I’ve spent a lot of time over the last week thinking about The Morris Center and the impact it has had on so many. So many, yet not nearly enough. It’s tragic when you think about it really. Dyslexia affects 1 in 5 people. Older generations of people may not even be aware that they have it. They’ve probably always just thought, “school was hard for me.” Thankfully, with time and with science, we have a better understanding of how the brain works and how to recognize inefficiencies, then provide intervention for those learning challenges. For dyslexia, there are countless intervention programs available. State education departments and school districts are inundated with different programs claiming to be the best way to help kids with learning disabilities. So how do they decide on one? How do they choose one program over another? I know that education is always evolving and new teaching strategies are important. But, which one truly is the best?
When my kids were first diagnosed, I was overwhelmed. I didn’t have an education background so I was clueless about what my next step needed to be. I was at the mercy of our school district (which I love and must say is one of the very best in the state). They went above and beyond to provide services and the latest programs for our children. They did the very best they could with the resources they had available. I won’t lie and say these programs haven’t helped my kids. They have. But, there was still something missing. What was it? My kids were learning strategies and memorizing rules left and right. But were they able to retain and apply what they were learning? Was it making school easier for them? And once done with the program, are they done for good or is this just going to be an on-going thing? Will they start a new one when they are finished with this one? And why are some kids doing one program and others doing another? How do I know my children are in the best program for them? Sooo many questions and it all left me a bit unsettled. My focus started to shift from hoping this was helping school not be such a struggle to making sure their 504s listed every possible accommodation they may someday need. I was resigned to the fact that they would always struggle and they would always have to work harder than the majority of their peers. Life just isn’t fair sometimes.
My sister taught special education for 12 years and actually completed 2 years of an Orton-Gillingham program. It was multi-sensory and supposed to be fantastic. I never thought much about such programs until after it was a reality for my own children. Now you have my attention…. With a family FULL of educators I’ve learned that the education system seems to have cycles. Teaching methods, learning approaches, tools, techniques…….they have all evolved through the years. We hear things like this: They say the best way to teach phonics now is…. the best way to approach language is…. kids learn spelling most effectively through…..etc, etc. Take math for example. The way math was taught when I was a kid is certainly NOT how it’s taught today (just ask my kids! They pretty much excused me from helping them with their homework. Thanks, but no thanks). Some of the new methods are just that….new. Others however, seem to have cycled back into use. It’s all a bit confusing for this mom. I mean, who are “they?” Who decides this? Specifically with reading programs, who came up with the program? How can they claim their method works best? Isn’t that an opinion? Is there scientific data that shows their specific program is in fact, the best? And if so, why are there still so many options? And the BIG question….will these programs help my kids reach their full potential? So many questions. The more I tried to understand our options, the more uncertain I became about the programs my children were immersed in. It felt like the lottery. It may or may not work. Needless to say, my mama heart was not feeling very reassured.
And then I heard about The Morris Center. I listened to my friends talk about the program and checked out the website. My initial reaction? Too good to be true. No way. But then I read an article written by Dr. Tim Conway that made me second-guess all I thought I knew about dyslexia intervention. The article had my attention when I read this:
“THIS is the SUPERPOWER of Dyslexia, as it is the SUPERPOWER of the human brain for all learning.
IF schools are required to use ONLY well-researched, highly-effective and scientifically proven methods instead of lining the pockets of publishers,
- NOTE: publishers of curriculum have made hundred of millions of dollars in profit from selling our schools the same methods of instruction for reading that have the same ineffective, unproven, poorly researched and limited effectiveness, but a new packaging and new labels/vocabularly, for more than the past 20 years,
then from these new, well-researched, and scientifically proven new experiences we can expect NEW outcomes. Presently, the US educational system has shown little to NO improvement in the success of teaching reading, despite decades of discoveries in science about how the brain typically learns to read, what are the most likely causal factors for leading to dyslexia/poor reading skills (poor phonological awareness), and how some methods are highly-effective at preventing reading difficulties with evidence-based early intervention at age FIVE years old – YES, in Kindergarten we can already work to prevent the emergence of poor reading skills.” Read full article here: “What is Dyslexias Real Superpower”
Could the education system really be missing the boat? Stay tuned for my next post that explains what The Morris Center actually is and why I think it’s really “THE BEST” program for dyslexia…..