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The Challenges of Dyslexia: Finding the Courage to Teach, Learn and Parent


The Challenges of Dyslexia: Finding the Courage to Teach, Learn and Parent Nancy Hennessy, M.Ed. ORBIDA Feb. 23, 2007 Purpose Create hope, possibility and partnership ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Challenges of Dyslexia: Finding the Courage to Teach, Learn and Parent

The Challenges of Dyslexia Finding the Courage
to Teach, Learn and Parent
  • Nancy Hennessy, M.Ed.
  • Feb. 23, 2007

  • Create hope, possibility and partnership
  • so that every individual has the opportunity to
    lead a productive and fulfilling life
  • and society benefits from the resource that is

Goal of education
  • Acquisition and application of knowledge that
    allows us to tap into and participate fully in
    lifes journey.
  • So, what knowledge, skills, attitudes might
    empower us to achieve our purpose!
  • Every Child Reading

Find the courage to change!
Lets begin by acknowledging that
  • If we are to activate our abilities and avoid
    energy traps so that we can serve our children,
    we need to accept and acknowledge our
  • When I accept my connectedness, I give up my
    attempt to manipulate and win.

Blend and dance.
  • And then, let go of need to be right.
  • Recognize the realness of the others emotions
    and position.
  • Seek to understand.
  • Balance tools of advocacy and inquiry.

Follow the yellow brick road or path of
understanding to our destination.
Change is needed if we are to reach our
destination-a place called Success where every
child learns to read..
  • Recognize reality
  • Visit courage
  • Listen to experience
  • Explore the competency-confidence connection
  • Take charge!!!!!

Recognize Reality
  • Fall out
  • Startling Statistics

We see, we feel, we change.People change what
they do less because we give them analysis that
shifts their thinking than because we show them a
truth that influences their feelings. John
Kotter and Dan Cohn-Heart of Change, 2002
  • Statistically, more American children suffer
    long term life harm from the process of learning
    to read than from parental abuse, accidents and
    all other childhood diseases and disorders
    combined. In purely economic terms, reading
    related difficulties cost our nation more than
    the war on terrorism, crime, and drugs combined.
  • Children of the Code
  • National Institute for Family Literacy

  • academic
  • social
  • emotional
  • economic
  • cognitive

Startling statistics
  • 38 of students with learning disabilities drop
    out of school-significantly more than students
    without learning disabilities.
  • Previously undetected learning disabilities have
    been found in 50 of juvenile delinquents. Once
    remedial services are provided, this population's
    recidivism rate drops to just 2.
  • Adults with learning disabilities earn an average
    of 36 less per hour than their peers without

  • 1 out of every 5-10 students has some degree of
  • 60-80 of students with an identified specific
    learning disability have that disability in the
    area of reading and language

National Institute of HealthChild Health and
Human Development
  • Can you think of some other truths that could
    prompt or support us as we attempt to find the
    courage to change??
  • Perhaps, our next stop will help us to better
    understand how we can deal with those flying

Visit Courage
  • How do you define?
  • Why do we need it?
  • Where can you find it?

  • An unfathomable ability to find the wherewithal
    to face and handle unbelievably difficult events
    and episodes in life.

Witness the experiences of.
  • the parent
  • the child
  • the teacher/therapist
  • the adult dyslexic
  • the diagnostician
  • the administrator

  • What emotions do school evoke for you?

Teaching and parentingtug at the heart,
open the heart and can even break the heart.
The more one loves teaching/parenting, the
more heartbreaking it can be. We find courage to
teach/parent by keeping our heart open in
those very moments when the heart is asked
to hold more.
No one ever said this would be easy!
Need a reason..
  • To learn to read is to light a fire every
    syllable that is spelled out is a spark.
  • Victor Hugo

Listen to experience
  • Connect and relate-the perspective of
  • the dyslexic
  • the parent
  • the educator

I am what I can make work. Erik
Eriksen.reading is a proxy for how
individuals perceive their
ing problems potent perpetrators of low
self-esteem. Reid Lyon NYIDA, 2004
Chris StoryPerseverance
A man of action not words
Too many cooks spoil the broad.
Deep within you is a song that plays softly -a
song you can hear only if youre very quiet, and
very still. Stop, take the time to listen to the
soul of your song. Then travel the road it leads
you to. Let its melody carry you over your
self-doubts and fears as you move forward. I,
like many people, listened to the negativity in
my head instead of connecting with the song
within my soul-I believed I was dumb because of
my inability to read-this is the shame that
governed my life and kept me locked in a small
  • We do ourselves a disservice when we think of
    human beings as exclusively logic or
    knowledge-driven and fail to pay attention to the
    role of emotion. Antonio Damasio

Building Blocks for Resiliency(Orville Dean)
  • Awareness of strengths
  • Positive relationships-the charismatic adult.

