Podcast Season 2, Episode 40: Effective Dyslexia Interventions

Effective Dyslexia Interventions


The “Gold Standard” in dyslexia interventions is Orton-Gillingham, often called “OG”.  There are many programs that are Orton-Gillingham-based.


The effectiveness of each OG-based program is highly dependent on the knowledge base of the person implementing the program.  If they are not actually trained in the program and/or dyslexia in general, the program will be far less effective.  


There are a lot of great programs available, but when someone can take those and individualize the education to YOUR child, you will see bigger improvements at a much faster pace.


There are also more contested interventions such as phonetic training (training your child’s brain to hear the differences between sounds), visual training (for those with visual tracking or visual processing difficulties), and other tools.  Each of these might work very well for some students and not at all for others.  This is because the tools are designed for specific types of brain wiring and if your child does not have that type of brain wiring, it will not solve the problem.  It’s kind of like giving glasses to a kid who can’t hear well.  Great for someone else, but not gonna help this kid!


Find a Specialist

Like I said, if you want to make a really great impact on your child’s growth, hiring someone who can individualize well is important. A specialist who has been extensively trained in dyslexia, has a lot of experience, who is engaging, and who is up-to-date on the latest research will be the most effective.  


I see a lot of recommendations for “Barton” or “Wilson”, etc.  And while each of those programs are great programs, they will not individualize to your child automatically and they will not necessarily address the difficulties your specific child is having.  Some kids need do well with Barton, and some will not.  (Luckily, Barton has a screener that gives you a good clue as to whether or not a specific child will benefit!)

Is your child ready for extra help?

For a variety of reasons (such as too much time on ineffective interventions), some kids are resistant to extra help.  They may not be interested in improving their reading right now, which will make them not make as much progress as the same child who is eager to improve.


Having an honest conversation with your child – in which you genuinely listen to their concerns and tell them about yours – is hugely important.  This conversation can make all the difference between your child engaging and finding success and your child continuing to struggle (while time and money are wasted).


Frequency of Extra Help

As I’ve said SO many times before, people only have a 10 minute attention span, at best.  This means that hour-long tutoring sessions are bound to be a lot of wasted time.  


There ARE circumstances in which hour-long sessions can be highly effective such as: the tutor is highly engaging, changing activities frequently, and the child is not mentally exhausted from a long day at school.


However, in most cases, a few short sessions several times per day is more effective than one long session.  That being said, one session daily is more effective than 1-2 sessions per week.


Yes, a lot of OG tutoring sessions in a week will get very expensive, very quickly.  However, your money will be more effective than if you pay for OG tutoring once/week.  In other words: 20 sessions delivered in 4 weeks is typically more effective than 20 sessions delivered in 20 weeks.  


AND- you can stretch your time and money by doing a lot of the skills practice with your child throughout the day and on any “off days” that your child has in their tutoring schedule. 


For example, you might only pay for OG sessions once/week.  And then you might ask the tutor for homework that you can do all the other days.  You might do that homework every morning and evening for 10-20 minutes.  That will all combine to lead your child to make much stronger progress than if your child is only getting the practice with the tutor.


As a reminder- if your child is mentally exhausted or resistant to the tutoring, homework, etc, you will not see much progress.  Before committing to a particular tutor, be sure they are a good fit for your child and that your child is ready for the extra help.


Takeaway: When your child is ready for extra help, find the right person and the right timing!


If you are interested in your child working with me directly, send me an email: Kimberlynn@DecodingLearningDifferences.com.  I have some specials right now (until Dec 1 or the spots are filled).


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