Do you remember that one book that captured your imagination as a child? Or the one that challenged you to rethink everything? It was the story that made you hide under the covers with a flashlight, long after lights out, then scramble to see what else the author had written.
Sadly, for one in five kids, dyslexia can make reading difficult and unenjoyable. Dyslexia isn’t just about getting letters or numbers out of order. It’s a language-based learning disability that includes poor word reading, poor word decoding, slow oral reading fluency, and spelling difficulties. On the flip side, dyslexia has nothing to do with intelligence. Many highly accomplished individuals, such as Albert Einstein, are dyslexic.
Today, an estimated 20 percent of school-age children are thought to be dyslexic. The women of Multisensory Reading Center devote their days to helping these kids. Karen Bruton is one of them. Her awareness began with her own son. “I noticed he was having difficulty reading the simplest sentences,” she said. “This was a bright boy who was very verbal yet unable to read.”
It wasn’t until 4th grade that Karen’s son was identified as having dyslexic characteristics and began receiving intervention. Now, the boy who couldn’t read is completing his Master of Divinity degree and continuing to his Ph.D. How’s that for a success story?
The 17 clinicians at Multisensory Reading Center (MSRC) witness success stories like this every day. “Students come to us feeling defeated and having little confidence in their reading ability,” said Amanda Bush, another MSRC clinician.
“The biggest joy for us is seeing their self-esteem increase as the weeks go by.”
“Changes can be subtle at first,” Amanda said, “but by the end of our first month they begin to take pride in their reading and feel motivated by their improvements. After two months, students often say, ‘Ms. Amanda, reading is fun!’ They go from being broken down and deflated to feeling positive and full of possibilities, with a whole new outlook on school, their capabilities, and themselves.”
Multisensory Reading Center was founded in 2015 by Jen Parra. A long-time special education teacher, certified academic language therapist, and licensed dyslexia therapist, Jen established MSRC to offer dyslexia therapy and tutoring to anyone challenged by dyslexia across the country—and around the world. “One of the programs we use is Lexercise, an Orton-Gillingham-based structured literacy therapy program designed to be done in a teleconferencing format,” she said. “After our weekly session, students work through a practice plan for the rest of the week that provides the repetition and mastery work essential to their progress.” They also offer traditional dyslexia therapy using the Take Flight curriculum from TSRH (Texas Scottish Rite Hospital), as well as general tutoring.
“We walk with families through the process of learning how their child learns best,” Jen said.
“I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing with my life or another team of women I’d rather be doing it with.
For more information about Multisensory Reading Center click here.
By Meredith Knight Photo by Scott Peek Photography