Hello my name is vinia. I am a stage actress here in michgian, but I would like to have have a career in working with dysleix children. I would like to start my own thearter compnay for kids k-5. called Theater for the Dyslexic. I have my bachlors degree but I need to be certified. I wanted to just get some advice on what is my next step in making this dream come true, and also what KIND of school should I contact? Are there school out there for dyslexic children or LD that Can talk to? I am at a school now but I must admit they do a poor job of helping dysleix children they seem to push them to the side and now want to deal with them. I help them but I can't fit in to their sytle of teacher. i use the drama world to help them learn it take more time but it works, but I am critized by teachers there saying it is a waste of time, and I am bored there. so if anyone has any advice I could really use it.
First, you may wish to avail yourself of coursework that relates to teaching children with special needs. Community colleges and four year universities have programs to help you with advancing your degree or coursework. Of course, not all schools will have special education classes. Also, keep in mind that learning disabilities comes in all forms, including dyslexia. However, I am sure that there are many other special needs children that could benefit from a theater program, so you many not wish to limit the kind of students you will accept.
I also would highly recommend that you learn about business ownership if you plan on opening your own theater group. Network with others in your area of expertise and don't forget to seek out help through small business associations in your area, too.
Here is a good start for you... http://www.collegeboard.com has a full list of programs in Michigan that can help you find what you need to advance your education.
Your plans for starting a theater group for children with Dyslexia sounds wonderful. I don't have any direct experience with starting a program like that, but I do have some thoughts as to who how you may gain additional information to pursue your dream.
Lindamood-Bell http://www.lindamoodbell.com/ provides excellent, evidence-based training and guidance on supporting children with learning disabilities. I have always been impressed with their strategies, and I believe that they help children greatly with language. Their strategies are more consistent with a typical "tutoring" paradigm, but you should consider call them and talking with them about your plans.
Also, if you would like to get in touch with a school that has excelled in supporting children with learning disabilities, I would recommend that you call Charles Armstrong School in California http://www.charlesarmstrong.org/. I know that you are in Michigan and likely can't visit, but I cannot recommend the school enough. The focus of the school is to help children with learning disabilities, and they are very, very good at it. I have seen shy, timid, struggling students convert into confident, smiling students with good academic skills after a year or two at Charles Armstrong. Perhaps, they have some ideas on how you might start your program.
Don't give up on your dream! Good luck!
L. Compian, Ph.D.
This is a great time to be pursuing a career working with dyslexic children. There is a lot more advanced and concrete research on the subject and a host of excellent organizations that work to help dyslexic students. The idea of mixing academics with movement sounds wonderful.
I would recommend doing a lot of research on organizations that do research-based work with dyslexics to learn what schools or programs they recommend for training and it can help you decide what type of training you feel you need to be successful. It may also help you decide how to structure your program and whether partnerships with some of these organizations, might be in your future.
Here is a link to the International Dyslexic Association, which does have a branch in Michigan.
Here is a link for the Masonic Learning Centers for Children. They began a partnership with Massachussetts General Hospital in 1994 to help dyslexics and I have a friend who has worked in one of their New Jersey learning centers and raves about the program. They do have 3 learning centers in Michigan.
I think theater is a wonderful way to help dyslexics with learning how to read. It is a very fun, hands-on, multisensory learning system. What a fantastic idea! Also you will find that a lot of dyslexics have a gift in acting, drama, dance, etc. It should give them a great boost of confidence and something nice to look forward to. As for the training. It is a lot of work to become trained as a teacher for dyslexics but well worth the time and investment. You will first want to look into getting a teaching credential in Special Education. Then you can specialize in a reading program such as Orton-Gillingham and receive a certification in that. I do believe that there are training programs for Orton-Gillingham in Michigan. You would go through the training program and then do a supervised internship. You can also check out the Academy of Orton-Gillingham. Orton-Gillingham is the best program for struggling readers and students with dyslexia. After you become trained in O-G, you can figure out how to combine it with your theater program. I wish you so much luck, it sounds like a fantastic idea.
vinna the kind of school you should contact is the school you were just at that would have been the perfect school because the school i work for at the begining everybody made fun of me for the way i work with dyslexic kids but it just made me work harder and now i am the best known teacher at that school so go back to that school and work as hard as you can to get that job
Hi Vinna! Good for you that you want to teach kids with Dyslexia! Starting with your idea for a theater program is excellent because kids with this deficit need avenues to become confident and express themselves orally, which in many cases is their strength. These kids often are socially adept, so the forum for working collaboratively is a way for them to develop self-esteem alongside the peers. It takes a community to put on a production and many, many skills are necessary to be successful in the process. Starting there is a great choice!
In order to really teach kids with dyslexia to improve their reading skills, there are several evidence-based methods to learn that are available to people of all backgrounds. You need not have a teaching degree, although that helps also (!). You can locate the workshops through the International Dyslexic Association (usually) or contact the private organizations directly. There are several: Linguistic Remedies is a course taught by Dr. Barbara Wise. It is located in Boulder, Colorado and is affordable. She gives workshops two or three times a year and it is well worth your time. Another good system is Orton-Gillingham. Ron Yoshimoto teaches these workshops and he works nationally in many locations throughout the US. Lindamood-Bell is another, but it is pricey and is not my first choice. The F.A.S.T. Reading System is excellent, but as far as I know, workshops are only available in the Denver area through a company known as CR Success Learning. They are affordable and will get you a solid background and give you materials to start teaching immediately. Most of the ones I have mentioned include materials. Lastly, the Wilson Reading Program is ok, but is so expensive that it is only worthwhile if someone other than you is paying your way. The systems I mentioned are far superior.
I am a teacher of Dyslexic kids and have been doing the work for about 15 years. Even though I have a Special Ed degree, I work for myself because school do not hire specialists like me anymore due to state, local, and national budget constraints. There are at least 10-15% of students who need the instruction that the systems I have mentioned provide, but there are not enough teachers with the training! I hope you will pursue this field because the work is so necessary and important! And with the combination of Theater and Public Speaking, the kids you work with will be encouraged to use their voice to stand up and be counted!! Good luck! Lara