Principles of Effective Dyslexia Treatment

Successful dyslexia treatment is goal-directed and systematic

You and your clinician will work together to design an intervention program that meets your specific needs and goals. On this page, we highlight what you can expect during your therapy program.

Effective therapy is goal-directed and systematic. Results of a recent evaluation are used to generate goals that are specific, measurable, and realistic. Key to successful intervention is the development of an individualized treatment plan. Goal-setting will take into consideration the demands of your school, work, social, and home environments.

A treatment plan that includes goals and therapy approaches will be shared with you at the beginning of intervention. Treatment should progress in a hierarchical structure. This means that skills addressed in therapy should build upon skills that were previously targeted. Collaboration among the client, family members, teachers, employers, and/or therapists is highly recommended to promote consistency across settings (e.g., home, classroom, office).

Goals
  • Goals should be generated based on the results of a recent evaluation using formal tests.
  • Goals may also be based on informal or non-standardized assessments; however, they must be re-assessed at the end of a pre-determined period of time.
  • Goals need to be specific and measurable. For example, a goal to “improve the ability to spell new words” is not specific or measurable. An appropriate clinical goal would be to “increase the client’s ability to spell words using the –dge pattern from 60% to 80% accuracy on an informal assessment.”
  • Both long-term (e.g., 1 year) and short-term goals (e.g., 3-4 months) should be addressed within the treatment plan. Long-term goals set the basis and give direction for determining the short-term goals, which are steps to reach the long-term goals.
  • Goals should be selected to address functional, relevant, and meaningful skills.
  • You should see progress in these functional areas as therapy continues.
Therapy
  • Therapy should directly address your ability to use certain skills within functional and meaningful contexts (e.g., school, home, office).
  • Therapy approaches should be evidence-based, incorporating techniques that have been researched in the literature and are proven to be effective.
  • The therapy program should be individualized based upon your specific needs. Inflexible, “cookie-cutter” programs may not meet the needs of all clients, since they tend to be restrictive and lacking individualization. These programs do have their place if you have a limited amount of time to work with your professional. Group treatment can also be beneficial as a supplement to formal therapy.
  • Therapy should be based on your interests.
  • Progress on specific goals should be evaluated on an informal basis during each therapy session. Depending upon your level of improvement, goals and approaches should be changed or adjusted as necessary.
  • At the end of the pre-determined time frame, progress on goals should be re-evaluated using formal or informal measures.
Other
  • The clinician will provide frequent updates about your progress and changes in the therapy program. Data from the sessions or daily progress notes written by the clinician can be used to demonstrate progress.
  • Home activities provided by the clinician can support the skills addressed during therapy and provide you with an opportunity to practice these skills independently.
  • Therapy should be enjoyable for both you and your clinician.