Another “Dys..” Dysgraphia is a problem with writing, often associated with dyslexia. See a nice video explaining it.
Great article about different ways in which people might struggle with mathematics.
What are dyslexia and dyscalculia, and how do they affect our lives?
Very briefly, they are both specific learning disabilities in which a person has a discrepancy between what they are achieving in a specific area and their overall intelligence. Generally their IQ in all other areas is average or above average. People with dyslexia are intelligent people who have trouble with language. People with dyscalculia are intelligent people who have trouble with numeracy and mathematics. In both cases, there generally seems to be a genetic link.
Dyslexia research has shown us specific areas of the brain that seem to be wired differently. People are now beginning to think of it more as a cognitive difference than a cognitive defect. People are born with a natural ability to speak and understand language. Reading and spelling, however, are not innate. Some people have brains that are just designed to process written language more efficiently. Some people call it “word blindness.” If you can imagine, throughout most of human history, written language was not necessary to live or thrive. People with dyslexia did not have a disadvantage, in fact, their strong visual-spatial skills may have put them at an advantage. It is our use of written language in society that has changed over time, making it more important to be able to read and write.
While there has been a lot of research on dyslexia, the research on dyscalculia is much more sparse. There is still a lot to learn here. Dyscalculia is sometimes called “math dyslexia,” or “number blindness.” People with dyscalculia have trouble with basic numeracy. Again, while people have an innate ability to understand larger or smaller quantities based on visual assessment, numbers themselves are an abstract concept, and the mathematics we do with numbers is even more abstract. These are skills that must be learned and are not innate. Some people have brains that are structured so that this is harder for them to learn. Again, this was not so important while trying to hunt large animals, so what is now perceived as a problem is a very recent phenomenon. People with dyscalculia can have trouble with math in different ways, but very often it is the abstract qualities of numbers that underlie the problem.
So, how do we help? In both cases, we must help develop new connections in the brain. In some ways, we have to think about how a child learns since this is how we first make those connections. Children learn by touching, tasting, smelling, seeing, feeling, hearing — using their senses. This is how we have to teach people with dyscalculia and dyslexia. We must use multi-sensory learning to retrain the brain. Then we can move to more abstract ways of thinking.
Multi-sensory learning is at the heart of what we do at DYScover learning.
I hope you will explore our website more to learn more about us!
The heart of any dyslexia instructional service is a program based on the Orton-GiIllingham method. Read more about the Orton Gillingham approach to literacy instruction here. At Dyscover Learning, the foundation of our literacy is the Orton-Gillingham based Barton Reading and Spelling System.
The Barton system is an Orton-Gillingham based program designed for one-on-one instruction. We teach students to listen to a single word or syllable and break it into individual phonemes (sounds). They also have to be able to take individual sounds and blend them into a word, change sounds, delete sounds, and compare sounds. Using blank tiles to represent phonemes keeps the initial focus on the sounds rather than the alphabetic letters.
Next, we introduce phoneme-grapheme correspondence with letter tiles and digraph tiles. A grapheme is an alphabetic letter or group of letters which represents a phoneme. So, basically, we are helping students match sounds with letters or letter combinations. With the understanding that a grapheme can represent more than one sound, we introduce the most common sounds of consonants and digraphs, and the short sounds of vowels at this point. Students then work on breaking real words and nonsense words apart, and putting them back together. These skills are the basis of reading and spelling. Students at this stage read and spell single syllable words which may contain digraphs (ch, sh, th, etc.) and consonant clusters (bl, cr, str, etc.).
The system progresses through learning the six basic syllable types of English. Although tiles are available if needed, students at this level generally begin using an iPad app to save time with shuffling tiles. (There are MANY more tiles than shown in this picture!) As they progress, students will know when a vowel may be long or short, or when it will turn to a schwa sound. Students with dyslexia must learn reading and spelling by rules and probabilities. Student will continue learning vowel digraphs, suffixes and prefixes and their impact on reading and spelling. They will also study morphology, the study of the forms of words). Latin and Greek roots and their influence on words and their meaning will help them generalize their learning.
Throughout the program, students are read and spell phrases and sentences, read stories, practice rhyming, develop fluency and comprehension, and learn some basic grammar. At each level, students practice with real words and nonsense words. The use of nonsense words forces student to apply the rules they are learning to without being able to rely on visual memory. In other words, they have never seen these words, so they MUST use the concepts they are using. We also have procedures for learning sight words (words which may not seem to follow standard rules). At every level, the things students are reading and spelling are comprised of ONLY words built with skills they have learned. This is because dyslexics are so often accustomed to guessing, that we want students to be able to use what they are learning to accurately spell and decode words.
There is so much more to this program than I can explain in a few paragraphs! In addition to the extensive Barton program, DYScover learning has added some quick and simple comprehension activities that have been designed to enhance the comprehension in the original program. Additional instruction in morphology is also added in, particularly to help students understand that sight words make more sense than they may seem to at first glance. Fluency practice will be added if students are deemed to need it. We have purchased short books that also are designed to accompany the system, as well as games that are great for extra practice.
Some additional options are also available if necessary. We have a multi-sensory grammar program available. Stories and novels are available for checkout that are about dyslexia or have main characters who are have dyslexia.
If you choose DYScover learning, we can’t guarantee a miracle, but we are confident that you will see tremendous growth in student reading, spelling and all-around literacy!