Sydney Dyslexia

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I have found that dysgraphia often goes hand in hand with dyslexia, but not always. Dyslexia seems to always get the attention rather than the learning-to-write difficulty or disorder.

As their sense of orientation is out of alignment, there is a great difficulty to:

-write consistently in the same direction or in a straight line

-write more than the bare minimum

-string the ideas together in a logical and sequential order

-poor spelling, grammar, spacing etc.

All these symptoms and more are not a reflection of the student’s intelligence, but definitely affect their confidence.

This OT blog gives some ideas, but not sufficient to correct dyspraxia, which would first of all require the orientation to be addressed, so the child (or dysgraphic individual) perceives the information from the correct perspective:

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My son will finally get his ‘formal assessment for Dyslexia’

I have received a lovely letter from a friend in Austria, who was very happy to report that her son will be formally assessed for Dyslexia by the County Psychiatrist, in the hope that the school will recognize a positive diagnosis as a reason to support him in his literacy.
“Just realized that your son’s formal assessment will be taking place very soon. I wish him and you all the best and hope it’s going to be a positive experience, leading to an empowering result.
I also hope you won’t be disappointed, because most of the time, when a client has a formal assessment – either here or in Austria, it ends with recommendations that are the opposite to what we do. Trying not to be negative, I still have to give you some of the scenarios I have witnessed: ‘oh, he is dyslexic – no wonder, he is not passing his final exam and achieving his diploma. He might as well stop trying now, as he never will’ (that was an adult who had failed his medical exam – but after the program had passed, but had been very upset by the ‘formal diagnosis’). or: ‘Ah, he is dyslexic. That means he finds it very hard to learn to read, as he misses phonemic awareness/auditory processing skills… We have to fill these gaps by drilling phonics again and again. Eventually they get it.’ – as you know that is not just unnecessary, but painful and humiliating – and is often the reason for more problems than solutions. I often see kids after these procedures – and they can read, but usually have no idea what they are reading, hate reading or are totally disillusioned and lacking confidence.
What I have recently found was that some of my former students need to come back to me to re-visit their tools and get back on track. Often symbol mastery (the trigger words) has not been done or not in a proper way, tools get forgotten – and with it the effect of the first wonderful week.  Even an hour of fine-tuning tools or re-doing them makes a huge difference. There is so much going on during their one-on-one week with a facilitator, that some things are simply lost or the child has zoomed out. I do these follow-up sessions for free and I think you should ask your facilitator for a follow-up session.
Even my own son, who actually did a 4 day-‘Gift of Dyslexia’ workshop ten years after his initial Davis Correction Program, had so many ‘aha-moments’, things he simply had not understood or remembered, when he was 9 years old. It was for me an amazing experience and reminder to encourage my clients to do the same.”

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Why our teachers are leaving their profession?

I had not realized that 50 % of teachers in the USA leave their profession in their first year of teaching. Here in Australia, ‘only’ 1 : 5 teachers quit, many are worn-out, burnt-out and rightfully upset about a 73 % increase in their work-load by means of reporting, standardized testing and justifying their professionalism.

Seeing this program made me think of that joke when the mum talks to the son in the toilet who refuses to come out to go to school. ‘But darling, you have to go to school’, she says, ‘You are the teacher!’

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Completing the ‘Homework’ after a Program

After finishing a Davis Dyslexia Correction Program, students are given a book with remaining ‘trigger words’ (words that don’t have pictures, or cause confusion) to master, together with reading- and ball-exercises. There are just over 200 trigger words in the English language (schools often call them sight words). They are the ones that are easy to read (to, from, so, if, by), make up over 70 % of your reading material, but, if not mastered, cause confusion, lack of understanding and comprehension of the text.

Some parents believe that these aren’t so important, as their children use them in everyday conversation and they are used in the appropriate context. So they either skip them or just check if their child reads them and uses them in a sentence.

Now there are children, who have trouble following conversations, miss part of what their teachers ask, are much slower in their response and sometimes their answers aren’t related to the questions. However, they are bright and talented, creative individuals – and it is amazing how the speed of their responses increases, if all trigger words  have been finished in a proper way.

I have just read a post by a fellow facilitator who had exactly the same experience and thought I share it with you:

“The question I asked him when he came in for a review after finishing all the trigger words was, “Do you notice anything that is different now that you have clayed all your word?” He said immediately, “No, nothing.”
I just kept quiet, not responding to this in any way. After about a minute (that felt like an hour) he suddenly sat up straight, looked me in the eye and said, “That’s not true actually. Now, when the teacher asks a question I understand it immediately. If I know the answer, I raise my hand right away, and if I am called up I know what and how to answer and my answer is correct. Before, by the time I had even figured out what the question was, someone else had already answered it.”

That actually raises another interesting point, which I’d like to have your input to? Why do so many children present with ODD – Oppositional Defiant Disorder? It’s almost an automatic response to first disagree with absolutely everything and you have to always phrase everything in opposition to the outcome you are looking for.