Don’t wait for schools to help. You can guide your child to success!
My journey toward becoming a certified Orton-Gillingham practitioner began when my youngest son was diagnosed with dyslexia at the University of Iowa. He was later diagnosed with a handful of other learning struggles. As a homeschooling mom of many years and having taught my two older children to read, I knew there was something different about my youngest child. However, dyslexia wasn’t anywhere on my radar. I felt that maybe his delayed speech and poor articulation were affecting is ability to learn to read. Little did I know at that time, delayed speech and difficulties with articulation can be symptoms of dyslexia.
After reaching out to the local school district about remediation for my son, I quickly discovered that they weren’t equipped to offer appropriate scientifically-proven remediation for dyslexia. That is when I reached out to Dyslexia Reading Solutions for Children in Moline, Illinois, about an hour away from my home. We began his twice weekly tutoring journey there in September of 2015.
I was offered the opportunity to be trained to implement the Orton-Gilingham method in exchange for volunteering 60 hours of a supervised practicum back to the center. I began tutoring my own student while my son was meeting with his own tutor.
It wasn’t long before I discovered I had a passion for tutoring using the Orton-Gillingham method. I quickly saw a change in my student’s demeanor, countenance, and self-esteem as he began to grasp the concepts that allowed him to successfully decode and encode words and become a fluent reader and proficient speller. I was extremely encouraged by my own son’s slow progress toward learning to read. In January of 2016, I began an Orton-Gillingham certification program, a master’s level course, through Dyslexia Training Institute. After six months of course work and fourty-five hours of supervised practicum, I was certified as an Orton-Gillingham practitioner on April 19, 2018.
In May of 2017, my first student graduated at the center after approximately 107 hours of remediation, and my son graduated too. At that point, I decided to bring my newly found skills and passion back to my own area where services were nonexistent and started a private practice.
Helping Other Tutors and Parents
Recently, I have taken a leap into creating YouTube videos that offer a visual aspect to the concepts I teach my students. I also offers materials I’ve created on Teachers Pay Teachers. Along with creating materials and videos, I have developed a timing app, with the help of an app developer, so that my students get the best from each session and other tutors can offer their best to their students. The app is also useful to students who need a visual timer to help keep them on track with tasks they need to accomplish. I have a passion to help other tutors have easy to access materials to supplement what they are using and tools to make each tutoring session the best it can be.
Why I’m so Passionate
My passion stems from observing first-hand the struggles my son has endured on a daily basis with his range of learning challenges. I strive to incorporate the Orton-Gillingham approach with fidelity, ensuring a range of multisensory techniques using a systematic, structured, sequential, cumulative, cognitive, and flexible approach to mastery of each concept taught. I have the same goals with each program or curriculum I teach. I am willing to work closely with my tutoring students’ parents to empower them to help their children apply the concepts learned. I’ve learned many techniques for improving executive function skills, which have proved useful when working with students. I’m passionate about helping parents find adaptive technologies to bypass their child’s learning hang ups so that their educational careers aren’t hindered by their challenges.
Finding the Missing Piece
While spending hundreds of hours tutoring students with dyslexia, It began to feel like a piece to the puzzle was missing. Surprisingly, some students would hit an invisible wall and stop progressing. Their working memory, processing speed, and executive function skills all seemed to play a role in hindering their progress. Naturally, when I was introduced to Equipping Minds, I was ecstatic! Equipping Minds is a research-based, fun, interactive cognitive therapy program that builds and strengths working memory, processing speed, executive function skills, visual and spacial memory and processing, auditory processing, logic, reasoning, plus so much more to do with the brain. Knowing this could prove to be the missing piece to the puzzle, I dove into learning all I could. I became Level 1 and Level 2 Certified through Equipping Minds in 2021. In addition, I received official training from Learning Without Tears to teach Writing Without Tears print and cursive in a multi-sensory way in April 2019. I’ve also attended seminars on executive function to learn ways to help students overcome their struggles.
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