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Sunday, January 01, 2006


D Davidson

There are 2 Scottish-Rite regions in the US. While the Northern (your link) seems to focus heavily on Dyslexia, the Southern (serving USA's other 35 states) also has children's learning centers that have more varying missions. Or at least that's my impression after a couple days of browsing/researching.

This is a good link for the other states:

Meanwhile, I'm still *hours* from the nearest anyone that is Barton-certified, or Orton-Gillingham, or etc. etc. etc.

Thanks for the info you've collected, though. My wife has dysphonetic dyslexia and my 5-yr-old shows all the same symptoms, and separating the wheat from chaff to help our kids isn't easy when the most-visible websites seem to share 3 characteristics: Wanting to sell something, touting themselves unequivocally as THE ONE TRUE WAY, and negativity about the alternatives.


I find it weird that Dyslexia associations disagree with using Direct Instruction (DI) for children with learning issues. My son has autism. I consider it the mother of all learning disabilities - he has all the dyslexia issues (memory issues, etc) plus some extras (social issues, mind reading, etc). Although he might be considered somewhat "high functioning", he is certainly learning to read and do wonderful math using SRA's DI programs.

When I ask various Dyslexia people why they don't use DI, the answer is usually we use multisensory. When I ask for research studies, I have never gotten any direct response - such as a list of research or even a name of a research article.

DI should most definitely be an option for kids with dyslexia - plus those that are simply not learning to read using the standard "Whole Language" reading curriculum used in most public schools. I have found it wonderful for math, too. I use it at home to supplement public school teaching and I'm not a teacher - but am willing and EAGER to learn how to implement DI curriculum CORRECTLY.

mary connelly

my child has sensory processing disorder adhd dylexia tactile sensory depressed asburger speech language anxiety he has started a new private school i want the town t o pay for him to go thre and transportation i live in medfield [email protected]

Nancy Hansen Merbitz, Ph.D.

I most definitely agree with KH. I'm familiar with DI (through friends and colleagues; I'm not a reading teacher) and the success of DI for a wide variety of learners, including "typical" learners but certainly autistic learners as well. An additional methodology is Precision Teaching, which uses a variety of curricula, often DI, and from what I've seen gets even better, quicker progress going than does DI alone. PT focuses on frequent, brief sessions with several timed practices, many opportunities for data-gathering and feedback to the learner, and uses measurement as _part of_ the learning intervention by showing the learner his graphed data (or better yet, having him put the data points on). "Look, your corrects are going up, and your 'learning opportunities' are going down." "Ok, last time you read this far in one minute; let's see how far you can get in the next minute." If you look at the PT listserve (instructions found at, you will find some who sound like they have "the way" and many others who calmly say PT is simply a method for _finding out_ what works. Two PT mottos: "The child is always right." and "Show me the data!" The first one does not mean don't influence or instruct the child (quite the contrary) but that the child is showing you, through his/her response to your instruction, what works for him or her, or does not work. The second motto simply means let's not argue about ---, let's find out through exploration and data-gathering.
best regards,
Nancy Hansen Merbitz, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Nancy Hansen Merbitz, Ph.D.

I should add to the above: my clumsy examples of how one might talk with a learner during a practice session of course are simply examples that might or might not be the way to approach a particular learner. Precision Teachers use a variety of means of communication. I have seen one in her very first session with an autistic child of 4, with limited verbal expression, and she found very fluid ways of communicating, setting up expectations, accommodating to his preferences and using them to gain his interest in what she was asking him to do. It was an amazing thing to watch. Much of it was non-verbal. None of it was coercive. I saw her and others later, working with other kids with autism, and saw them get through sessions (sometimes 2-3 hours, with very frequent mini-breaks that were used skillfully as reinforcers), and never saw a "meltdown". I heard from my friend, who runs the PT learning center where I have observed, and she tells me occasionally they have to stop a session to prevent a tantrum in the making, but it's really rare, and they find ways to end it that don't feel like failure for either the child or the instructor (i.e. building a bridge to the next session).

