00:02:48 The text discusses the challenges of large class sizes in schools and the impact on providing individualized instruction for struggling students.
00:07:19 Many tests available for young kids, but schools push to delay. Risk of lost time if serious issues arise.
00:08:21 Dyslexia causes frustration, anxiety, spelling difficulties, and reading fatigue. It impacts memory, sequencing, and comprehension. Dyslexic individuals may struggle with spelling and reading endurance, leading to difficulties in school and beyond.
00:11:32 Dyslexia is a decoding and fluency deficit, affecting reading but not comprehension.
00:17:34 Gordon Gillingham teaches skills in a structured manner using multi-sensory techniques.
00:22:13 Use one skill at a time, don’t overcomplicate. Choose a good program, focus on child’s progress, supplement with resources if needed. Be adaptable and unafraid to make changes.
00:23:25 Summary: The text suggests great tips for troubleshooting and highlights the importance of proper implementation and repetition. It also asks for any additional thoughts or important information for parents.

Janice Lloyd is an experienced teacher trainer, private school administrator, and small group instructor at The Highlands School in Bel Air, Maryland. She has extensive experience with Orton-Gillingham methodologies, structured literacy, and learning differences such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia and ADHD/executive function weaknesses. 

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The Highlands School educates students with learning differences and achievement gaps. We instill hope and confidence in our students by fostering a positive and nurturing environment. We focus on teaching our students methods to help them realize their strengths, overcome frustrations, and achieve academic and social success.

Podcast Transcript

Lisa Lightner [00:00:00]:

1, and welcome back to another episode of the Don’t IEP alone podcast. glad to be back with you all after my little pandemic hiatus. with me today is Janice Lloyd. She is a teacher and school administrator. at the Highlands School in Bell Air, Maryland, which is not far from me. That is down in Howard County, Maryland. For those of you from the East Coast,

Janice Lloyd [00:00:24]:

or freaking.

Lisa Lightner [00:00:25]:

Oh, is it? Oh, it is. I’m sorry. See, I thought it was Howard. My mistake.

Janice Lloyd [00:00:28]:


Lisa Lightner [00:00:29]:

So, anyway, after that mistake, why don’t you I’ll I’ll let you tell us the rest about yourself then so I don’t mess it up. Okay.

Janice Lloyd [00:00:36]:

Sorry about that. Yeah. I work at the Highland School. I’m a, administrator there, a small group instructor, and teacher trainer there. So, I support our teachers with, knowledge about learning differences and, remediating dyslexia and ADHD. And, and our school does work with those students as our as our main focus.

Lisa Lightner [00:01:05]:

Okay. Is your school if I can ask, it’s a private school. Is it one word students can get like an IEP placement there, or this is just a private private school or parents just pay a tuition?

Janice Lloyd [00:01:17]:

It is a private private school, people pay the tuition. there may be options for getting funding, but it is difficult because in our state. It is difficult to get very difficult to get funding.

Lisa Lightner [00:01:30]:

Yeah. And and your state is not alone. it’s difficult in all the states. So one of the questions and I’m kind of gonna ask you something that I’ve made a golden rule to myself to say, well, this is something I never do in advocacy. And that is I never try to figure out why. Like, I never ask why. Like, why do people do things? Because the fact is we don’t know why people do things. Right? Only they know. But why do you think it is so difficult in the public school system for kids to get appropriate help for dyslexia. And I’ve been a part of this. You know, I’ve been an advocate now for 13 years and been with many families and heard from 100 more with I find, and maybe you do too, I find dyslexia to be the disability, learning disability that I see the most frequent and most intense gaslighting of parents where parents are just repeatedly told. He’s fine. He’s fine. He’s fine. And parents know in their gut that their child can’t read. The child’s clearly struggling, and it’s he’s fine. He’s fine. Why do you think that and, I mean, 1st of all, would you agree with that, you know, on an anecdotal basis? I don’t have any hard data, but and then why do you think that is?

