Addressing the Challenges of Dyslexia


At this very moment, your brain is undertaking a challenging and complex feat: making sense out of symbols on a screen. We call this reading. To many, reading seems like a natural act or something we’re hard-wired to do. That’s simply untrue. As expert reading adults, we underestimate and misjudge how difficult it is to learn how to read. That’s because reading is one of the most complex skills the brain will ever take on.

The variation between how many students should be reading on grade level and how many students are reading on grade level has caused quite a national debate in education. New research shows that approximately 10 to 20 percent of the population has dyslexia. In fact, nearly 15 to 20 percent of the population as a whole show some symptoms of dyslexia, while every classroom is likely to have a student or two with dyslexia. Not all of these students will qualify for special education, but they are likely to struggle with learning to read. They are also likely to benefit from systematic, explicit instruction in reading, writing, and language.

Defining Dyslexia

So, what is dyslexia? Most people would define it as “making reversals” or “seeing things backwards.” These answers are actually the two greatest myths about this learning disability. Dyslexia is a useful descriptive term for a specific developmental disorder that adversely affects the ability to read and write. Dyslexia, which translates to “difficulty with language,” is a common problem that can affect people of all IQ levels and walks of life. According to the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia is defined as “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.”


Our two new courses explore different methods and approaches to addressing the challenges of dyslexia.

Orton-Gillingham Approach

The Dyslexia: Orton-Gillingham Approach course authored by Doria Sullivan, MEd is designed to provide a brief overview of the Orton-Gillingham Approach to reading instruction. The three key features of the Orton-Gillingham Approach are:

  • employing explicit phonics instruction
  • using a multisensory approach
  • following a systematic manner

This highly structured approach breaks reading and spelling down into smaller skills involving letters and sounds, and then builds on these skills over time. The approach also incorporates multisensory teaching strategies. This nearly 100-year-old approach is still the most prevalent and effective form of remediation for those with language processing disorders, such as dyslexia.

The course will:

  • review the origins of the Orton-Gillingham Approach
  • discuss the reading process and the language of reading
  • identify characteristics and principles
  • explore additional training and accreditation

The Davis®️ Method

The Dyslexia: The Davis®️ Method course authored by Cathy Dodge Smith, EdD is designed to introduce educators to the Davis®️ theory and methods of working with students who have dyslexia. The Davis® theory, developed by Ronald D. Davis, views dyslexia as a normal variation in how people think and learn – not as a disability. He sees dyslexia as a normal way of processing information that’s outside the parameters of the traditional educational system. The cornerstone of Davis® methods is the Davis Dyslexia Correction® program for children 8 years old and older. The program is always facilitated in a one-on-one private setting, generally with the facilitator working six hours a day with a student over the course of five consecutive days. All Davis® programs begin with three learning tools or strategies. They are:

  • orientation
  • release
  • energy dial

The course will

  • discuss dyslexia as a different way of processing information
  • review Davis®️ methods

In addition to our new dyslexia courses, we offer a Dyslexia Awareness course that introduces school staff to the condition of dyslexia and to methods of supporting students with dyslexia.

The course explores:

  • definitions of dyslexia
  • methods of supporting students with dyslexia
  • roles and responsibilities
  • dyslexia and learning styles
  • dyslexia and the future

Request a demo to learn more about our dyslexia courses and all of Exceptional Child’s special education-related professional development courses.

Tags: Dyslexia New Courses