Davis tools for dyseidetic, orthographic, or surface dyslexia


Will a Davis program help a person diagnosed with surface dyslexia?


Surface dyslexia may also be labeled as dyseidetic, visual, or orthographic dyslexia.  A person with this type of dyslexia will typically have difficulty with irregular words that do not fit simple or consistent phonetic patterns. A person with this type of dyslexia may have a strong grasp of phonics and phonetic rules, but struggle with reading and writing common sight words.

Traditional, tutoring-based approaches to dyslexia do not provide the tools needed for surface dyslexia.  In many cases, over-emphasis on phonetic strategies will make things worse, and lead to a long-term pattern of slow, laborious reading.

The Davis method provides multiple tools that specifically address this type of dyslexia.

  1.  Mental techniques to stabilize perceptions.  Davis Orientation Counseling, Alignment, or Focusing provides the person with the ability to become aware of and self-correct misperceptions, such as perceiving letters flipped or transposed.  This is an essential first step toward addressing surface dyslexia. It simply is not possible for a person to develop a stable memory of whole words unless they are able to perceive the words accurately in the first place.
  2. Alphabet Mastery. Davis clients model the letters of the upper and lower case alphabet in clay. This process provides a way to overcome common problems such as letter reversals, and also may reveal other sources of letter confusion or misperceptions that may be tied to other letters with similar shapes and appearances (such as and e)
  3. Reading Exercises to build left-to-right visual tracking skills.  The Davis Reading exercises of “spell-reading” and “sweep-sweep-spell” develop and reinforce the habit of visually scanning words from left-to-right and noting the sequence of the letters as they are read. This increases the ability to rely on and use visual memory for words.
  4. Davis Symbol Mastery for Words.  The heart of the Davis program is the mastery of a list of more than 200 commonly used small words, by creating a clay model to represent the meaning of the word as well as modeling the letters of the word. This includes specific exercises to reinforce spelling skills and build the ability to visualize the letters of each word in the correct sequences. This enables individuals to form a permanent impression of the word’s spelling, connected to its meaning — this is particularly helpful for homophones that are commonly confused, such as too / to / two or there / their.

Because the Davis approach gives individuals the ability to accurately perceive and learn whole words, progress can be very rapid.