As a starting point, LKA references Senate Resolution 576, which says dyslexia is defined as an unexpected difficulty in reading for an individual who has the intelligence to be a much better reader; and (it is)most commonly due to a difficulty in phonological processing (the appreciation of the individual sounds of spoken language), which affects the ability of an individual to speak, read, spell, and often learn a second language; ….Whereas dyslexia is a paradox such that an individual may have-
Whereas great progress has been made in understanding dyslexia on a scientific level, including the epidemiology and cognitive and neurobiological bases of dyslexia; and
Whereas early diagnosis of dyslexia is critical for ensuring that individuals with dyslexia receive focused, evidence based intervention that leads to the promotion of self-awareness and self-empowerment and the provision of necessary accommodations so as to ensure school and life success.
LKA’s academic program recognizes that fMRI’s validate that it is the phonologic system in a dyslexic child that does not work like that of a non-dyslexic child. This area matches the alphabet to spoken word and when it doesn’t work well, there is difficulty with decoding- breaking the word down into its smallest parts.
We would emphasize that this is an isolated deficit. The part of the brain that is necessary for comprehension works fine, but the child must be able to read print at some level of ease to be able to then comprehend that text. (Also, this is why if the child is read to or watches a video the information is comprehensible to the child).
Therefore, LKA’s core belief is that the phonemic deficit is the deficit to remediate in children with dyslexia.
We screen children entering our school for Free using but not limited to the CTOPP, KBIT, TOWRE, and the DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency test.
The CTOPP is an untimed, age adjusted method of evaluating the phonemic deficit.
The KBIT is a Brief Intelligence Test which is used with extensive parent and child interviews and review of student records.
The TOWRE is a timed test looking at single word fluency of nonsense words and the DIBELS Oral Fluency test is also an age adjusted timed test.
Most of our children qualify for an IEP and the Woodcock Johnson test is given every 3 years which evaluates fluency and comprehension.
Our curriculum and instruction is specifically developed to address and monitor the phonemic deficit. Our goal is to reduce the phonemic deficit so the child can read connected text with understanding rather than struggling with decoding and not comprehending because of that struggle. Fluency is accurate reading at an acceptable rate with comprehension. This is not a time predictable accomplishment. It takes our dedicated and expert teachers, the students time, and student practice. All of our children get accommodations since the dyslexic system for reading is different and slower and they should always get extended time. But text to voice reading is not a substitute for teaching a child to read at grade level and our program is dedicated to teaching these children to read text fluently.
Kayla Reggio, who is our lead academic instructor, obtained her Masters of Education of Dyslexia Therapy from SMU and then went through the Language Therapy Graduate Specialization Program. She is 1 of 2 Qualified Instructors in Louisiana (the other is in Shreveport) who can train teachers to become C.A.L.T.’s. A CALT is a Master’s program solely dedicated to the teaching of the dyslexic child.
Our academic program is further supervised by 2 additional Certified Academic Language Therapists (CALT) and a 4th CALT serves as a consultant for our math program. Math can be a challenge for these children as the child may struggle with the inherent meaning of numbers similar to the alphabet.
LKA uses these extensively trained language therapists to deliver a program that is unique to the dyslexic child based on current science. Language and math are both delivered for 90 minutes per day in small groups so to best gauge the child’s proficiency in the curriculum.
In language, this is accomplished by 8 additional dyslexia reading specialists who work with the classroom teachers as well as working with the children in small groups. The dyslexia reading specialists all have their Masters Degree and extensive professional training as they work toward their CALT certification. Our math teachers have continuing professional development and coaching by Marilyn Zecher, who is a CALT that is stationed in Maryland and specializes in math education for the dyslexic child.
Our classroom teachers are all developing professionals in the field of dyslexia as they continue their professional development and use evidence based practices in the classroom and across the curriculum.
The core of the curriculum is based from a program taught by Neuhaus Education Center (IMSLEC accredited) in Houston, Tx. Basic Language Skills has been “re-designed” with the core fundamentals still intact for our clientele. Other evidence based curriculums designed for dyslexic students have been used such as Alphabetic Phonics, Wilson, Teaching Basic Writing Skills, and S.P.I.R.E to develop a balanced program that works to improve decoding, fluency, and comprehension.
Our writing program is based on 2 programs for children with dyslexia- one from Judith Hochman at Windward School in NY.
LKA’s academic program incorporates the definition of dyslexia above and uses the classroom to make sure that our children get all they need to become fluent readers and successful citizens. Our teachers understand what dyslexia is and how it presents in the classroom. Our approach is directed toward the “whole child”. The science shows that not only reading but writing, speaking, spelling and math can be affected in a child with dyslexia. These are not separate processes but manifestations of dyslexia and the difficulty with matching the spoken word to the alphabet. At LKA the student’s day is geared to having the child in language therapy daily and incorporating oral language (speech), written language (writing, spelling, and reading) all in an inclusive program delivered by teachers that are extensively trained in the education of the dyslexic child. Math is delivered in a fashion suitable for children with dyslexia and the instruction is guided by certified language therapists.
Kayla Reggio, Gayle Smith, Margaret Law, and Marilyn Zecher are all members of ALTA (Academic Language Therapy Associates) and LKA is working toward certification with IMSLEC (International Multisensory Structured Language Educational Council which should be completed in future.
Sally E. Shaywitz, M.D.
The Audrey G. Ratner Professor in Learning Development
Co-Director, Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity
Bennett A. Shaywitz, M.D.
The Charles and Helen Schwab Professor in Dyslexia and Learning Development
Co-Director, Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity