This multi-sensory form of instruction is taught explicitly, systematically, cumulatively, directly and in a sequence. It is based on the close association of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic elements in teaching phonetic units step by step. The plan for a multi-sensory lesson includes a specific order of activities taught for a prearranged period of time so that all components of the structure of language are included each time the teacher meets with students. Conscious multi-sensory procedures using the student’s eyes, ears, hands, and mouth help to link the sound, sight, and feel of the spoken language to the printed language on the page. Specific training is necessary for the teacher who works with dyslexic children in order to provide positive success in reading whereby children can reach their full potential.
This approach to remedial instruction began in the 1930′s when Anna Gillingham, a psychologist, and Bessie Stillman, a gifted teacher, collaborated to develop remedial techniques based on Dr. Samuel T. Orton’s neurological explanation for language-learning disabilities. Dr. Orton’s approach was derived from his neuropsychiatric background and his case studies of children whose individual learning differences and instructional needs did not match the sight word method in the reading curriculum which was being taught in traditional classrooms. Currently, multi-sensory techniques are highly effective, researched based, and known to be the best possible techniques for the dyslexic learner.