Specialist Davis dyslexia programme comes to Balclutha

Dyslexia Otago licensed facilitator Donna Pennycook has recently brought American innovator Ron Davis' successful ...
RICHARD DAVISON/FAIRFAX NZ

Dyslexia Otago licensed facilitator Donna Pennycook has recently brought American innovator Ron Davis' successful international dyslexia correction programme to South Otago, using techniques such as three-dimensional clay modelling to improve reading outcomes.

Dyslexia sufferers in South Otago now have another avenue to explore for alleviation of their symptoms.

Working quietly on establishing her new Dyslexia Otago centre at Balclutha's St John rooms since April, licensed facilitator Donna Pennycook is now expanding her activities, and open to referrals from families and individuals experiencing challenges with dyslexia.

Pennycook uses the Davis Dyslexia Correction Programme - founded by American dyslexia sufferer Ron Davis in 1982 - to improve reading and other outcomes for her clients.

Quoting Davis, dyslexia was "not a disability, but a gift that disables you," she said.

"Having had a family member with dyslexia, I'm very aware of the particular difficulties those with dyslexia can experience. The Davis programme offers a 97 per cent success rate in helping participants meet their personal reading, and other, goals for improvement."

After an initial assessment to establish baselines, early work centred on helping clients remain focussed.

"The dyslexic brain can become distracted quite easily. We help clients perceive letters and words by removing some of the obstacles causing confusion, and helping with reduction of stress levels," Pennycook said.

Tools included the use of modelling clay, koosh balls, and a range of reading exercises using three different processes.

"We use the clay to model words and link them with their appearance, sound and meaning. This then replaces the pictures that are missing, or cause confusion in everyday textual form."

Consistent in all those completing the programme was a gain in confidence, Pennycook said.

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"The eventual aim is to be self-managed, using skills and tools acquired during the programme and transitioning them to other situations.

"These are highly intelligent people who simply think and process in a different way. I want to help remove some of dyslexia's stigma."

 - Clutha Leader

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