Life Success Attributes(Raskind et al, 2003)
  • Self-awareness
  • Proactivity
  • Perseverance
  • Goal-setting
  • Presence and use of effective support systems
  • Emotional coping strategies

  • The loss of the child they believed they had or
    the child they dreamed of having.

  • Mourning Denial
  • Fear
  • Guilt Bargaining Blame
  • Envy
  • Isolation Anger

Denial to Acceptance
Armed Services Officer
  • When I was in first grade, my poor mother would
  • when she saw the teacher standing with me in the
  • carpool line, my plump, white-knuckled fist full
    of the
  • red-inked casualties that were my handiwork.
  • I survived first grade. My performance in second
  • however, called for drastic measures.

Parent advocate
  • when are they going to understand they do this
    every day and I have only one chance to learn how
    to do it and get it right.

Chief Advocate
Relentless Questioner
Success Manager
Teachers are just like the kids..
  • Teaching is an act of courage and as such, it is
    an act of love.
  • Teachers beliefs about their effectiveness are
    directly linked to their own self-esteem and
    sense of competence.

True Confessions
  • I was dysteachic.

My story.
As a young teacher, I yearned for the day when
I would know my craft well, be so competent, so
experienced, so powerful that I could walk into
any classroom without feeling afraid-now know the
day will never come.
  • Fear of failure
  • Value status quo
  • Lack the knowledge necessary to implement
  • Inability to compare effectiveness
  • Lack of administrative support
  • Culture of the school

I survived it !!
We need the courage to start and continue what
we should do, and the courage to stop what we
shouldnt do. Richard Evans
Come on down the road.
  • Where else might we need to go to seek the
    wisdom of the wizard???

Explore the Competency-Confidence Connection
  • Dyslexia Defined
  • The Science of Reading
  • Informed Instructors and Learning Envirionments

Evolution of the TermdyslexiaDyslexia Samuel
T. Orton and His Legacy
  • 1877-Word Blindness- Dr.Kussmaul
  • 1887-Dyslexia-Professor Berlin
  • 1896-Congenital Word Blindness-Dr.
  • 1925-Strephosymbolia-Dr. S. Orton
  • 1928-Specific Reading Disability-Dr. S. Orton
  • 1937-Word Deafness-Drs. S. Orton and P. Dozier
  • 1955-Specific Language Disability-Anna Gillingham
  • 1968-Specific Developmental Dyslexia-World
    Federation of Neurology

Dr. Samuel T. Ortons contributions.
  • More widespread than recognized
  • Exists on a continuum
  • Differences in neurophysiology
  • Not product of poor teaching
  • Not properly treated can have lifelong
  • Requires explicit, systematic, intensive
    instruction about the structure of language

DyslexiaIDA Research Definition, 2002
  • Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that
    is neurological 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

deficit in the phonological component of
  • Phonological awareness.
  • a broad class of skills that involve attending
    to, thinking about, and intentionally
    manipulating the phonological aspects of
    language, especially the internal phonological
    structures of words.
  • Susan Brady Hollis Scarborough, 2003

..phonological component-the sound factory
  • A child has to develop the insight that spoken
    words can be pulled apart into phonemes and that
    letters in a word represent these sounds.
  • Oh, I get it-sounds make words!

Phonology/Orthography Connection-the code of
written language
  • Mapping of phonemes onto the letters that
    represent them

Learning of letter-sound associations used for
reading and spelling
  • Ginger Berninger, who directs the University of
    Washingtons Learning Disabilities Center, has
    stated that Most people think dyslexia is a
    reading disorder, but it is also a spelling and
    writing problem." She adds that children who
    can not spell can not express their ideas in

secondary consequences may include problems in
reading comprehension and reduced reading
  • attention to code is capacity draining-results
    in inability to attend to meaning that results in
  • less exposure to text, less practice that results
  • diminished capability in areas of vocabulary,
    syntactic structures and declarative knowledge
  • that influences verbal intelligence.
  • Cunningham Stanovich, 2002

Diagnosis and Remediation of Reading
Disabilities-Joshi, 2004
  • The use of discrepancy between reading
    comprehension and listening comprehension for the
    diagnosis and treatment of reading disabilities
    has strong theoretical backing.
  • Beyond grade three, the speed of word recognition
    becomes an important factor.
  • Spelling is a more rigorous test of decoding than
    non-word reading.

