Educational Therapy and Dyslexia Intervention
Confident Learners Built Here
The LexiConfidence Approach
“A stitch in time saves nine.” Benjamin Franklin proposed such wisdom applicable to his time, yet such words echo truth in modern day education. When a child is struggling in the classroom, what good is the "wait and see" approach or retention? Learning is comprised of many layers, and the approach to academic intervention is often a top-down process in our society. I was taught the same top-down model, until my own curiosity to find the optimal approach to intervention led me to practitioners who shared their stories of success using an integrated approach that begins with the foundation.
Imagine if your kitchen sink in the house is not working properly. You call a plumber. The plumber assesses the situation and then proceeds to solve the problem by fixing the sink. Now, suppose this scenario ensues. Your sink is unusable. You call a plumber. The plumber assesses the sink and diagnoses the problem. He writes a report with recommendations, namely compensate for the problem. In other words, he provides a diagnosis and a list of accommodations for the sink that isn’t working efficiently, but your sink is still inoperable when he leaves. When your child receives a diagnosis, a list of accommodations is not going to help your child’s cognition. We who specialize in helping struggling learners need to properly assess not only top-down, but also from bottom-up. We need to be looking beyond academics in our assessment. “A stitch in time saves nine.”
We know that the brain can receive remediation and that the brain is modifiable and has plasticity. Effective instruction should start with assessment and be tailored to the child’s “roadblocks”, not a list of compensatory strategies. Understanding neuroscience is paramount because through our conceptualization of how the brain learns, can we optimize instruction and efficiency.
I have friends who own a safari in Botswana, and I am fascinated to hear about their vastly different working environment than mine. In many parts of Africa, flying is more efficient than driving, and moreover necessary because of the lack of infrastructure. A drive that should take an hour could take ten because there aren't roads connecting the destinations. I use this as a metaphor, as I see this in learning. It is essential to build neural pathways in the brain, then have the repeated practice to make the pathways more efficient. This creates the white-matter, myelination, that helps improve processing and performance. We build the road (explicit teaching), pave the road (guided practice), drive the road (repeated practice-homework). This is why the homework is essential for both neuro exercises, cognitive therapy, and educational therapy (dyslexia, dyscalculia). Without the repeated practice, the pathways aren't firing as they should.
Reading comprehension is a higher-order thinking skill that requires working memory. Persistent problems with alphabetic principle and decoding, adversely affect reading fluency. This causes a cognitive overload so to speak which impedes working memory, a cognitive function that is the ability to hold onto something long enough to do something with it. As an educational therapist, understanding the how and the why of learning differences is key to creating new brain pathways and unlocking them. Many children in educational therapy struggle with hand-eye coordination, bilateral coordination, handwriting, balance, sensory processing, and those who have learning differences all have retained reflexes; the research tells us. I find it necessary to consider the sublayers of learning; foundational steps that must be in place in order for academic performance to be optimal. Those sublayers cross over into territories such as previously mentioned, fine and gross motor, coordination and balance, nutrition, stress, yoga, sensory processing, primitive reflexes, kinesiology, cognition, and when there is a problem in the foundation, there are learning challenges in the classroom dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia…
LexiConfidence LLC is an integrative approach unique to the learning needs of your child.
My name is Carri, or as the kids call me, “Ms. Carri”. As a certified dyslexia specialist and licensed educational therapist, I am committed to teaching your child to read, gain number sense, and spell confidently, while improving neuro, sensory, and cognitive development. I use an Orton-Gillingham based structured literacy approach to teaching reading using explicit, multi-sensory, sequential phonics. For 20 years I have been an educator and am a dedicated lifelong learner. I started my career in Hanover County as a German and ESL teacher, then was chosen to work at VCU as a Teacher in Residence in the School of Education and School of World Studies, serving as an adjunct Linguistics professor, Italian instructor, and a field supervisor for student teachers of world languages. I served as faculty and administration at The Steward School as an ESL teacher and Resource teacher before becoming the Upper School Dean of Student Support.
In 2016, I started LexiConfidence, LLC and have expanded my practice to include educational therapy: dyslexia and dyscalculia intervention, cognitive development, dyslexia screenings, primitive reflex movement assessment and exercises, yoga, consultation, and professional development. Cognitive and academic testing is forthcoming.
I live in Mechanicsville with my husband, son, and two daughters. I enjoy being a soccer and dance mom, a singer, and serve as an early childhood choir director at Fairmount Christian Church. When I am not teaching, I can usually be found with a book within reach.
University of Virginia, M. Ed., Reading
West Virginia University M. A.
Virginia Commonwealth University, BA
Structured Literacy Dyslexia Specialist,
CERI and International Dyslexia
Virginia Department of Education,
Equipping Minds Cognitive Mediator
Professionally Certified Educational Therapist, NILD
Jill Ham, Ed. S., Alphabetic Principle and Tier Training
Kidding Around Yoga, Instructor
Barton Screening for Dyslexia
Dyslexia Seminar, Univ. of Richmond
NILD, RX for Math
Build Math Minds
"Before coming to Carri, I felt lost as a parent of a child with dyslexia. My daughter was frustrated and often in tears. While our previous tutor was very nice, homework was not assigned and I was not offered any suggestions of what I could do as a parent to help. My daughter did not look forward to the sessions; it was a struggle. I found myself using Google to try and figure out how I could help her, most days ending with frustration.
Carri has been a breath of fresh air, my daughter loves her and I have seen HUGE improvements and the resources she has provided to me are invaluable. I am no longer lost as a parent. Carri is truly gifted and provides an incredibly loving and positive environment. She is passionate about her work and it shows. I thank God every day for leading us to her." Ms. S, a parent
"You have worked so hard with our son as he was really struggling when we first came to you. Now look where he is-reading on grade level for the first time in his life. You have done an amazing job remediating him, Carri, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart." Ms. S., a parent
"You are a wealth of knowledge and have so much to share with the world!!! I can't wait to see how God continues to work through you helping so many families! We're all truly blessed!!" Ms. B., a parent
"I cannot thank you enough for recognizing the challenges that my daughter has with core strength and fine motor. You are so very gifted and brilliant! But most of all you are so loving and caring and that combination is rare." Ms. P., a parent