Janice Lloyd [00:02:48]:

I I think part of it is that the schools and the parents want to believe that the schools can handle it and can manage it can do the necessary instruction. there are many, many wonderful teachers in the public school system many administrators that are so wonderful in the public school system. I wanna support them. but I to me, the difficulty is it’s the number of students in the classroom. What I do at my school is I work with 3 kids to 4 kids, for up to 120 minutes a day. and plus and that’s just in reading. That’s not including math. And with that very small group, we can do the remediation that’s necessary following the Orte and Gillingham sequences. When you have a large class of 15 to 30 to some, some, I’m hearing 40 but sometimes I I’m not sure how teachers can manage. They’re trying our best. I get that. And I think the schools are doing a much better job lately of providing additional OG training and, foundations and OG Plus and all of that. And that’s great, but you still have the sheer numbers problem. you might have a small group and that might be 6, 8, 10 kids in that small group. You’re not gonna be able to meet every student’s needs. typically, because of that delay is that students aren’t getting the help they need until 4, 5th, 6th grade. instead of getting it when they first suspect a problem in pre k kindergarten 1st grade.

Lisa Lightner [00:04:27]:

Yeah. And that’s, you know, I’m all I it’s That is what I say. That always comes back to funding and that our schools don’t have the money that they need to do, you know, to provide kids with what they need. And I can and I do. I do have a of, you know, I feel for teachers in my heart because you go to school and you get a special education degree because you wanna help disabled children, And then I can’t imagine what it’s like to get into a school and not have the resources to do your job. you know, and then we wonder why the turnover is so high. So do you, do you, is small group instruction with an appropriate correct curriculum, is that really the key to helping dyslexic students?

Janice Lloyd [00:05:09]:

I would say so. small groups, lots of reputation, not feeling forced to move on to the next skill just because it’s next on the list. where you can, okay, they’re really not getting it. So let me backtrack and review and constant review because students with dyslexia and other learning differences do have typically have memory issues. And, you know, that repetition becomes super, super important. because they have it today and they won’t have it 2 days from now or 2 weeks from now.

Lisa Lightner [00:05:43]:

So how do you think, What what can parents do as far as being aware of how their child is doing? And then what are the impacts of dyslexia?

Janice Lloyd [00:05:57]:

Some of the things you can start really young with some kids, what we call phonemic awareness, phonological awareness, is the ability to hear sounds to manipulate sounds? are they rhyming? although that kind of an advanced skill. If you think about the, you know, phonemic awareness process, it is kind of an advanced skill. but some kids are rhyming at 34. If they’re not rhyming then by 5 or 6, you might wanna start saying, okay. We may we may have a problem here. Can they hear birds and airplanes flying around when you’re taking them outside for walks? If they’re not hearing those sounds, They may not be processing all of the sounds out there. do they ask you to repeat words a lot and not because of a hearing deficit? They’re pro not processing the what you’re saying. so what

Lisa Lightner [00:06:50]:

would you say then? I and I because I know another like, kind of urban legend out there is that parents are frequently told if they say, oh, you know, my husband’s dyslexic or my brother’s dyslexic and we’re suspecting this and all that. I know a common retort is, well, we can’t test for dyslexia until 3rd grade, or we can’t test until 4th grade. It seems to be that that that range, in any way, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade, that they give parents these deadlines of and they seem to be kinda arbitrary.

Janice Lloyd [00:07:19]:

I think they are arbitrary. I do know that there are numerous tests available now that were not available maybe 10, 15 years ago that are designed for kids at that kindergarten 1st grade level. I I still hear it, you know, even recently is that schools are still pushing to delay it. I I think thereafter to try to keep the kids in the system hoping that they can do that job. And many of them, many of the teachers and administrators, I do believe think they can manage it. If they just give them a little bit more time, problem is is you’re running that risk of delaying because if there is a more serious issue, you’re losing time because then you have that 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th grader who’s not reading. And, then you have to backtrack even more, and then you’re fighting other issues at that point.

Lisa Lightner [00:08:15]:

And what are the impacts to the child then if you delay interventions?

