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.

There are now 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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  • 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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