Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Orton-Gillingham Approach For Dyslexic Children At Altuz Academy

Dr. Choy Su-Ling, the founder of Altuz Academy and me

Dyslexia comes from the Greek language, 'Dys' means difficulty while 'Lexia' means written words. So dyslexia is a word describing some people who find it hard to learn to read and write even though their intelligence level is normal. I am a mommy of 2 children and unfortunately both of them have dyslexia. This is genetic as my husband is a dyslexic too. Children with dyslexia have difficulty in spelling, learning to read or interpret words, letters and symbols. Dyslexics usually get confused with b and d, p and q, o and c. Sometimes they write letters or numbers exactly like how you see them in the mirror. Some see the number 28 but write down on paper as 82 or see the word 'was' but write it as 'saw'.

I know some dyslexics are very bright. Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Walt Disney, Whoopi Goldberg, Lee Kuan Yew, Steven Spielberg, Leonardo Da Vinci, Steve Jobs and Cher are some examples of famous dyslexics. Some of these dyslexics are very smart because they can think out of the box and their brains are different from normal people.

Here's a short video from Youtube about dyslexia.

The lack of expert instruction and proper intervention to rectify the reading problems of dyslexic children before they fall behind in traditional schooling can lead to irreparable harm, low self-esteem and a widening gap that becomes increasingly difficult to close. This has negative societal implications and it is a crucial responsibility of parents to ensure that their dyslexic children are able to read proficiently to ensure their quality of life. 

I have been searching for right methods to teach my children since I found out that they have dyslexia a few years back. I have bought books especially for dyslexics to work on but their progress is still very slow. Recently, my friend told me about the open day at Altuz Academy to learn about the Orton-Gillingham approach and I went there to find out more.

The Orton-Gillingham Approach, the highly structured evidence-based approach to teaching reading and recognized by the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), is now available in Malaysia with the opening of Altuz Academy, a premier education centre for dyslexia intervention. 

All Academic Language Therapists at the academy receive the vigorous training and supervised practicum accredited by the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators (AOGPE) and IDA. 

“It is critically important that remedial specialists, educators and teachers working with dyslexic students be vetted, highly trained in an evidence-based approach with oversight and accountability. Literacy training should be comprehensive, accredited by an international organization and include a supervised practicum period. There should also be ongoing professional development for the sake of the children whom they work with,” said founder of Altuz Academy, Dr Choy Su-Ling. 

The Orton-Gillingham approach was developed in the 1920s by Dr Samuel Orton, a doctor who first discovered dyslexia, together with Anna Gillingham, a gifted teacher and psychologist. This approach has been further supported by over 100,000 scientific studies over 70 years that conclusively showed that a reading approach should include five important pillars: phonemic awareness, systematic phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.

In the hands of a skilled instructor, this is a powerful instructional approach that benefits students of all ages and abilities so that learning becomes a rewarding experience. The key features of this approach are multisensory, sequential, incremental, cumulative, individualized, based on phonograms and explicit.

Sample of assessment test result of a child

Dr Choy, together with centre manager Yap Jo Ling, created history in the international dyslexia community by being the first two AOGPE-trained academic language therapists from Malaysia. They will continue to be observed and audited by the AOGPE to meet and maintain the high standards of teaching. 

For all parents who have children with dyslexia, you can find out more about Orton-Gillingham approach at Altuz Academy. Do check out their FACEBOOK page and get help for your children.

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