Janice Lloyd [00:08:21]:

school frustration, which can lead to some behavior issues, but frustration not a self doubt, not believing that they are capable of learning. They feel stupid. They feel dumb. anxiety. what is it? You know, about 25% of kids with, dyslexia do have some anxiety disorder. And that’s not even including just the kids who have just the anxiety symptoms. And the more they start beating themselves up, the harder it is for them to read. you know, dyslexia impacts that memory. It also impacts sequencing. spelling tends to be very, very delayed. Even if you remediate and get a student to read on grade level, you’re gonna see high school and college and adults who can’t spell. even if they can read on grade level. so spelling will, continue to be a problem. fatigue when reading continues to be a problem. the so they’re reading less. so not building up their their background knowledge for reading comprehension. but also just if you think about a college student who may have to read 3 chapters in a night, They don’t have the fatigue. They don’t have the endurance to be able to read as much as they need to. the sequencing is interesting because you’re gonna get adult who may not know the seasons the day of the week, months of the year, they may mix numbers up not because of a math disability, but because of the dyslexia, they write down 17 as 1 as 71, instead of

Lisa Lightner [00:10:03]:


Janice Lloyd [00:10:04]:

and that’s really a symptom of the sequencing of dyslexia. and then, of course, because If you have dyslexia, you frequently have ADHD and this graphia and dyscalculia, the math disability. kind of extends from there too. So

Lisa Lightner [00:10:21]:

It it very as I always say, we’re, you know, ADHD or dyslexia. Right? They rarely travel alone. Like, you know, it’s it’s I’ve I’ve now that I’ve been doing this a while, I don’t think I’ve ever met a child who only had one learning disability, like, there, you know, there’s always 3 or 4 or 5 kind of other conditions going on. So for a parent who may be watching this or listening to this and, you know, I I always say parents never come to me with anything, you know, a lot of them just come to me with nothing more than a gut feeling. Like, something’s not right. You know, it’s not things not something’s just not right here, and I don’t know where to begin. you mentioned the rhyming, but to the parent who might be thinking like, oh, okay. Like, maybe, you know, maybe it is dyslexia. And, of course, there’s this myth out there that dyslexia is only ever getting letters backwards, right, Like, that’s what dyslexia is. probably should have done this at the beginning, but can you give a a brief overview of, like, what dyslexia is, a far as, like, the decoding versus comprehension.

Janice Lloyd [00:11:29]:


Lisa Lightner [00:11:29]:

Kind of what it’s gonna look like in a child?

Janice Lloyd [00:11:32]:

Yes. For Dyslexia, it is a decoding and fluency deficit. the phonological process which again is hearing the sounds in the words is, a hallmark of dyslexia. typically with a dyslexia a student with dyslexia, a person with dyslexia, they are pretty smart. They they know a lot. They have a lot of background knowledge. and, where they’re gonna struggle is reading the words. sometimes it really surprises me how poorly a student can, when you listen to them, the reading sounds, very labored, a very disfluent, and they are surprisingly able to understand and answer all the questions that you ask them about that text. they skip words when they’re reading, they may re read the word on one page and then miss it on the next page. they’re also the ones that will more likely read the word them correctly, but skip the word the of and in. They read the longer words, miss the smaller words. when they’re reading. you’re gonna see it in spelling, like I said, because that tends to lag significantly, or the and then, fluency, labored reading is going to be a hallmark of dyslexia. reading comprehension is almost the opposite because a reading comprehension deficit, those kids look like they can read the words beautifully. they sound good when they read, you think, okay, they are fantastic readers. And then you start asking them about what they’ve read. And they struggle with, maybe who the characters are, where it took place or maybe an inference question as to why it happened. And So the the dyslexia is gonna be difficulty reading the words, but able to understand the passage while a comprehension deficit can read the words but struggles with the comprehension of the passage. Many times though, you’re gonna have the aspects of both Because as we’ve said a few minutes ago, if you have one, you frequently have another.

Lisa Lightner [00:13:48]:

Right. Right.

Janice Lloyd [00:13:49]:

And so

Lisa Lightner [00:13:49]:

then can you get can you also tell parents briefly, the 4 ds. We talked about dyslexia. You mentioned dysgraphia.

Janice Lloyd [00:14:01]:

Dyscalculia? Discal oh, a dyspraxia. Dyspraxia? Yes.

