Things to Consider When Seeking Remediation
Things to Consider When Seeking Remediation
by A. Roberts
As you seek out programs for your children, if you are seeking private remediation, or searching for programs where you intend to negotiate with your school district for support, there are a few things to bear in mind.
Caveat: Some of these might be a tad uncomfortable.
1. If your child has had years of remediation and nothing has worked, you do not have a correct or complete diagnosis, and / or the program isn't the right one, up to an including a combination of all of the above. Results should be relatively quick, meaning progress should be seen within 6 weeks. This doesn't mean a cure, it means progress. Depending on the severity of the child's dyslexia, additional SLDs and possible co-morbid concerns, progress may be slight, but still noticeable progress should exist.
2. Not every diagnostician, either school or private, has the right skill set to diagnose dyslexia, other SLD’s and other co-morbid conditions. If seeking a private evaluation, ask for the credentials, and then verify them, of the person you are considering. Ask questions, and verify them, on their experience evaluating each area of concern.
3. Remediation shouldn't be torture, and it shouldn't take MONTHS or even YEARS to see results. If it is, it's not the right remediation and again, you do not have a correct or complete diagnosis, and / or you are not working with the right program on interventionist.
4. What works for some won't work for everyone. Not two dyslexics are alike, just like no two individuals are alike. This shouldn't be disheartening. This is just life and the beautiful uniqueness of dyslexia.
5. Additional SLD's and co-morbidities may "complicate" remediation, so it is important to understand how everything "works" together to understand how to remediate. A good diagnostician who is properly trained in the SLD's and co-morbidities in question can guide you in choosing appropriate interventions. Additionally, a properly trained and skilled interventionist capable of being prescriptive in a 1:1 environment can respond to your child’s needs.
6. Additional SLD's and co-morbidities may not align to the design of what is fidelity for a given program and this is a key differentiator. While fidelity is critical, understand under what conditions fidelity was defined. If your child does not meet these pre-defined conditions, fidelity is a different concept altogether. More time and a slower pace may be necessary to make sufficient gains.
7. Genuinely do the research. Don't read a paper someone sends you with the claims attached and take it at face value. Genuinely read the research and the articles. Look at the CV's (resumes aka curriculum vitae) of the contributors. Know what their actual contributions were. Understand the order of names and what that order means. The first name is the actual researcher, the last name is usually just the office flunky who fetched coffee but did not actually contribute to the research. Most researchers will also discuss any questions you may have or have a means for answering questions. Just reach out to the main researcher, or the second name, but not the last, never the last, and ask your questions. You may find it deeply enlightening.
8. Watch for copyright violations. They can abound so know the source from where you're taking the research and make sure you're taking it from who holds the copyright. All other possible sources can be compromised.
9. Call to verify employment claims. Companies, universities, etc. will all verify associations, recommendations, etc. This is a tried and true hallmark of corporate America after all, otherwise anyone can claim anything.
10. Ask for the scope and sequence. If they don't hand it over, it's not a real program.
11. Ask for all of the data on your child, including all diagnostics used to monitor progress. If they aren't willing to hand it over, it's not a real program.
12. If anyone ever asks you to sign a non-disclosure agreement, run in the other direction. The results, both positive and negative, should be free for public consumption, and nothing should be a copyright violation to the extent that a NDA on your own child’s remediation should ever be required.
13. If you aren’t allowed to watch the intervention sessions for your own child(ren), run quickly. There should be nothing to hide.
14. Discounts by recruiting? Run the other way.
15. If someone has to gaslight you to get you to sign up, run the other way.
16. If it sounds too good to be true, just like you would ask for references to support, you also need to ask people who didn't do the program why they didn't.
17. It's a gift to be a genius word smith. I studied language for years and can recognize it anywhere. Words manipulate. Be careful of how convincing people seem. Watch for canned responses / speeches. The proof is in the real results, not the claims. And, if the results are real, they'll be publishing the results frequently in peer-reviewed journals, not just claiming results.
18. If it feels off, it's off. Trust your gut instincts.
19. If there's descension it's not because people want children to fail. Find out why people are taking a stand against it. You might be surprised. And, if people are afraid to share their descension publicly, ask why. Bullies exist; gaslighting happens; so do lawsuits. Maybe dissenters tread carefully for fear of retribution.
20. Understand the statistical analysis and which organizations back the programs. That will speak volumes.
21. Additionally understand ongoing third-party confirmation studies / verifications. If these don't exist or aren't happening, then why?
22. If the program slams the major organizations in the space, ask why. Ask questions and seek understanding outside of those speaking for the program.
23. Understand the scientific principles that make something "researched" or "evidence" based. There is a distinct difference. Understanding this difference is key.
24. NIH (National Institute of Health) funding is required to run what's called a Randomized Controlled Trial or RCT. Ensure who was given NIH funding for such trials, then dig into that research. It will reveal a lot.
25. Orton Gillingham is a theory. Structured Literacy is a practice. There are programs that adhere to the tenents of Structured Literacy. There are trainings that do not have programs, but teach all of the science behind how the brain learns to read. There’s a difference.
26. If hard questions are met with canned responses, run.
27. There is no cure for dyslexia, but high-quality remediation is not only possible it’s very achievable.
28. You cannot mix Balanced Literacy and Structured Literacy and hope to teach children to read. That’s never going to work.
29. Spelling must be taught explicitly.
30. Written expression must be taught explicitly.
31. There are a lot of con-artists in the dyslexia space profiting off of parent's fears. Know what the science says. Don't be afraid to ask questions. For dyslexia, the International Dyslexia Association is the greatest resource of what the science supports and what it doesn't. The best researchers in the space are all associated with IDA and many sit on it's board.
32. Comprehension cannot exist without fluency so don't ignore the importance of fluency. For the research on fluency please reference Dr. Jack Fletcher's work.
33. Written expression supports comprehension. Don't ignore the criticality of written expression.
In the end this is your child. Trust your instincts. Believe in the power of proper diagnostics and remediation. Fight tooth and nail for the proper supports. Never be silent. Find your circle, your people. Ask lots of questions, and keep asking. Never stop learning. Be the #DyslexiaRevolution.