Mira Halpert

The 3D Learner program was born out of frustration. NOBODY seemed to know how to help my children learn HOW to learn. The
more research I did on "dyslexia", the clearer it became that we were looking at my kids the wrong way. We have been taught that
in order to help kids, look at what is wrong and fix it. When you turn it around to look at what is RIGHT, it changes everything.
Our children have untapped resources that are going unnoticed and unused. When we uncover and unlock those resources, amazing
things will follow.

Our mission is to help visual-experiential learners to make dramatic progress in collaboration with parents and professionals. We have been in existence for nine years with many students making 2, 3, and even 4 years reading gains in a year.

We are equally happy that we improve the child's vision, attention, and self esteem.

To learn more about this program, go to


Some children with "Dyslexia" also suffer from CAPD/Auditory processing. (Problems hearing in background noise ie classrooms).

For some of these kids personal amplification ie FM system, Edulink or classroom soundfield systems help. If they can hear, they have more chance of learning sounds......then's not rocket science!

There are also computer programs....Earobics, FastforWord are two that come to mind. I believe these are all heavily researched.

If we know that children suffer from CAPD/processing problems why is it such a big leap to assume that the visual system cannot be affected in such a way?

A Mom

I found your site looking up the obituary for Justin Warfield, My parents know his parents, I grew up in his home town.

My son had ADHD and my husband really enjoyed a Susan Barton Seminar.

I really appreciated much of your information.

Thank you!

Kathy Rollheiser

Hello Liz
I really enjoyed poking around your blog- I am new to blogging and just discovered you! I agree with the methods and services you list above. I am a special education consultant in BC Canada. I use the Recipe for Reading program in my distributed learning work where parents are teaching their children at home- the recipe part is particularly helpful in these situations. I have used the LiPS program for many years with great results, but it takes months and is expensive in private settings. I am an affiliate of the Calgary Academy and we use Literacy Links- a program they developed that is based on the Orton Gillingham method, the Lindamood linguistic principles, and the latest research regarding intensity and duration. I have been consistently getting the same results with LL as I did with the LiPS program, but in half the time.
I'll put your link on my blog. Thanks!

Kathy Rollheiser
Special Education Consultant
Planet Literacy

Karen Lynn

Hi,my name is Karen, and I have Cerebral Palsy and a learning Disability. I was just reading through your blog and had to write. I was brought up in the 50ies when they knew very little about learning disabilities. I went throught 12 years of education not learning a thing. However, my own perserverance paid off. I was not only labled "mentally retarded" on 3 seperate occasions, but went on and won the first Civil Rights Case in 1979. I became an advocate, fitness instructor, motivational speaker, and author of "THE BROKEN HOOF." I also am dedicated to helping others and have put together my own website at:

I know first hand that we all need to work together to make a difference and impact to change other peoples lives. I am here if ANYONE needs to talk...

Lisa Hannum

Please don't confuse best practice for teaching reading to students with autism with the recommedation for a structured language approach for a student with dyslexia. Remember, at the core of dyslexia is poor phonological and orthographic processing. I'm not an expert in autism, but I have seen more students on the spectrum able to decode, but having more difficulty with comprehension. And I have a word of caution for the Barton System. It appears to have a sound foundation, but the idea that "any gradma' can do it" sends up a red flag with me. Error correction that encourages metacognition is crucial in a structured language approach. It takes extensive training in language structure to respond appropriately to the student who isn't responding "the way the workshop told me he or she would." Finally, DI is a good program for some. There is no one-size fits all intervention for reading. There are different reasons why students struggle with reading. They are not all dyslexic. A phonics-based approach is better than whole language, but DI does not meet the requirements of a structured language approach, it's merely phonics based. DI does not incude the stress on phoneme-grapheme mapping. But the posts are correct, it is of value for some. In the end, the best bang for your buck for a student with dyslexia is a structured language approach that includes a kinesthetic-tactile piece, which is the orthography - matching symbol to sound.

Disability Learning

I had never heard about this before. Thanks for the information, I really enjoyed reading this article.

Ben Johnson

Great article which i enjoyed vey much - thank you

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