What is dyslexia?
The term dyslexia comes from Greek words dys (trouble with) and lex (having to do with words). It refers to a cluster of symptoms resulting in difficulties with all or some language skills – reading, spelling, writing, and speaking. Dyslexia affects people throughout their lives because it is caused by a difference in brain structure that is present at birth and is often hereditary. Studies show that individuals with dyslexia process information in a different area of the brain than do non-dyslexics. It is not caused by a lack of intelligence or desire to learn. Most dyslexics are of average or above average intelligence. Dyslexia is considered a learning disability because it interferes significantly with school performance. There are different degrees of life impact and this can vary depending on a person’s situation and stage of life. With appropiate teaching, dyslexics can learn language skills successfully. Current brain studies (functional MRI’s) show that such teaching can alter brain functioning and create new neural pathways while improving language skills.
What is an educational therapist?
An educational therapist (sometimes called an academic therapist or academic language therapist) is a specialist specifically trained to work with students with dyslexia and other learning differences. They have completed extensive accredited training in multisensory structured language teaching. They are trained in the structure of the English language and how to teach that structure in a multisensory manner. They are trained to remediate problems in reading, spelling, and writing. Not all students need academic therapy; some just need tutoring for help in a particular subject. *
Must students be tested before you will work with them?
Generally students are referred to me already having been evaluated by a school or educational psychologist, or clinic. In the case of very young children or adults who may not have been tested, I have screening instruments, the results of which may provide the basis for educational therapy or may indicate the need for more extensive testing.
How long should I or my student expect to need services?
This is completely an individual matter and cannot be determined at onset. I see some students for several months (maybe the summer only) and others for several years depending on the need and availability.
How often and how long are sessions?
I usually meet with students a minimum of two times per week for fifty minute sessions. Sometimes three or more are desirable given the time available and the nature and severity of the problem.
Where and when do sessions take place?
Currently sessions take place online on days and times that are mutually desirable.
What are the fees involved and how is payment made?
Hourly fees are comparable to other professional services like speech therapy or counseling. Please contact me for current rates for screenings, tutoring, and consultations. Monthly invoices are sent via email from Intuit Quickbooks. Payments are made in advance of service either online from a link in the invoice or by check at time of service.
Is there an agreement to be signed?
Yes. I ask parents (or adult students) to sign an agreement for services to indicate that they have read and understand my policy sheet which covers topics such as attendance and scheduling matters and that they agree to meet at certain days and times.
Am I required to sign up for a set number of sessions?
No. Students can stop at any time; however, I recommend that new students commit to at least five sessions at first so that there is time to develop rapport and get used to the lesson format. Usually after this time, both the student and I will know if it will be a good match.
What is the attendance and cancellation policy?
Students may cancel with twenty-four hours notice without any charge. However, missed appointments (except for illness) without twenty-four hour notice will be counted as a regular session. A pattern of absences may be grounds for termination of service. If a student misses more than three sessions in sequence, for whatever reason, their time slot may be given to another student.
Can I stop sessions for the summer and continue in the fall?
Once a student stops sessions at a particular day and time, there is no guarantee that they will be able to resume. Every attempt will be made to accommodate returning students but access to services is always subject to availability.
How will I know how the lessons are going?
The best way is to ask and observe your student. How is his/her attitude before and after sessions? Can you observe improvements in skills or in strategies? What does your student say about the value of the sessions? In addition, parents can call me anytime for an update as to the progress of their student. I also recommend that parents look over their student’s materials, and compare the scores from standardized testing done by the schools.
*Taken from the Fact Sheet “How to Find and Select an Academic Therapist”, from The International Dyslexia Association website at www.interdys.org.