Lisa Lightner [00:14:05]:

Can you give a a brief overview of those?

Janice Lloyd [00:14:08]:

Okay. Yes. So dysgraphia is a writing disability, and that has to do with either handwriting, getting words on the page with the hand. The hand gets really tired, later on that may show up as, difficulty in getting words out of the head. In other words, They know what it is they wanna say, but they just can’t get it out on paper. dyscalculia is a math disability, frequently the issue there is, recognizing, numbers. So If I have Five Blocks out on the desk in front of me, I might ask a student how many are there? And we’ll you’ll kind of glance at it and we’ll say, okay. There’s 5. We make group bid in 3 or 2, but we’re kind of chunking it. They have to count it each and every single time. They’re missing number sense is the problem. the relationship between, like, 1 and 23, they’re the ones that are gonna have to count a lot more on their hands. They don’t remember that they have 5 fingers. It’s kinda like they always go back to it.

Lisa Lightner [00:15:16]:


Janice Lloyd [00:15:18]:

k. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and so on. but again, that number sense is the hallmark of this, dyscalculia And then, dyspraxia as a motor planning issue. my son has that actually. it shows up in his speech. So his, articulation becomes, challenged. even as an adult or he’s seventeen now, he is told frequently that it sounds like he has an accent at this point, even though he has 10 years of speech therapy, it, you know, did it enough so he’s functional. He can have conversations, but he just has that accent to him. this Praxia, you’ll also see, again, motor planning, learning to tie shoes, riding bikes, swinging on swings, My son was delayed on swings and bikes because of the dyspraxia. but basically, He in his head, he knew what he wanted to say, but he couldn’t get his mouth to say it. Go ahead.

Lisa Lightner [00:16:21]:

It’s not just a speaking disability, though. It’s it’s it’s motor planning. It’s it’s motor planning. Universal motor planning.

Janice Lloyd [00:16:29]:

It is a motor planning issue. And Yeah. So I learned about it a number of years ago because of my son. And, I remember when he was 4, we were in the car one time, and he said, He said, I have what I wanna say in my head, but I can’t get my mouth to do to move the right way. It was kind of sad. but he got it, and he’s a bright kid function doing very well. That’s good. Yeah.

Lisa Lightner [00:16:53]:

That’s good. you early in this in this talk, you mentioned Orton Gillingham. some people refer to as OG. Mhmm. Can you tell us a little bit about what OG is? Because, again, that’s another one of those areas where it’s like or urban legend, and and I think a lot of parents also, when they hear, like, oh, my school does OG, or our school does Orton Gillingham, it sounds reassuring.

Janice Lloyd [00:17:23]:

Yes. Like,

Lisa Lightner [00:17:24]:

okay. Oh, he’s gonna get Orton Gillingham. We’re fine now. So could you give us, like, a little bit for parents’ information about what that is and what it can and cannot do for dyslexia?

Janice Lloyd [00:17:34]:

Right. Gordon Gillingham is a sequence. Actually, I should say multiple different sequences, but it’s methodologies. We’re we’re are teaching, skills in a certain order, asking that the students master that demonstrate it back to you before moving on to the next skill. So you may start off with short vowels, short a, short i, short o, and you work on those sounds and letters in writing until the student has that. And then you can kind of move on to the next one, with constant review. There’s a lot of multi sensory to that. So there there may be we use salt trays here. we also use carpet squares. you can use chalk outside. a little bit behind me, you might see I have a chalkboard in here. And the reason for that is because a chalkboard provides a tack style kinesthetic feedback when the kids are riding with a chalkboard as opposed to our whiteboard or smartboard. some people use, shaving cream, things like that. For me, it would depend on what the surface is. I wanna tactile rough feedback, which I think some tables are too smooth for. So I’m not a fan of that. using crayons on paper is a good way. Also, getting that kinesthetic tactile feedback. but again, we’re teaching skills in a structured manner, you know, the the vowels, the digraphs, the ths, CHs, and moving on as the students are ready. For me, I think that’s where the biggest problem in larger organizations where

Lisa Lightner [00:19:09]:

I’m just gonna say that then as they’re ready piece, it’s probably there.

