Tools for the SLP


Most people with dyslexia need to break words into parts to fully understand them. For example, the word “fantastic” needs to be broken down into fan-tas-tic in order for people with dyslexia to read it.

  • Given this knowledge, it might be beneficial for an SLP to teach small words, or parts of words first. Perhaps and SLP could start by focusing on common words that fit into other words (i.e., fan, sit, etc), so when a person with dyslexia is trying to spell they can remember small words or clusters of words within bigger words, than trying to spell a new word every time.

  • This TEDEd video provides more information on word breakdown for children with dyslexia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zafiGBrFkRM

  • Research suggests to start simple and work more complex phonetically (Culbertson, 2012). This is beneficial for decoding, since children with dyslexia take longer to encode while reading. The SLP could start with two sound combinations (vowel-consonant, then two consonants together, then vowel-consonant-vowel)

The SLP’s job is to fill in the gaps of whatever the child is missing regarding language.

  • Important to closely work with the school if you are not an SLP in the school system in order to keep treatment relevant for the client

  • Important to work with the classroom teacher if you are an SLP in the school system

    • Make sure the therapy you are providing will help the child succeed in the classroom- collaboration is KEY

  • Therapy will be mostly individualized since dyslexia is on a continuum

  • Intervention with spoken language (speaking and listening) can also be designed to support the development of written language.

    • Example: talking through the writing process if targeting writing

      • It is important to establish a relationship between the spoken and written forms of language

  • Articulation therapy has also thought to be helpful for those students who have not made a connection between sounds and their written representation

What is dyslexia? - Kelli Sandman-Hurley

Specific Therapy Approaches:

Orton-Gillingham Multisensory Approach- pioneered by Anna Gillingham

This video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZgS8Ij1Ltg) below demonstrates how to use this Multisensory Approach in therapy.

Introduce letters by hearing, seeing and feeling. If all of the sensory pathways are integrated, language learning will be facilitated much easier (International Dyslexia Association, 1998).

Involves direct instruction in the sounds of letters, how the sounds are made in the oral structures and how letters are written.

Progress is then made by going from more simple to complex tasks, building in reinforcement to proceed as quickly as possible, but also going slowly enough so the child can master the elements

Treatment Efficacy Summary (ASHA, 2015): http://www.asha.org/uploadedFiles/public/TESChildLanguageDisorders.pdf

  • This article explains the role of the SLP

  • Describes that treatment for dyslexia is effective

Collaborative Service Delivery (Committee on Language Learning Disorders, 1990):


  • Instead of pulling the child out of the classroom in a school setting, the SLP is the lead on a transdiciplinary educational team

  • This model targets the strategies used in individual therapy and applies them to the classroom context

  • Incorporates the data collection and analysis of many professionals to provide the best treatment possible for the student

The Hardman Technique:


  • Developed specifically for dyslexia clients
  • Includes a multisensorial curriculum (reading, grammar, math and study skills)
  • Involves direct instruction, which is systematic and cumulative
Susan Nolan teaching an Orton Gillingham lesson with a dyslexic child