After3 Tutoring at Fraser Academy is our after-school program, based on the proven Orton-Gillingham approach used with great success in our fulltime day school. Students receive one-to-one tutoring at least two times per week after school with a certified OG tutor. The goal of this program is to have students reading, writing and doing math at age-appropriate levels.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 is published by the American Psychiatric Association and contains descriptions, symptoms and other criteria for diagnosing mental disorders (which include learning disabilities). The criteria for diagnosis provides a common language among clinicians and professionals.
Dyscalculia is defined in the DSM-5 as “difficulties in production or comprehension of quantities, numerical symbols, or basic arithmetic operations that are not consistent with the person’s chronological age, educational opportunities, or intellectual abilities.”
Dysgraphia is defined in the DSM-5 as a “Disorder of Written Expression,” where “writing skills, as measured by individually administered standardized tests (or functional assessments of writing skills), are substantially below those expected given the person’s chronological age, measured intelligence, and age-appropriate education.”
Dysgraphia interferes with the communication of ideas in writing, and contributes to poor organization on the line and on the page. This difficulty is out of harmony with the person’s intelligence and regular teaching instruction. Dysgraphia often exists alongside language-based learning disabilities such as dyslexia.
Dyslexia is defined in the DSM-5 as “difficulties in accuracy or fluency of reading that are not consistent with the person’s chronological age, educational opportunities, or intellectual abilities.”
This language-based learning disability is the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties. Dyslexia actually refers to a group of symptoms, which results in people having difficulty with language skills (reading, writing, spelling and pronouncing words) in spite of normal or above-normal intelligence. It is referred to as a learning disability because dyslexia can make it very difficult for a student to succeed academically in the typical instructional environment.
Gifted/learning disabled students are “students of superior intellectual ability who exhibit a significant discrepancy between this potential and their level of performance in a particular academic area such as reading, maths, spelling or written expression. Their academic performance is substantially below what would be expected based on their general intellectual ability. As with other children exhibiting learning disabilities, this discrepancy is not due to the lack of educational opportunity in that academic area or other health impairment.” (Brody & Mills 1997)
An Individual Education Plan (IEP) describes program adaptations and/or modifications to be provided for a student with learning disabilities. It is reviewed regularly and updated at least annually. An IEP includes establishing learning outcomes that are different from, or in addition to, the expected learning outcomes set out in the BC provincial curriculum guide for a course, subject or grade.
A learning disability is defined in the DSM-5 as a “Learning Disorder,” or “a group of disorders characterized by difficulties in learning basic academic skills (currently or by history), that are not consistent with the person’s chronological age, educational opportunities, or intellectual abilities. Basic academic skills refer to accurate and fluent reading, writing, and arithmetic.
In other words, learning disabilities are problems with age-appropriate reading, spelling, writing and/or math.
The Orton-Gillingham approach is the most proven language-based method for teaching students with language-based learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, to read and write. The OG approach stresses the connection between written words and their spoken sounds.
A psychological-educational assessment evaluates the psychological aspects of learning and of academic skills. A psych-ed assessment is required for acceptance into Fraser Academy, and it can be administered by a licensed psychologist. Please call the school for a referral or for more information.
Psychological aspects of the assessment include:
- Language skills
- Verbal and visual learning
- Attention and concentration
- Hand-eye coordination
- Planning ability
- Response style: reflective vs. impulsive
Academic skills of the assessment include:
- Reading (phonetics, sight vocabulary, reading comprehension)
- Listening comprehension
- Oral expressive skills
Many families with children who have been diagnosed with a language-based learning disorder by a licensed psychologist have found that specialized education for people with designated learning disabilities has been accepted by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as a medical deduction. Please talk to your accountant or tax advisor regarding QMEs and health care trusts as they apply to your family’s personal situation (see Rannelli v MNR , 91 DTC 816).