While the science behind dyslexia and its treatment is complex, Roberts Academy is dedicated to supporting families with clear, factual information and evidence-based solutions. That's why we've collected some of the most common questions about the Academy and dyslexia from parents who are new to us and this common learning difference.
The Academy will open in August 2024.
The Academy will be located at 1027 Linden Avenue – about two blocks from Mercer's campus.
The Academy plans to have a tiered opening, initially welcoming two to three classes with grade levels that serve our inaugural student population. We will continue to add classrooms and expand grade levels through Fall 2026. Over time, the Academy will offer grades 2-5 with two classrooms per grade level.
A transitional school is designed to provide students with the foundational skills they need to succeed in a traditional school setting so that they can return to the age-appropriate grade at a school selected by their parents.
The Academy will provide a comprehensive educational program and curriculum for students with dyslexia in grades 2 through 5. The curriculum will be aligned with the Georgia Standards for Excellence, and students attending the Academy will learn and demonstrate competencies in all core content areas.
Because the curriculum will follow the Georgia Standards for Excellence, Academy students will keep pace with the learning advances made by students attending public or independent schools in Georgia.
Yes! The Academy will offer its students a well-rounded education to include music, art, and other enrichment activities and subjects.
The mission of the Academy is to teach a comprehensive curriculum for grades 2 through 5 using the Orton-Gillingham approach. This specialized teaching method is clinically proven to benefit students with dyslexia. Teachers using the Orton-Gillingham approach engage students in action-oriented learning that includes auditory, visual, and physical motion elements to teach basic concepts of reading, writing, and spelling.
The Academy's mission is to focus on the needs of children diagnosed with dyslexia. That challenge alone requires teachers' and students' full attention every school day.
A child with dyslexia may have other learning differences that can distract from the Academy's focus on teaching dyslexic children. The Academy’s Admissions Committee will consider a child's dyslexia and other learning differences during the admissions process.
Dyslexia is a surprising difference between a person’s intelligence and reading ability. It represents a different learning style that predisposes a person to essential abilities and some that result in well-known challenges. Most people with dyslexia have difficulty connecting letter symbols with the sound they represent to enable the symbols to be stored in the brain and recognized when they are seen again. Dyslexia has been compared to a weakness (in decoding the letter symbols in words) that is surrounded by a sea of strengths (comprehension, general knowledge, empathy, problem-solving, vocabulary, critical thinking, reasoning, and concept formation).
The problem is not with eyesight, intelligence, or letter reversal but with letter and word recognition. There are two contributing factors: 1) difficulty decoding written phonemes into sounds that can be delivered and stored in the memory and recalled later, and 2) the primary neural connection from the eye to the brain is often not fully developed in a person with dyslexia. However, the existing pathways are strengthened, new pathways are developed, and the brain dramatically changes as the student learns to read.
Dyslexia manifests itself with different symptoms and to different degrees.
Yes. Spelling difficulties may indicate that the student is not forming robust connections between the letters and sounds of a word (phonics).
Yes. Penmanship depends upon both manual dexterity and an accurate mental image of the letters to be written, both of which can be affected by dyslexia and addressed by the Orton-Gillingham approach to teaching.
Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading difficulties but does not indicate lower intelligence. Many highly intelligent people exhibited characteristics of dyslexia, including Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Harry Belafonte, Winston Churchill, and nine U.S. presidents. Stephen Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Tom Cruise, and Elon Musk are notable contemporaries who have dyslexia and struggled with reading as children.
Your child can be helped in multiple ways. Academically, s/he can be enrolled in a school that offers small classes with other students who have the same challenge and are taught by teachers who have sought special training to address their learning style. Emotionally, your child can benefit by being offered various non-academic learning opportunities such as sports, music, art, performance, dance, crafts, and classes where they may find their interests and talents. The key is to shine a light on the child’s interests and strengths while methodically building areas of weakness with an evidence-based intervention program.
Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, writing, and spelling difficulties. If your child exhibits several characteristics listed under "common signals of dyslexia," you should contact a trained professional who tests for dyslexia. Self-confidence can suffer from delay.
Consult with a pediatrician, an Orton-Gillingham-trained teacher, a school counselor, an educational psychologist, or a private health consultant. Testing involves a formal diagnostic process conducted through a school system or by a private provider, such as an educational psychologist.
Reading to and with your child is always recommended for building interest in literature, vocabulary, and comprehension skills. However, it is best to have a trained and certified reading specialist teach the complex and layered rules of reading and spelling.
Children with dyslexia learn best with instruction that is individualized, explicit, sequential, and multisensory. The Orton-Gillingham approach incorporates these strategies and is highly effective at remediating the reading skills of children with dyslexia.