ACADEMIC THERAPY & FAQ
READING, WRITING, & SPELLING INSTRUCTION
Academic therapy, above all else, changes the way students read, write, and spell. Students learn:
The 26 letters of the alphabet
45 English speech sounds using a structured procedure
A sound blending method demonstrably more effective than that found in most classrooms
The six syllable types
Syllable division patterns
Regular and irregular spellings and related rules
Basic writing mechanics
The instruction is diagnostic, meaning that it is tied to student performance day to day. Concepts are taught and practiced to mastery.
STUDY SKILLS & LEARNING STRATEGIES
Strong reading and spelling fluency skills are often not enough for students with dyslexia and executive dysfunction. Students need explicit instruction in study skills and learning strategies that will enable them to meet their academic potential. These skills include:
Grammar and sentence building skills
Advanced writing mechanics
Note-taking from textbooks, literature, and lecture
Paragraph and multi-paragraph essay development
Proofreading and editing
Morphology - the study of Greek and Latin roots, prefixes, and suffixes which promotes spelling accuracy and reading comprehension
Non-literal language and inferencing
Test-taking and test anxiety reduction strategies
When students follow structured procedures that take the guesswork out of performing academic tasks, they work more confidently, capably, and independently.
EXECUTIVE FUNCTION INTERVENTIONS
Students who struggle with executive dysfunction, ADHD, working memory deficits, or slow processing speed are often at a disadvantage in spite of their good intelligence. These students benefit from individualized, targeted instruction in organizational systems and strategies (including the rationale for using them), such as:
Metacognition (creativity, flexibility, self-control, & discipline)
"Quick Tricks" for improving dynamics between self and teachers and self and peers
Planning and time management
Use of homework planner
Aerobic exercise programming
Organizational strategies do not come easily to students with poor executive functioning, but these skills can be learned and practiced to the extent that they become habitual.
The Answers You Need
WHAT IS DYSLEXIA?
“Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological 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.”
Adopted by the IDA Board of Directors, Nov. 12, 2002. This Definition is also used by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
WHAT IS ACADEMIC THERAPY?
Academic therapy is a medical/therapeutic model based on the principle of neuroplasticity. It provides the foundation for effective, diagnostic reading and spelling instruction for students with moderate to severe dyslexia. Academic therapy includes a strong emphasis on motor-learning, with procedures that engage the auditory, visual, and kinesthetic-tactile pathways simultaneously.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR SOMEONE WITH DYSLEXIA TO BECOME A GOOD READER?
The answer depends on a number of factors, including the student's age, severity of the dyslexia, the presence of co-morbid conditions, cognitive ability, attitude of the student, the number of therapy sessions per week, the comprehensiveness and granularity of the instruction, the skill of the therapist, and the pacing of instruction that prioritizes the student's mastery of skills. In short, there is no easy answer, other than that the less severely involved, the less time it will take; the more severely involved, the more time it will take.