The Orton-Gillingham Approach to Remediation for Children with Dyslexia
Dr. Samuel Torrey Orton and his colleagues began using multisensory techniques in the mid-1920's at the mobile mental health clinic he directed in Iowa. Orton was influenced by the kinesthetic method described by Grace Fernald and Helen Keller. He suggested that kinesthetic-tactile reinforcement of visual and auditory associations could correct the tendency of reversing letters and transposing the sequence of letters while reading and writing.
Anna Gillingham and Bessie Stillman based their original 1936 teaching manual for the "alphabetic method" on Dr. Orton's theories. They combined multisensory techniques with teaching the structure of written English, including the sounds (phonemes), meaning units (morphemes such as prefixes, suffixes, and roots) and common spelling rules. The phrase "Orton-Gillingham approach methodology" refers to the structured, sequential, multisensory techniques established by Dr. Orton and Ms. Gillingham and their colleagues.
Orton-Gillingham is an
instructional approach intended primarily for use with persons who have
difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing of the sort associated
with dyslexia. It is most properly understood and practiced as an
approach, not a method, program, system or technique. In the hands of a
well-trained and experienced instructor, it is a powerful tool of
exceptional breadth, depth, and flexibility.
The Orton-Gillingham Approach
always is focused upon the learning needs of the individual children.
Children with dyslexia need to master the same basic knowledge about
language and its relationship to our writing system as any who seek to
become competent readers and writers. However, because of their
dyslexia, they need more help than most people in sorting, recognizing,
and organizing the raw materials of language for thinking and use.
Language elements that non-dyslexic learners acquire easily must be
taught directly and systematically.