The International Dyslexia Association (previously the Orton Dyslexia Society) is the best source of information in regards to Dyslexia and related difficulties in learning to read and write.  The Learning Disabilities Association is an additional source of information.  

Wikipedia states that Dyslexia is a broad term defining a learning disability that impairs a person's fluency or comprehension accuracy in being able to read and which can manifest itself as a difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, processing speed, orthographic coding, auditory short term memory, language skills/verbal comprehension, and/or rapid naming.  

In 1994 The Orton Dyslexia Society accepted the definition of  Dyslexia as a neurologically-based, often familial disorder which interferes with the acquisition of and processing of language.  Varying in degrees of severity, it is manifested by difficulties with receptive and expressive language, including phonological processing, in reading, writing, spelling, handwriting, and sometimes in arithmetic.  Dyslexia is life long but responds successfully to timely and appropriate intervention.

Throughout history reading difficulties have been noted.  Our history  tells us that disorders of language and/or perceptual motor processes can interfere with learning the basic academic skills as well as the living/social skills.   Freud, in 1891, wrote that "understanding becomes impossible once reading itself has become difficult".   The object of reading is to get information from the printed material.  However, the individual first must be able to attend and to decode the graphic symbols easily and with some degree of automaticity in order to read.  The central issues of a learning disability are disorders of spoken and written language and perceptual-motor disorders.

There are specific approaches that have been identified for centuries as appropriate teaching methods for students who are Dyslexic or have related disorders.  These approaches must be a  multi sensory structured language education.  A multi sensory approach simultaneously appeals to as many cerebral centers as possible.  It is combining visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile teaching approaches.  It is best to use all sensory pathways to reinforce weak memory patterns and to strengthen one another.  


Multi sensory Structured Language Programs teach:

  1. Phonology and phonological awareness
  2. Sound-symbol association
  3. Syllable Instruction
  4. Morphology
  5. Syntax
  6. Semantics

How Multi sensory Structured Language Programs are taught:

1.  Simultaneous, Multi sensory (VAKT) – teaching is done using all learning pathways in the brain (Visual/auditory and Kinesthetic-tactile) simultaneously in order to enhance memory and learning.

2.  Systematic and cumulative:  Multi sensory language instruction requires that the organization of material follow the logical order of the language.  The sequence must start with the easiest and most basic element and progress methodically to more difficult material.  Each step much also be based on those already learned.  Concepts taught must be systematically reviewed to strengthen memory. 

3.  Direct Instruction:  the inferential learning of any concept cannot be taken for granted.  Multi sensory Language instruction requires the direct teaching of all concepts with continuous student-teacher interaction.

4.  Diagnostic Teaching:  the teacher must be adept at prescriptive or individualized teaching.  The teaching plan is based on careful and continuous assessment of the individual’s needs.  The content presented must be mastered to the degree of automaticity.

5.  Synthetic and Analytic Instruction:  Multi sensory, structured language programs include both synthetic and analytic instruction. Synthetic instruction presents the parts of the language and then teaches how the parts work together to form a whole.  Analytic instruction presents the whole and teaches how this can be broken down into its component parts.