

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Dyslexia Therapy - Take Flight

Take Flight: A Comprehensive Intervention for Students with Dyslexia is a two-year curriculum written by the staff of the Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia and Learning Disorders at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. Take Flight builds on the success of the three previous dyslexia intervention programs developed by the staff of TSRHC: Alphabetic Phonics, the Dyslexia Training Program and TSRH Literacy Program.

Take Flight was designed for use by Certified Academic Language Therapists for children with dyslexia ages 7 and older. The two-year program is designed to be taught four days per week (60 minutes per day) or five days per week (45 minutes per day). It is intended for one-on-one or small group instruction with no more than six students per class.

Take Flight addresses the five components of effective reading instruction identified by the National Reading Panel's research and is a comprehensive Tier III intervention for students with dyslexia.

Phonemic Awareness - following established procedures for explicitly teaching the relationships between speech-sound production and spelling-sound patterns 

Phonics - providing a systematic approach for single word decoding

Fluency - using research-proven directed practice in repeated reading of words, phrases and passages to help students read newly encountered text more fluently

Vocabulary - featuring multiple word learning strategies (definitional, structural, contextual) and explicit teaching techniques with application in text 

Reading Comprehension - teaching students to explicitly use and articulate multiple comprehension strategies (i.e., cooperative learning, story structure, question generation and answering, summarization and comprehension monitoring)

Take Flight Key Findings -Students who complete Take Flight instruction show significant growth in all areas of reading skill.

Follow-up research with children who completed treatment indicates that students maintain the benefits of instruction on word reading skills and continue to improve in reading comprehension after one year.

Take Flight is effective when used in schools by teachers with advanced training in treating learning disorders.

Students with the lowest reading skills acquire the strongest gains from Take Flight instruction.


Source: Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children


Dyslexia Therapy - Multisensory Teaching Approach (MTA)

Multisensory Teaching Approach is a program for the remediation of Dyslexia and other reading disabilities. It follows research begun at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital in 1965 by Aylett R. Cox and Dr. Lucius Waites as they developed the Alphabetic Phonics program. This program is an Orton-Gillingham multisensory approach to teaching reading that combines Visual, Auditory and Kinesthetic (or muscle) instruction. Titled Alphabetic Phonics because it is based on the alphabet symbol system, it teaches the science of the written language and addresses reading, handwriting, and spelling. 

Margaret Taylor Smith developed Multisensory Teaching Approach (MTA) in the mid 80's as a refined and more “teacher friendly” curriculum that enhances and further develops Alphabetic Phonics by teaching for mastery.

The MTA curriculum meets all state requirements as an exemplary choice for the remediation of dyslexia. In fact, the descriptors for remediation were based on this curriculum. Many Districts also use multisensory Teaching Approach (MTA) as the remediation program for students in Special Education with a general reading learning disability as well as those identified as having Dyslexia in Special Education. 

Additionally, MTA is an appropriate Response-to-Intervention to use for struggling readers who are not progressing as expected. Thorough teaching of the phonetic structure of the language provides these children with a framework for successful reading and spelling.


Source:  Linda Sullivan Quality Educational Services



Dyslexia Licensing

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WHAT DO LICENSED DYSLEXIA THERAPISTS AND LICENSED DYSLEXIA PRACTITIONERS DO?

Licensed Dyslexia Therapists and Licensed Dyslexia Practitioners are dyslexia remediation professionals who have voluntarily chosen to be licensed by the state of Texas under the provisions of Occupations Code, Chapter 403.  They provide educational services and tools to individuals with dyslexia, including multisensory structured language education.  

WHY WOULD AN EDUCATOR CHOOSE TO BE LICENSED?

Licensed dyslexia therapists and practitioners choose to be licensed so the public can identify them as dyslexia-service providers who meet the minimum standards set forth by the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). The standards include passing an examination, completing classroom training, completing clinical experience, and conducting demonstration lessons. Since licensed dyslexia therapists and licensed dyslexia practitioners are required to complete continuing education classes biennially to maintain licensure, the public will know that licensed educators are maintaining and upgrading their skills and knowledge in order to provide quality services. Those who choose to be licensed are regulated by the state of Texas in order to increase public confidence in their practice. When an educator is licensed, the public may report violations of the Texas Occupations Code, Chapter 403, or rules to DSHS through the complaint and investigation process.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A LICENSED DYSLEXIA PRACTITIONER AND A LICENSED DYSLEXIA THERAPIST?

A Licensed Dyslexia Practitioner: 

• holds a BACHELOR’S degree (or an advanced degree) from a regionally accredited public or private institution of higher education; 

• has completed at least 45 hours of course work in multisensory structured language education that meets the requirements of the licensing rules; 

• has completed at least 60 hours of supervised clinical experience in multisensory structured language education; 

• has completed at least 5 demonstration lessons of the practice of multisensory structured language education, each observed by an instructor from a training program that meets the requirements of the licensing rules; and 

• has successfully completed the Alliance National Registration Examination for Multisensory Structured Language Education Associate/Teaching Level administered by the Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA). 


A Licensed Dyslexia Therapist:

• holds a MASTER’S degree (or a more advanced degree) from a regionally accredited public or private institution of higher education; 

• has completed at least 200 hours of course work in multisensory structured language education from a training program that meets the requirements of the licensing rules; 

• has completed at least 700 hours of supervised clinical experience in multisensory structured language education; 

• has completed at least 10 demonstration lessons of the practice of multisensory structured language education, each observed by an instructor from a training program that meets the requirements of the licensing rules; and 

• has successfully completed the Alliance National Registration Examination for Multisensory Structured Language Education Therapist Level administered by the Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA). 


Source:  Texas Department of State Health Services