While the student with dyslexia may exhibit other
language-based difficulties, the essence of
dyslexia is an inability to decipher the code or
structure of the language resulting in
significant problems with accurate and automatic
word recognition skills essential to skilled
reading. Dyslexia is treatable. It is not
outgrown and persists over the lifetime. It
occurs across cultures and language and thus can
be described as a universal vulnerability.
  • Orton, like his colleagues, recognized that
    dyslexia may be neurologically based, but that
    the treatment must be educational.
  • Samuel Orton, Anna Gillingham, Bessie
    Stillman,June Orton andwere on to

A little history. Orton Gillingham Multisen
sory Structured Language
  • Samuel T. Orton
  • Anna Gillingham
  • Bessie Stillman

Romalda Spalding
Beth Slingerland
Tori Greene and Mary Lee Enfield
Aylett Cox
IMSLEC, AOGPE, ALTA and Independent MSL
  • Whether we enter the best of times is dependent
    on whether or not we use the gifts research has
    provided wisely or foolishly. Marzano, 2003

Critical Research Reviews..
  • National Research Council (1998)
  • National Reading Panel (2000)
  • RAND Report, Subgroup on Reading Comprehension
  • What else????

Research Based Building Blocks for Instruction
  • phonemic awareness
  • phonics
  • fluency
  • vocabulary
  • text comprehension
  • Put Reading First, The Research Building
  • Blocks for Teaching Children to Read, 2001

Instructional approaches
  • Certain instructional methods are more effective
    than others.
  • To teach reading well, teachers must use a
    combination of strategies, incorporated in a
    coherent plan with specific goals.
  • To become good readers, children must develop
    phonemic awareness, phonics skills, the ability
    to read fluently and accurately, and the ability
    to comprehend what is read.
  • Systematic and explicit instruction in phonemic
    awareness directly causes improvement in
    children's reading and spelling skills.

  • Guided repeated oral reading is important to
    developing reading fluency. Guided repeated oral
    reading helps students recognize new words and
    understand what they read.
  • Vocabulary should be taught both directly (apart
    from a narrative or text) and indirectly (as
    words are encountered in a text). Repetition and
    multiple exposures to words contribute to the
    understanding of word meaning.
  • Reading comprehension - understanding what is
    read is best supported when teachers use a
    variety of techniques and systematic strategies
    to assist in recall of information, question
    generation, and summarizing of information.

Abandon the band-aid approach
If a child is dyslexic early on in school, that
child will continue to experience reading
problems unless he is provided with
scientifically based proven intervention.Find
the courage to change!
Best practices.
early intervention
  • Ongoing assessment
  • Benchmark, screening, progress monitoring and
  • A tiered approach to intervention
  • -Core reading program
  • -Small group supplemental
  • -Intensive strategic 11 or small group

Most powerful instruction..Torgeson, 2005
  • More time
  • Smaller group
  • Targeted at right level
  • Clearer, more detailed explanations, more
    systematic instructional sequence
  • More extensive opportunity for guided practice
  • More opportunity for error correction and feedback

Fruits of these scientific labors can not be
realized however, unless teachers understand and
are prepared to implement them. Louisa
Good teaching matters! Good intentions are
not enough!
Recent studies and review of the literature
have shown that there is a consistently positive
relationship between teacher preparation and
student outcomes. Snow, Griffin Burns,
2005 Teaching matters and good teaching can
change the brain in a way that has potential to
benefit struggling readers. Sally Shaywitz,
What Education Schools Arent Teaching about
ReadingNational Council on Teacher Quality, 2006
  • Most education schools are not teaching the
    science of reading
  • Even courses claiming to provide a balanced
    approach ignore the science of reading
  • Characteristics such as national accreditation do
    not increase the likelihood.
  • Phonics is taught more frequently than any other
    component of reading suggesting that ideological
    resistance to the phonics camp does not really
    explain why the science is being ignored
  • Much of current reading instruction is
    incompatible with the science
  • Teacher educators portray the science as one
    approach that is no more valid than others
  • Many courses reflect low expectations with little
    evidence of college level work
  • The quality of almost all reading textbooks is
    poor. Their content includes little to no hard
    science, and in far too many cases, they are
    inaccurate and misleading
  • There is no agreement in the field about what
    constitutes seminal text.

