Back in my advocacy days, I had a client who had been evaluated and found to be a student with dyslexia at age six. Up until middle school, he was enrolled in private school. He presented as an unusual case because he had a significantly higher comprehension rate than should have been seen and enjoyed writing, at a level three to four years above his current grade level.
Fast forward to an IEP meeting to discuss results showing a lower than expected reading level. The reading "specialist" a term I will use loosely, began spouting off her qualifications to hodge podge together a reading program. It included work with two specialists who espoused the benefits of whole language and a handful of weekend seminars. She was not all to pleased when her offer for remediation was declined.
Although most schools are going to try to convince you that they have a specialist, like the one I mentioned or a scientifically based, peer reviewed reading program, it is very unlikely that they do or what they have to offer is going to be effective for a student with dyslexia. A school will not willingly offer Orton-Gillingham (OG) tutoring/remediation. Almost always, it is because the school does not have anyone with OG training and certification. That combined with they'd have to pay to have someone trained and they don't want any of the other parents to find out they spent money on training.
In the 1930’s neurologist Dr. Samuel T. Orton and educator, psychologist Anna Gillingham developed the Orton-Gillingham approach to reading instruction for students with Dyslexia but the approach can be beneficial for all learners.
Below is a description of what a training course should include and what the program should look like. I do want to make two important points:
What should an Orton-Gillingham program look like?
To gain certification as an Orton-Gillingham provider, the course should include the following components:
Orton-Gillingham components included:
Important tips to remember:
Progress with Orton-Gillingham will not happen overnight. Tutoring needs to happen ideally every day, but at a minimum three times per week. Be aware, that progress can take up to two years and may need to continue for an extended period of time.
Training is not a weekend spent at a conference. It requires a significant time and financial commitment. Because schools are not willing to provide either, it is your due diligence as a parent to find someone in your area that the school can pay. Don't be fooled in thinking the school is going to hand over a blank check, but you need to have the names and costs in your arsenal just the same.
Finally, as great as OG can be. It may not be the most effective treatment for a child who is entering or in high school. Students at this level are often very significantly behind and need intensive remediation with a program like Lindamood Bell Learning Process.
The Oak Tree Academy mission is to improve the quality of life of people with language-based learning disabilities and their families by developing programs and disseminating knowledge based on current research.