Almost thirty years ago, I drove to Des Moines, IA, and met national Orton Dyslexia Society board members for my first regional conference on dyslexia. Last week my daughter made her first presentation on the subject of dyslexia—her personal journey and methods that work.
That January 1990, weekend conference began a journey that continues to affect my daily life. Although the initial purpose was to find out how best to meet the needs of dyslexic cadets at a military academy, I discovered the reality of living with dyslexia and parenting a dyslexic.
Today, many years later, I want to thank C. Wilson Anderson and Joan Stoner for all they did to train me in the Orton-Gillingham multi-sensory methods of language development. I have used it continually, even after retiring from teaching in an alternative program.
Now, my daughter uses it continually, too. Missouri has just acknowledged the necessity of screening for dyslexia, and the developing problem is how best to teach those students. I fail to understand why it has to be so complicated.
My daughter’s presentation told not only her story of early diagnosis and interventions even before kindergarten, built up to a testimony of what works. She succeeded in school, earned a teaching degree in early childhood, and also finished a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.
Teaching dyslexics is exciting and challenging. All students, whether identified or not, can benefit from the OG methods, especially when coupled with some of the educational theories such as differentiated learning, multiple intelligences, multi-sensory, and multi-layered curriculum.
My own experience was enhanced by the work I did with the Orton Dyslexia Society, now International Dyslexia Associate, and the tutelage of C. Wilson Anderson and Joan Stoner—not to mention the many specialists who presented and joined in conversation at the national conferences.
I may be retired from the classroom, but my passion for dyslexia is not. Now I am fortunate to see my daughter drive forward doing all that she can for the students in her classroom whether they are identified or not.
Thank you for the guidance you provided, and know that it continues forward today.