How Multisensory Instruction Helps Students with Dyslexia

posted in: Trident Academy
Trident Academy understands that students who learn differently need to be taught differently. Trident Academy is a private K-12 school right here in the lowcountry dedicated to teaching students with dyslexia and other language-based learning differences. It is 1 of only 14 accredited Orton-Gillingham schools in the nation.
Trident Academy’s educational approach is unique and proven to work well with students who struggle with learning challenges such as dyslexia. Teachers use the Orton-Gillingham approach, which focuses on individualized instruction and multisensory teaching techniques to encourage students to use their senses with visual, auditory and kinesthetic cues to help students comprehend concepts in a way that makes sense to them.
Current brain research reveals what Betsy Fanning, head of school at Trident Academy, says educators have known for years – that the brain of a dyslexic reader works differently than that of a typical reader. Multisensory instruction helps rewire certain brain pathways in students.
At Trident Academy, students are taught traditional subjects in a variety of non-traditional ways. Our newly re-opened high school utilizes a project-based learning curriculum where students tackle real-world issues such as “ecological sustainability.” Students research these topics, conduct experiments, write papers, and present findings to both faculty and parents in a TED Talks type of style. Trident Academy recently partnered with the Citadel to have the students work and study “lettuce growth” in their hydroponics lab. “All of the core subjects are incorporated into this project,” Fanning says. “So students are getting the credits they need, but in a non-traditional way. Their brains soak up the information more easily than sitting in a classroom taking notes.”
Students as young as fourth grade engage in very unique curriculums and learning methods specifically designed for dyslexic learners. For example, students are now able to participate in the NoticeAbility inventor and entrepreneur program. This 10-week program is specifically designed for dyslexic learners, giving them the chance to create inventions, business plans, and sales and marketing strategies. At the end of the program, students even get to present to their peers in a “soft Shark Tank” format, Fanning says.
The idea of multisensory instruction and project-based learning truly resonates with students who have dyslexia. Fanning can point to dozens of Trident Academy alumni who have gone on to have successful careers in all types of professions from food and beverage to architecture.
Teaching students with learning differences is important to all of us. Unfortunately, statistics show that more than 30% of students with dyslexia drop out of high school. Also alarming is that approximately 50% of youth offenders in the juvenile justice system have dyslexia, whereas another 60% in rehabilitation for drug and alcohol abuse also struggle with dyslexia.
“Our whole focus is: come, let us help you learn your strengths, capitalize on those and, when you’re ready, you can go back to a more traditional school environment,” Fanning says.
To learn more about Trident Academy’s unique approach to learning, visit them online at or call (843) 884-3494.