Orton-Gillingham Tutoring (Diane Talbot)
Reading and Spelling instruction using phonemic awareness, phonics, decoding, word study, reading fluency and comprehension instruction for struggling students, students with dyslexia or specific learning disabilities in reading or writing K-12. Instruction is based in Orton-Gillingham methods, which includes systematic, explicit, direct, simultaneously multisensory instruction driven by assessment and individual student needs. Handwriting, spelling, and written expression are an integral part of literacy instruction. I am an Associate-in-Training for the Academy of Orton Gillingham Practitioners and Teachers (AOGPE.) I have completed all coursework and am currently doing a supervised practicum that I aim to complete by the end of 2015. I am also experienced with using the Barton System for Reading and Spelling, LiPS by Lindamood-Bell, and have coursework and experience with the Wilson Program.
Orton-Gillingham tutoring is not a quick fix, and requires a commitment to tutoring at least two times per week for 18-36 months, even during summers. However, it is the only method that the International Dyslexia Association endorses for Dyslexia intervention.
Dyslexia Consulting and Screening (Diane Talbot)
I use a battery of assessments to screen for dyslexia and can either consult after reviewing educational records or do a full evaluation including a detailed written report, in order to determine if your child fits the profile of dyslexia and the severity of the difficulites. This will help us determine the best course of instruction for your student. I also assess students for current academic level and academic needs, so that any gaps can easily be filled in. Assessment always drives my instruction. In 2015, I completed the Barton Dyslexia Screening course. I can help you understand the public school system for special education, 504 plans, or give advice on your child’s special education IEP needs. I am also available for professional development and public speaking to parent groups. I am supportive of the homeschool community.
Mathematics Tutoring (John Barnes)
Diane and I do a two-session diagnosis to identify where your child is in mathematics and where the difficulties may be. Normally Diane administers standard diagnostics in the first one-hour session; she recently completed the requirements for Math Interventionist Certificate, awarded by Adams State University in conjunction with Colorado Council for Learning Disabilities. This gives us a clear picture of what the standard educational view of the child’s problems or deficiencies would be. Meanwhile, I take notes on what the child does when confronted with a problem, and any patterns in the wrong answers or in the delays coming up with the right ones. Those patterns are often more revealing than whether or not they can find the right answer.
Then in a second one-on-one hour I examine the student’s conceptual system and tactics for problem solving, to locate the precise source of the problem unique to this particular child. Young children often start off on the wrong foot, doing math by following patterns or using simplifications that don’t work later on, and later learn to conceal those problems from parents and teachers. The wall a kid hits in long division may have its origin in misconceptions about the “times table,” for example. Other kids may need practice and training in using their different memory abilities, learning styles, or ways of structuring information effectively.
After the diagnosis, I’ll propose a plan for meeting your particular goals for your student (for example, catching up to grade level, getting “unstuck” from a particular wall, building fluency at rapid calculation, enriching current studies to prepare for more rigorous honors programs at school, filling in background gaps that hold the student back from more advanced subjects, etc.)
Once we have a goal and a plan, I meet your student once or twice a week for an hour at a time to apply Singapore Math (and some other mathematical and memory techniques) to working toward that goal. Most times the last five minutes or so will be spent reviewing current progress and assignments for your student; yes, there’s usually some homework (although sometimes the homework may be games, songs, or various other kinds of practice that some kids think are fun). I constantly assess how far we are from the goal, whether we’re moving toward it, and whether it’s time for the next step.
Once your child’s goals are met, I offer short-notice coaching whenever rough spots come up; I ask to see the math assignments where your student began to struggle at least twenty-four hours before meeting your student for an hour. Often an hour of coaching is all that’s required to put a student back on track; if problems are more substantial, I may propose new goals and plans as needed. Some kids who have never had regular sessions can benefit from this as well but in general it’s easier and more productive to work with kids who have been through the diagnostic, so that I can concentrate on the immediate problem with a clear idea of what the student’s difficulty may be.
I believe math tutoring should be temporary and intensive, building the student’s ability to study and learn mathematics independently. I am not interested in hand-holding your student through mathematics indefinitely, or in doing your child’s homework. My ideal student is someone who is in a patch of great difficulty and frustration—one who has hit the wall. From the beginning of diagnosis, the goal is to help the student go over or through that wall as quickly as we can, and keep going confidently afterward; whatever the particular student’s mathematical goals are, the overall goals are always:
IEP or 504 Advice (Diane Talbot)
Reading an IEP (Individual Education Plan) or a 504 plan can be a daunting experience for parents and understanding the process of navigating the Special Education evaluation or re-evaluation process can be overwhelming. An outside, experienced explanation and opinion from an experienced special educator can save you time and frustration. Knowing what to ask for regarding accommodations, instruction and goals can make you a more effective and informed part of your child’s IEP team.