Orton-Gillingham Method - an Approach to Teach Learning Disabled People


The Orton-Gillingham Method is a sequential, structured, multisensory cumulative and cognitive approach for language learning. Three methods used by the Orton-Gillingham training method includes visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. These methods are used to teach people who have difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing. 

How these learning approaches get the name Orton-Gillingham? 
The approach was developed by Dr. Samuel Orton and Dr. Anna Gillingham. Samuel was an American physician and was interested in the study of learning disabilities. He became famous with his work on the causes and methods of dyslexia treatment. 

While he was working as a pathologist in Massachusetts, he started working with patients who had brain damage. By spending time with the patients he studied a lot about their general behavior, their weakness and the difficulties faced by them in the course of their life. From the studies he came to know that they have great difficulty with learning languages and reading. It is this observation that led him to study more about why some children with apparently intact neurological functioning had similar issues with language processing and reading. Through the study he came to a conclusion that individuals with brain damage have failed to establish an appropriate cerebral organization to support the association of visual words with their spoken forms. 

Later, he started working with psychologist Anna Gillingham. She helped Samuel Orton to design and publish instructional materials useful for people with brain damage. The instructional material contains the 44 sounds of the English alphabet and morphemes, including prefixes and suffixes and some common rules that should be followed with certain patterns and syllable types. This instructional method helped students with difficulty in learning languages to apply skills of decoding to memorize words which are non-phonetic. Her instruction manual when combined with Orton's notion of multi-sensory instruction came to know by the name Orton-Gillingham Method for reading instruction. 

Today the Orton-Gillingham Method is used as an effective remedy for those with the language processing disorder known as dyslexia. What makes the method of instruction popular is the way in which simple to more complex phonetic concepts and syllable patterns are presented in a multi-sensory fashion. This helps learners to make progress and experience success with its full potential. 

Which are the different Orton-Gillingham methods? 
Language-based method - In this approach there is a special technique to study and learn languages. This approach helps in understanding the human language, the mechanisms involved in learning and the language learning process. 

Multisensory - This is an action oriented approach. Here learning is based on audio, visual, and kinesthetic elements. The student can learn spelling along with reading. 

Structured, Sequential, Cumulative - This is a systematic approach to language learning. Using these method students learns to read and write by blending sounds into words. The instructors address vocabulary, sentence structure, composition, and reading comprehension in a similar structured and cumulative manner. 

Cognitive - This method helps students to learn the language and its history. Along with learning they are taught how to apply the knowledge for achieving reading and writing competencies.

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