Selecting a Treatment Approach

selecting-a-treatment-blogParents of children with language processing difficulties often have trouble sorting out the sometimes fantastic claims made by companies selling various products and programs for improving reading and writing. With so many products claiming to work wonders like “balancing” and “building” the brain, improving “auditory processing,” straightening out “visual processing problems,” etc. no wonder parents are confused! Here are some things you can do to cut through the confusion and marketing:

  1. Before you look at any program review the “best practices” guidelines from authoritative sources and agencies that aren’t selling anything.  Possible sources include:
  2. Then, with a list of the guidelines you have compiled from step #1, make a checklist of the “best practice” features of reading and writing interventions.
  3. Using your checklist, review all the programs you are considering. Look at the claims on the company’s website. Be skeptical. Put on your “critical thinking hat”. Check off the “best practices” that you are sure each program features.
  4. Look for research that has studied methodologies (both branded and unbranded) using meta-analytic methods, combining results across well-controlled studies.  For example:
  5. Here are some resources for evaluating therapies:

There are 3 components needed for intervention to be successful:

  1. A Structured Literacy method
  2. Customized, dedicated daily practice
  3. A Clinician who knows language structure and how to teach it

If you only have 1 or 2 of the 3 necessary components, interventions will not be successful.

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Finally, if you are still confused (and this CAN be confusing!) consider getting some professional guidance. Our dyslexia therapists meet and exceed the International Dyslexia Association’s Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading and Spelling, and we’d be happy to discuss your child’s specific needs and what science has shown works best for children with those patterns. Sign up for a free 15-minute consultation here. 

Dyslexia Series on NPR News: Part 2


A new NPR radio series, “Unlocking Dyslexia”, sheds some light on the most common learning disability in America that is still a mystery to most. Gabrielle Emanuel, nprEd writer, and correspondent is dyslexic herself. In her series, she goes through explaining the difficulties of dyslexia, the science behind it, and the necessary steps to overcome it. This is part 2 of our 2 part review. Click here to read part 1.

The effects of dyslexia “extend[ ] far beyond the classroom, causing stress, tension, and confusion for families with a dyslexic child”. Emanuel receives some testimonials from parents of dyslexic children:

“There would be days that she could not get on the bus… Just the look of fear in her huge eyes – Mommy, I can’t do this; I can’t do this; don’t make me do this.” – Megan Lordos

“You could feel the cloud hover over the kitchen. It was just – it was a nightmare every night” – Lance Pressl

“He would get off the bus, and he would say to me, Mom, I’m stupid” – Geva Lester

Many parents and their children find themselves in this emotional and destructive spiral without knowing what the problem is or how to fix it. One mother recounts the “‘school didn’t seem worried’…they kept telling her: ‘Well, let’s wait six more months, and we’ll see what happens”. This happens more often than not. “Schools are supposed to help children with dyslexia, but many don’t have the resources to do so.” As a result, dyslexia is often denied and intervention for it is delayed. “The research suggests early and intensive reading help is most effective”. Some intervention can be costly. As one family puts it “‘…we use their college fund to pay for it. We invest in the child that we have now. You know, college won’t be an option if they continue to hate school and reject everything that has to do with reading’” (Emanuel, “Raising A Child).

The radio series highlights one dyslexia program, Lindamood-Bell, a NPR financial supporter. Emanuel received intervention at a Lindamood-Bell center as a child herself. However, she explains that “I’ve never been able to sound out unfamiliar words. And I still can’t” (“Millions Have Dyslexia”). Learning how to pronounce unfamiliar words should be a focus of treatment, a cornerstone of Lexercise therapy. Furthermore, Lindamood-Bell is very expensive, often only available in metro areas and disrupts a child’s schooling by requiring intensive, 4-6-hours-a-day instruction for 6 weeks.

If your experience sounds like the testimonials above, get your child immediate help. Lexercise Structured Literacy can be done in the comfort of your own home, works around your schedule, and most importantly guarantees a grade level increase in 8 weeks of therapy. Call us at 1-919-747-4557 with any questions or to get paired with your expert therapist.

Works Cited:

Emanuel, Gabrielle. “Raising A Child With Dyslexia: 3 Things Parents Can Do.” All Things Considered. NPR. 29 Nov. 2016. Radio.

