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Dyslexia and Accommodations/Interventions in a Montessori Classroom


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This is the first time I am posting here, but I have been reading these forums for a long time.

 

I am not a homeschooler, but I have been doing a lot of work with my son at home over the past few months.

 

DS (7) is in first grade and was recently diagnosed with dyslexia. He goes to a wonderful little montessori school that we just love. His reading teacher is getting OG trained over the summer just to work with the handful of dyslexic children at the school. I am also considering outside tutoring as I am in school myself and am overwhelmed by what it is taking to tutor DS afterschool right now.

 

His teacher (who he will have for 2 more years) is basically willing to do anything in the class that will help him out. I have read lots of things about accommodations for dyslexia, many of them are already being done in his classroom just by the fact it's montessori (no tests/grades, no time limit on work, teacher doesn't count things wrong that are written backwards or misspelled, etc.).

 

I am looking for anything else that we can do to support his learning in a montessori classroom. I have done tons of web searches but I can't find anything that is specific to montessori.

 

I was wondering if anyone here had any suggestions. I would like to work through the summer to come up with some kind of plan that she can implement in the Fall.

 

Thank you so much,

Michelle

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It is interesting for me to read this post. While I'd heard of Montessori, I didn't really know how it worked. After reading your description, I can honestly say, "This is how I homeschool!" And my daughter may be mildly dyslexic, definitely dysgraphic, and more than probably Aspie. So, I must say this is probably one of the best things for your kiddo. And as for you 'not homeschooling' I disagree with you. You're helping your kiddo alot at home. That counts!

 

Now to the tough questions:

 

*Why are you feeling overwhelmed? Do you think you're not capable of helping him? Do you think it should be 'someone else's job'? Do you feel like you can't get everything done?

 

*Based on what subjects present your ds the most challenge, and if you really think you're not up to helping him in said subjects, call the local high school. I know for a fact that the National Honor Society requires community service from its students, and tutoring counts! For them, it means fulfilling a requirement; for you it means FREE tutelage from a very bright student with the time to do it. Perhaps they could tutor your son while you sit nearby and work on your studies? Just a thought.

 

HTH!

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The important thing is that the teacher is willing to do whatever it takes - that's great!!

 

Part of the answer to your question depends on where your child is at the moment in terms of reading.

 

I noticed that in the special ed room at our montessori school there were a couple of boxes for Seeing Stars and Visualizing and Verbalizing (I was in there for an IEP meeting). Those would be programs that could help, but I think they're rather expensive.

 

As you probably already know, the montessori method was originally developed for special needs students - that's why the classroom already has some useful things for your ds. We've been extremely pleased thus far. And you already know that the particular teacher is flexible - that's HUGE.

 

My main piece of advice is to ensure that there's significant focus on your child's strengths as well as weaknesses. That can go a long way toward building up confidence. Make sure she takes him as far as he can go in the various subjects, especially any subjects that he loves (for example, my ds7 is a math lover who struggles with language). That's part of the beauty of the montessori classroom, the very individualized instruction.

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This is the first time I am posting here, but I have been reading these forums for a long time.

 

I am not a homeschooler, but I have been doing a lot of work with my son at home over the past few months.

 

DS (7) is in first grade and was recently diagnosed with dyslexia. He goes to a wonderful little montessori school that we just love. His reading teacher is getting OG trained over the summer just to work with the handful of dyslexic children at the school. I am also considering outside tutoring as I am in school myself and am overwhelmed by what it is taking to tutor DS afterschool right now.

 

His teacher (who he will have for 2 more years) is basically willing to do anything in the class that will help him out. I have read lots of things about accommodations for dyslexia, many of them are already being done in his classroom just by the fact it's montessori (no tests/grades, no time limit on work, teacher doesn't count things wrong that are written backwards or misspelled, etc.).

 

I am looking for anything else that we can do to support his learning in a montessori classroom. I have done tons of web searches but I can't find anything that is specific to montessori.

 

I was wondering if anyone here had any suggestions. I would like to work through the summer to come up with some kind of plan that she can implement in the Fall.

 

Thank you so much,

Michelle

As you already know, Montesorri is a multi-sensory learning method. In addition to the other things you mention, their multi-sensory approach (with things like sand paper letters, etc.) are appropriate for a child with dylexia. Plus your son's teacher is getting trained in Orton-Gillingham! Wow! This place sounds like a great place for a dyslexic child to learn reading! I don't know if outside tutoring would do better, (unless you found a highly trained dyslexia specialist with lots of experience.)

 

I understand you are worried for your child and want to continue something over the summer and be ready for the next school year. I suggest you consider looking into his phonemic awareness. Orton-Gillingham programs are multi sensory approaches to reading designed for children with dyslexia. They do work on and develop phonemic awareness, but some children need more work on that than others. Check to see if your son needs extra work on his phonemic awareness. The first level of Barton's Reading and Spelling might be something to consider as it works exclusively on sounds within words (rather than letters that represent the sounds.) Barton's is an O-G based program you can tutor at home, or your son's teacher or another tutor can do it too. Here's a student screen on their website. http://www.bartonreading.com/students_long.html#screen If your son can't pass a portion of the screening on the Barton's website, (I think the third section that my son couldn't pass?) you might look into Lindamood's LiPS program for him. http://www.ganderpublishing.com/LiPS/ LiPS might be another good program for your son's teacher to consider, especially if your son has more significant phonemic awareness problems.

 

Another thing you can do is make sure he knows the most common sounds of letters. Make sure you both say the sounds correctly--no extra "uhs" at the end. B says just a quick sound /b/ not buh. Lots of people, teachers included, sometimes add extra vowel sounds to consonant sounds that don't belong there. If his teacher does that, you can ask her to learn not to do that either. Introduce letters slowly, just a few at a time. That's in the second level of Barton's.

 

I hope that helps!

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Montessori first grade was an absolute disaster for my son with dyslexia. The child led aspect of the learning was impossible for him to deal with. The materials are supposedly designed to be self teaching/correcting but my son was unable to understand what he was supposed to be discovering. He desperately needed direct one on one instruction to be successful academically.

 

I would guess that a teacher who is willing to provide direct instruction for you son in his problem areas would be a huge help. The teachers in my son's Montessori classroom were unwilling to provide that type of instruction as it was counter to the Montessori philosophy of child led discovery.

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