Dyslexia basics: What you need to know to provide effective treatment

Dyslexia is a relatively frequent condition and since public schools often do not manage dyslexic children very effectively, many parents are searching for help. This means that a private practitioner or an independent school that provides effective treatment for children with dyslexia can have a dramatic, positive impact in the lives of children but can also build a thriving business. 

What does a clinician need to know and be able to do in order to provide effective treatment for dyslexia and to use Lexercise as a complement to effective treatment? To begin with, of course, the clinician needs to be able to diagnose dyslexia and to differentiate it from other language-literacy disorders (or as they are referred to in public schools: "learning disabilities").

Since dyslexia is basically a disorder that affects word-level processing (vs. sentence level or discourse processing or comprehension), Lexercise uses a linguistically structured  (sometimes called an Orton-Gillingham) scope and sequence that begins with speech sound (phonological) processing. You don't have to be a SLP (or a linguist!) to use a  linguistically structured scope and sequence, but you do need a basic understanding of English word structure and to have experience with the direct instruction methods that have been shown to strengthen word level processing.

Here is a good book that provides some of this "preparation." (Section 1 is called Preparation):

Henry, M.K. (2003). Unlocking Literacy: Effective Decoding & Spelling Instruction. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

And here is good book that is a terrific overview of reading development, reading difficulties, and instruction for people with neurolinguistic disorders:

Birsh, J.R., Editor (2011). Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills, 3rd Edition. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

For a more detailed study of the language systems or processes that underpin language-literacy this book is hard to beat (and it's the one I use as a text book in my University of North Carolina at Greensboro on-line course, Fundamentals of Speech & Language Analysis: CSD 295) :

Moats, L.C. (2010) Speech-to-Print: Language Essentials for Teachers, 2nd Edition. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

Also see Dr. Moats' 1999 article in the American Federation of Teachers' Journal: Teaching Reading is Rocket Science: What Expert Teachers of Reading Should Know and Be Able to Do. ---   

This is a great book written for a general audience that reviews dyslexia, dyslexia research, and dyslexia treatments:
 Shaywitz, S. ( 2005) Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level. NY: Vintage Books.


Lexercise is a Web-based platform designed to improve treatment for dyslexia by:

1) encouraging clinicians to use research-backed treatment methods;
2) giving clinicians in-clinic tools that facilitate research-backed treatment;  
3) giving clinicians a way to provide their clients with motivating, intensive (daily) and clinician-customized, Web-based practice that complements their in-clinic treatment.


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