How is Multi-sensory Learning applied?

The Orton Gillingham multisensory approach as used by Neurosensory focuses on the learning needs of each individual student whether taught one-to-one, in small group settings or in class. Students with learning disorders must master oral and written language like other students but need additional support. A student with a learning disorder must be taught directly and systematically using an evidence based multisensory approach.
Share this:

Individual personalised teaching
(whether in group setting or not)

Each student’s needs are unique and the Orton Gillingham multisensory teaching approach begins when the practitioner identifies the needs of the individual student. While those with learning difficulties such as dyslexia share many similar areas of weakness with each other there are inevitably differences in need and these are always addressed by an Orton Gillingham practitioner. 

Individuals may possess additional problems that complicate learning (comorbidity including attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders & autism spectrum disorders for example).

The skilled Orton Gillingham practitioner is trained to separate and identify learning weaknesses whatever their origin.

An Orton-Gillingham lesson is diagnostic in the sense that the practitioner monitors verbal and non-verbal responses and written responses in an attempt to identify and analyse that particular students educational issues and progress made.

Lessons are prescriptive in that they contain specific instructions that focus on the needs of the individual student as identified through the lesson. 

The Orton Gillingham multisensory approach

Orton Gillingham multisensory approach teaching harnesses the visual (V), hearing (A), feeling and awareness of motion (K)(VAK) to create new neural pathways. 

The approach helps overcome neurological deficits that make learning difficult for those with learning disorders.

Orton Gillingham teaching sessions are unlike those seen in a typical classroom. They are action orientated and there is constant interaction between teacher and student and the use of these multisensory input channels simultaneously.

Having the student listen, speak, read, write and move at the same time creates the optimal learning environment. A good example is a dyslexic learner learning the letter A. The dyslexic student is asked to say the letter ‘A’, say its name and also trace it in the air at the same time. Such an approach requires intense instruction and is not a quick fix but used properly it enhances the storage of information and successful retrieval.

Systematic use of phonics

The Orton Gillingham multisensory approach relies on the systematic use of phonics, by focusing on the alphabet in the initial stages of reading development. The approach reinforces sound/symbol relationships inherent to our alphabet (an alphabet is simply a structured system of writing down spoken language). 

Applied linguistics

The Orton Gillingham multisensory approach uses applied linguistics first in the initial ‘decoding’ and ‘encoding’ stages of reading and writing and then later in the more advanced stages dealing with syllabic, morphemic, syntactic, semantic, and grammatical structures of language and our writing system.

At all times the Orton-Gillingham multisensory approach involves the student in integrative practices including reading, spelling, and writing together.

Linguistic competence

The Orton Gillingham multisensory approach offers more than just the teaching of spelling. The approach teaches the relationship between, phrase and sentence structure to improve written English.

Orton-Gillingham approach – structured and sequential for beginners to advanced

The structured sequence of skills range from elementary letter-sound relationships to acquiring knowledge of syllables, grammar, word formation (morphology) and sentence structure (syntax). Each skill is presented through a multisensory strategy and the student has ample practice coming to grips with complex challenges made more challenging by learning disorders.

A secure grasp of all the underlying principles is needed for fluent reading and writing. Revision of previous concepts is built into every lesson.

Emotionally sound – Continuous feedback and positive reinforcement

How students feel about themselves and about learning is vital to their sense of self-worth, self-confidence and  their success. 

The Orton Gillingham multisensory approach practitioner forms a close educational bond with the student whether working one-on-one, in a small group setting, or in a classroom as each program is tailored to the needs of the individual. The approach increases self-confidence by positive reinforcement rather than criticism or punishment.

About the author
Antonia Canaris

Antonia Canaris

Founder of Neurosensory, Antonia Canaris is an experienced educator and a leading expert in multisensory learning.

Contact Us Call Today