History of Davis Methods

Ron Davis

In 1980, at age 38, Ronald Dell Davis overcame his own severe dyslexia when he found a way to quickly eliminate common perceptual distortions. For the first time in his life, he could read and enjoy a book without struggling. To his surprise and delight, he soon learned that the simple mental exercise he had discovered for himself seemed to work just as well for other dyslexic adults who tried it out.

He soon realized that correcting perception was not enough; it was also necessary to eliminate the sources of confusion that triggered disorientation. For dyslexia, that meant a system for building strong word recognition and comprehension skills, geared to the dyslexic learning style.

After independent clinical research and working with experts in many fields, Ron Davis perfected his program for correcting dyslexia in adults and children. In 1982, Ron Davis and Dr. Fatima Ali, Ph.D., opened the Reading Research Council Dyslexia Correction Center in California, achieving a 97% success rate in helping clients overcome their learning problems.

In 1994, the first edition of the book, The Gift of Dyslexia was published. Within a year the book had been translated into several other languages, and Davis Dyslexia Association International (DDAI) was established to formally train other professionals to provide the same program throughout the world.

Ron Davis has now retired; his work is carried on by hundreds of Davis Facilitators offering services in more than 30 languages and more than 40 countries worldwide.  The basic ideas underlying the Davis Dyslexia Correction program have also been extended to develop specialized programs for Attention Mastery, Math Mastery, and Autism.


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  • Francene

    Can a mother take the course? I am not a teacher but I want to learn desperately to help her. I have signed her up for the program and I know I am taught a little to continue her success but I want to know it ALL.

  • Lanese L

    I have 3 daughters, all of whom are amazing in their own way. The middle daughter was diagnosed with dyslexia at just 4 years old. We were told at the age of 5 that her dyslexia and auditory processing difficulty was so severe that she would not graduate high school. As her mom of this beautiful little girl, I was distraught. I wanted her to have the same possibilities in life as her other sisters and her friends.
    She was attending a small private school at the time that used a great curriculum that I will not name but is phonics based. My daughter struggled and struggled. Finally, her teacher put her in the corner of the class with a coloring sheet and told her to do that until it was time to go outside or have lunch or something like that. I was a preschool teacher myself and I just wasn’t going to have this type of treatment. I was getting her up earlier than her sisters to work with her before school and we would work together more after dinner. I did a lot of research and decided on trying Mr. Davis’ method with her. I also pulled her out of school and homeschooled her before later putting her into the public school system with the assistance they too can provide. Even after going to public school, she and I still did our daily tutoring. I was trained by one of your tutors that came to our home from another state to work with my daughter.
    Let me just say, I stand behind this method 100%. My daughter took acrylic painting classes, was an officer in the FFA, volunteered at our church 20+ hours a week, played varsity soccer as well as summer leagues, and she was on an audition only dance team to name a few things but still graduated high school as a member of the Beta Club, National Honor Society, and with Full Honors with all the sashes, ropes, cords, etc. around her neck at graduation. She went to the technical learning school associated with her high school for 2 years while attending high school as well where she studied Graphic Communications. She won Graphic Student of the Year for the entire county. Most of the “regular” kids at graduation didn’t accomplish the things in high school she did or participate in the things that she did, nor have dyslexia, but still didn’t have the awards that she had.
    My daughter, after high school, decided to go to our 2 year technical college in the area. She was on the Deans List there all but 1 semester. She finished with 2 certificates and an Associate Degree in Graphic Communications. She then applied to a 4 year university. She is now a Junior there and is on the Chancellors List (which is an accomplishment above the Deans List).
    Through her college career, she has won photography contests, art contests, and has received high praise from professors who are leaders in Graphic Communications. She has just been offered a job in the college’s art studio/gallery.
    We don’t know what the future holds for her; but, we are so thankful that we found this way of learning for her. I don’t want to think of what she would be doing today if she had not been taught with this method.

  • Rebecca P

    I am wondering if the system teaches with manipulatives. The cost seems over the top and so I’m not sure it would be accepted by many in our school. Also could an assistant learn the method then teach more than one student simultaneously?

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      Rebecca, the only physical materials required for the Davis program are clay, koosh balls, and dictionaries. However, the Dyslexia Correction program is designed to be provided in a one-on-one setting, not to a group. However, a teacher could work with a small group to do followup work after completion of the basic program with a facilitator. There is also a primary level classroom program called Davis Learning Strategies — this can be implemented through a two-day teacher workshop and a system of mentoring.

      Many resource and special ed teachers have reported success informally implementing the Davis methods, simply by following the instructions in The Gift of Dyslexia and perhaps purchasing a Davis kit along with supplemental materials as needed — for example, extra clay or dictionaries, as the kits only have materials for one student. However, materials such as dictionaries can be shared, and clay/koosh balls can be purchased from many sources.

      I am not sure why you think the cost is “over the top”? Are you referring to the cost for training a Facilitator through the point of licensing or the cost for an individual child to work with a Facilitator?

  • Theresa L

    I have an 8 year old in 3rd grade reading at about a 1st grade level. He has received the highest level of intervention in our NY school for 3 years (basically every day in small group or occasionally individually). They are telling me he has only received Orton Gillingham for 2nd grade so In 3rd they want to start The Barton method.

    I feel they have had their chance with the phonetics… My son HATES to read AND write. He has excellent comprehension. He is generally kind and outgoing.

    They say he has an inability “to attend” to the task of reading and writing and it’s ADD.

    My question is, if I agree to have him do Barton at school, how does he apply /can he apply the Davis tools he would learn from the 5 day course? And has anyone had success bringing Davis into schools so a teacher can do this with him instead of me at home?

    (I’m not sure I can get him OUT of the Barton Program unless I remove his 504 plan but a Mom can move mountains with God on her side!)

    • Abigail Marshall, DDAI webmaster

      As your child is age 8, it would be a good idea to start by arranging a consultation and screening with a licensed Davis facilitator. The Davis Dyslexia Correction program can be given to children age 8 and older; but sometimes a facilitator will find that an 8-year-old is not quite ready for the Davis program and will recommend waiting until the child is somewhat older.

      Assuming you do go forward with a Davis program, ordinarily it would not be a good idea to mix Davis with any other sort of intensive intervention until follow up has been completed. Otherwise there is the potential that the other instruction will counteract the gains made with the Davis program, by reinforcing the very habits that the Davis facilitator has worked so hard to help the child move past. (These would be what Ron Davis calls “old solutions”, such over-reliance on beginner-level sounding-out strategies)

      Many parents have been successful in getting support from their school for the Davis post-program support– however, this is something that is best accomplished when the teacher who would be working with the child agrees and is willing to give it a go. So you may want to ask to meet with the teacher who would be working with your child to get a sense of whether that person is flexible; or you can find out from the school if there are within-school options other than the teacher who specifically uses the highly-scripted Barton method.

      A 504 plan is different than an IEP — the IEP is part that provides for educational interventions, while the 504 is geared to accommodations and adjustments. So if you do not feel that the school-based instruction provided by the school is helpful for your child, and the school is unwilling to make appropriate adjustments to the IEP, you can generally drop the IEP but retain the 504, which might provide for such things as modifications to assignments and extra time on tests.

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