Emanuel, Gabrielle. “Millions Have Dyslexia, Few Understand It.” All Things Considered. NPR. 28 Nov. 2016. Radio.

Photo Credit: NPR

Early Intervention is Necessary to Success

   5 Websites and Tech Tools to Motivate Reading PracticeA study by the University of California, Davis and Yale University suggests that the current emphasis on reading by 3rd grade may be too late. They found that dyslexia should attempt to be identified and addressed as early as pre-K. The research team used a sample from the Connecticut Longitudinal Study who had their reading skills assessed each year from preschool through the 12th grade. Seventy-nine of the sample children were identified as dyslexic based on their scores on assessments given in the 2nd or 4th grade, but the team found that the dyslexic readers had lower scores as early as 1st grade.

boy-and-girl-readingThis new information urges parents and teachers to pay special attention to reading and writing difficulties a child may be facing, earlier than previously suggested. As a dyslexic child gets older without proper intervention, their issues will only hinder them further in their educational performance not to mention their self confidence. Early intervention with children who show signs of dyslexia can make a huge difference later on in their lives.

Here are some tips from The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity for spotting dyslexia at an early age:

  • Observe language development. Pay attention to issues with rhyming, pronunciation and word finding.
  • Observe their ability to connect print to speech.
  • Look into your family history. Children are 50% more likely to be dyslexic if one of their parents is dyslexic.

Remember to focus on the strengths and weaknesses, do not let the weaknesses define your child’s life. If you suspect your child may have dyslexia, you can screen them here. Early intervention is key to your child’s success so please don’t hesitate to call if you suspect your child may have a learning disability: 1-919-747-4557.

Schools Deny Dyslexia

Don't Deny and DelayWe hear from parent after parent that the school is failing their child. Unfortunately, schools deny dyslexia and delay children from getting the right help. There are many flaws in the bureaucracy of school systems that make it difficult if not impossible to identify a child with dyslexia and then provide them with the right intervention. Author Holly Korbey from KQED recently wrote about this difficulty in her article “Who Helps Kids With Dyslexia Gain Reading Fluency?”. The article highlights dyslexia expert, educational psychologist, and our friend Martha Youman, Ph.D.

Martha began as an elementary school teacher and quickly realized that despite her master’s in teaching she was completely uneducated to identify her struggling students as dyslexic. Since then, Martha has continued on to become a dyslexia expert and school psychologist to help identify and support those children with learning disabilities. picture of martha youman phdUnfortunately, that isn’t enough, Martha admits “… there are multiple bureaucratic barriers standing in the way of students getting help” (Korbey, 2015). Even if a parent is able to get their child an IEP after months if not years of passing through red tape, it may not be effective. Martha says “…..whether or not IEPs actually help depends upon the individual school’s resources, because teachers and paraprofessionals need to be trained on what exercises to do to help students diagnosed with dyslexia, and the best results come from individual instruction. She admitted that in many cases, IEPs don’t really work and many families must rely on private tutors” (Korbey, 2015). Dyslexia intervention in schools often means a child is taken out of class and given “extra help” in groups of 5-10. Yet individualized 1:1 help is absolutely necessary to teach a dyslexic child how to approach reading in a way that their brain is wired to learn.

Laurie Cutting, professor of special education and faculty director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Reading Clinic says “approximately 1-2 percent of kids will always struggle, but that leaves 48 percent — nearly all of that second half of the classroom — who would be greatly helped with direct instruction correctly administered”(Korbey, 2015). Cutting’s clinic uses the same Orton-Gillingham-based therapy that Lexercise provides; however, we have the advantage of helping any family no matter where they live. She goes on to explain the problem: “’You have a finite amount of money and a bunch of kids. The kids who are going to get the services are most likely the ones who are the most severe or have the most advocates… It’s sort of a fundamental fact of life. It’s too bad that we are not able to capture kids early enough to do some remediation so that they don’t have as many word-level problems. It’s too bad that teachers many times aren’t trained in a way that allows those kids to work through their weaknesses, to sound out their words. Because that would benefit all of the kids”(Korbey, 2015).

Teletherapy illustration-child with clinicianWho will help your child? We will. If you are concerned that your child may be dyslexic you can screen them for free here. Don’t wait for the school to provide inadequate help. Don’t let the school deny and delay your child the help that they need. Lexercise will match you with a specialized therapist who will help your child improve their reading to grade level in a matter of months!