Teachers can not teach what they do not
know. Nolan, Mc Cutcheon Berninger, 1990
  • Reading experts agree by consensus that if
    teachers are poorly calibrated and significantly
    overestimate their knowledge of important reading
    related information, they will not seek to
    acquire or be open to new constructs presented in
    professional development.
  • Cunningham, Perry, Stanovich and
    Stanovich, 2004

Informed instruction depends on.
  • Our knowledge of declarative and procedural
    knowledge-we can only teach what we know
  • Our metacognitive skills-know what we know, seek
    what we dont
  • So, how do we develop and nurture highly
    qualified educators?

Literacy is a secondary system, dependent on
language as the primary system so effective
teachers know a good deal about
language. Snow, Griffin Burns, 2005
  • Phonology
  • Morphology
  • Syntax
  • Semantics
  • Pragmatics
  • Orthography
  • Etymology
  • Metalinguistic Awareness

Water up and differentiate the curriculum!
  • How many phonemes in book?
  • What is the third speech sound in dodge?
  • How many syllables in talked?
  • Identify the closed syllable
  • quot lise teep
  • Why does the t double in admit when adding ing?
  • How many morphemes in destruction?
  • What is the origin of the word dyseidetic?

What about process?
  • However, in addition to being taught the
    knowledge and skills through workshops,
    institutes or courses, educators, much like our
    children, need multiple opportunities for
    practice, feedback, and application under a
    mentors guidance.

If, as a teacher, (Glickman, 2002)
  • I present the same lesson in the same manner that
    I have used in the past
  • I seek no feedback from my students
  • I do not analyze and evaluate work in a manner
    that changes my own emphasis, repertoire or
  • I do not visit or observe other adults
  • as they teach
  • I do not share the work of students with
    colleagues for feedback, suggestions and
  • I do not attend particular workshops or seminars
    and read professional literature on aspects of my

  • I do not welcome visitors with experience and
    expertise to observe and provide feedback on my
    classroom practice
  • I have no individualized professional development
    plan focused on classroom changes to improve
    student learning and finally,
  • I have no systematic evaluation of my teaching
    tied to individual, grade/department, and
    schoolwide goals,
  • THEN
  • I have absolutely no way to become better as a

Skill Development Ladder (Gordon)
  • Unconsciously Skilled/Talented
  • Consciously Skilled
  • Consciously Unskilled
  • Unconsciously Unskilled

Changes in Teacher Knowledge Across A Career
  • Declarative knowledge
  • Situated can do procedural knowledge
  • Expert adaptive knowledge
  • Reflective organized analyzed knowledge

What about teaching/learning environment?
  • culture that encourages risk-taking
  • fosters continuous growth
  • studies student results
  • provides opportunities for collegial exchange
  • believes that professional development is not a
    single event!

Science of Reading
In collegial cultures, principals
  • state expectations explicitly
  • model collegiality
  • reward those that who behave as colleagues
  • protect those who engage in collegial behavior
  • Roland Barth, 2005

Final thoughts..
  • Evidence from genetic influence does not deny
    the powerful influence that parents, teachers and
    therapists can have.
  • Richard Olson, 2004
  • We are all connected in chains of care, not
    only to friends and families but to others we
    can not see. Arlie Hochschild, 2002

Lets take a lesson fromLady Dyslexia (instead
of the wizard).
If something comes to life in others because of
you, then you have made an approach to
immortality. Norman Cousins
We know.
  • The world connects not by molecules. It
    connects through ideas, hopes, faces, dreams,
    actions, stories and memories.
  • Bonnie Sanford Grief

Finding the courage to change....
  • Recognized reality
  • Visited courage
  • Listened to experience
  • Explored the competency-confidence connection

Seize the moment and become equity champions!!!!!
  • Equity champions-individuals who regardless of
    their role (parent, educator) passionately lead
    and believe in the mission (success) regardless
    of the challenges!
  • Take action and change our thinking and practices
    based on knowledge!

SUCCESS-A place where every child can read!
Thank You!!!!