Multi-sensory Language Therapy
In addition to visual processing problems, some patients also suffer from reading disabilities. In such instances the primary cause for reading problems may be a genetic type of dyslexia with visual problems only contributing to the overall difficulty. For these patients it is important to eliminate visual problems with vision therapy and then address the specific reading disability directly with written language therapy or special education.
At Christenson Vision Therapy Center, we offer help for those with dyslexia by providing an alternative approach. Recent research shows that those with such reading disabilities are most beneficially affected when exposed to a structured, sequential, multi-sensory, phonetic written language program.
Dyslexia Program Teaching (DPT)
The Dyslexia Program Teaching (DPT) materials are available during vision therapy for some patients and in some cases for continued learning for patients with dyslexia after the formal office therapy. A program for teachers and parents to help students grades K-9 overcome dyslexia. The DPT Kit includes: Halapin System materials for the "total body neurologically integrated" reading and spelling techniques, the program manual with lesson plans, word lists, therapy descriptions, DPT letter cards with language rules and "memory joggers" for learning irregular vowel combinations, as well as the Let's Read books and more.
How the Program was Developed
The Dyslexia Program Teaching method is a revolutionary, multi-sensory program for maximizing the written language ability of students with specific reading disability. This program incorporates the best of three proven approaches in the field of reading and learning problems. It is a structured, sequential, logical, multi-sensory, phonetic approach to written language instruction. This user-friendly program is so powerful because instructors are guided through the program via DVDs with teaching examples.
The Dyslexia Program Teaching (DPT) method utilizes concepts and techniques from three proven methods:
- Motor planning and laterality therapy to improve fundamental readiness skills such as attention and directional awareness
- Halapin Letter Dynamics for development of concrete written language principles through movement, vision, and audition
- Multi-sensory language therapy (such as Orton-Gillingham) using finger spelling and language knowledge for irregular phoneme patterns (which are so common in the English language.)
This program was developed by Dr. Garth N. Christenson, OD, M.S. Ed. as a consequence of his unique experience working with hundreds of people with dyslexia in both a clinical and educational setting. Dr. Christenson explains:
"While I was a faculty member at the Southern California College of Optometry I had the good fortune of working with Professor John Griffin, the primary author of the first formal direct test for dyslexia. As a result of that 5-year tenure I gained a keen understanding of the nature and diagnosis of the seven types of dyslexia. Then, after beginning a private practice in 1990 I became a consultant at the New Visions Charter School in Minneapolis. This affiliation allowed me to work hand in hand with educational specialists, therapists, and other allied professionals. I learned first hand about the multi-sensory language therapy approach (such as Orton Gillingham). After about four years of collaborating, observing and learning, I decided it was time to create a comprehensive therapy program that would incorporate the principles of building reading-readiness skills (via vision therapy) in combination with multi-sensory written language therapy. This took two years of development because I wanted it to be the type of program that a parent or teacher could learn in steps while immediately being able to do therapy with a child. That is why the program includes four 45-minute tutorial DVDs to provide the instructor with content and actual therapy demonstrations necessary to very quickly be able to implement therapy. This program also allows the instructor to teach to the students' strengths. Therefore, confidence and skills are built in concert with one another. That's why the DPT is such a powerful tool."
In using this method there is a great impact for learning. It is as if a language processing trigger is tripped and the student with dyslexia begins to unlock the mystery for reading and spelling.