Janice Lloyd [00:19:13]:

Right. because if you have to wait for your entire group, Are you holding back one kid, or are you not allowing a kid to progress, you know, if you have to wait for one kid, or one another student isn’t moving because they have it, but they’re in that group and they’re stuck in that group. I think that if you have the freedom to take the time that you need to take with it, in a smaller, school or, you know, other schooling option and just take your time through it as the student is ready. You get to the point where sometimes you can make leaps. So all of a sudden, they seem to get it and you can make that jump so we can do multi syllable words and we can, you know, go to more advanced skills rather than being stuck on you know, short vowels or long vowels or whatever skill you’re working on with that class.

Lisa Lightner [00:20:11]:

So Speaking then to the parent and, you know, because there are a lot of parents who say, okay, I’m running into brick walls all the time with my public school, and I I do not have the resources to file for due process. Mhmm. I do not have the resources to pay for private school. what are there any other options besides that for parents?

Janice Lloyd [00:20:34]:

Is there anything — We’ll be pushing at the IEP level. I’m sorry.

Lisa Lightner [00:20:38]:

Is there anything they can kinda do to kinda assist if if they’re really just hitting roadblocks everywhere they go? You know?

Janice Lloyd [00:20:46]:

Okay. Well, number 1, you can work with the IEP team if they have an IEP in place to work, through that, to push to make sure that the They are doing what they said they were going to do and that everybody agreed to do. if not, you can work at home on some of these skills. There are some programs available, that may require a little bit of expense, but could be useful for a home schooling situation or tutoring on the side. there are also tutoring options available. you know, OG tutors that you you may be able to use also. But for me, it really comes down to let’s work on the skill that they need. Do they know all of their short vowels, you know, that a says, as an apple? that I says it as an itch. If they cannot repeat those sounds in the words that they’re reading, work on that. before moving on to the next one. Just keep working on that until you think they’ve got it.

Lisa Lightner [00:21:47]:

So how does a parent know? you know, there’s a lot of programs out there. OG, of course, being 1, Barton, Linda Moodbell, Wilson. Everybody wants Wilson. Yeah. They’re always asking for Wilson. How does a parent know which program is appropriate for their child to even pursue if they say, okay. I’m gonna pay for this privately and and do tutoring or, you know, whatever a private school, how do they know what to look for?

Janice Lloyd [00:22:13]:

Mhmm. Make sure it teaches one skill at a time. And those programs that you mentioned, I have looked at all of them, and they are all very good OG programs. Sometimes I think parents and teachers get too bogged down into the program and I think the mistake they made in whatever program they select is that they worry about the next thing instead of watching where their child is. so if you buy a program and you realize, okay, they’re not getting this, back up to the beginning and try it again. You know, add some things to it. you know, you can find some free worksheets on things. You can use YouTube to find some videos on phonological awareness, you know, handwriting things like that to help you out and use that to supplement what you’re doing. I think if you allow yourself the freedom to use curriculum rather than letting the curriculum use you, I think, that teachers and parents can be, can have a strategy to, you know, if it’s not working to make the adjustment that they need to make. Don’t be afraid to change it up.

Lisa Lightner [00:23:25]:

Good. that’s that’s really some some great tips. You know, I I honestly never thought of that. Like, if we get to a certain point and we go, oh, this isn’t working. Like, it’s never occurred to say, well, did we implement it properly, or is more repetition needed, you know, and things like that? So that’s good. Okay. We’re at about 24 minutes. So is there anything you wanna add? Any final thoughts? Anything you would love for parents to know?

Janice Lloyd [00:23:49]:

Yeah. Early intervention, I think, is my biggest thought. you know, it’s it’s great that the schools that the larger public schools want to try to help But if you suspect a problem, reach out to your local child find, reach out to your teachers, you know, get some support And, you know, early eventually is gonna save you in the end, I think.

Lisa Lightner [00:24:14]:

Great. Great. That’s great tips. Mhmm. Okay. you can find Janice at her school, the Highlands school. I will provide the link in the podcast recap. and thank you for attending.

Janice Lloyd [00:24:32]:

Thank you.

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