LiFLexia© – Light Flow Lexical Approach: A pioneer approach for the development of writing, reading and spelling skills of dyslexic students. Designed to remedy -disorders of writing, reading and spelling meet the needs of pupils of varying levels of ability apply to individuals or small groups

LiFLexia© is based on a structured phonetic linguistic approach and it can be used with children from 6 to 18 years of age. It is designed to enable specialist teachers to improve the cognitive weaknesses of children with Specific Learning Difficulties.

– Visual memory
– Auditory Memory
– Phonological awareness
– Auditory discrimination
– Automized naming

LiFLexia© was created due to the growing awareness that a number of pupils have not been making the expected progress in reading and writing skills despite their obvious intellectual capacity. Some of the pupils have come to be known as language disabled or dyslexics.

The predominant view to date is that dyslexia is associated with phonological difficulties originating within spoken language processes. Since phoneme segmentation skill is required to develop literacy within an alphabetic writing system, a child who does not process this ability at the critical time fails  to learn to read and spell.

Focusing attention on the consequences of dyslexic responses to spelling, writing and reading an intensive five-year research programme was set up at the New Hope Private special School in Cyprus by Dr Eleni Rossides (Special Education/ Educational Psych.) and ran from 1991 to 1996. This led to the gradual development ofLiFLexia© through the use of an electronic letter display unit in which aimed to:

– Increase visual memory for better word recognition and minimise failure to recognise words on print
– Alleviate auditory confusion a minimising disordered spelling
– Eliminate visual-motor tracking problems so that pupils do not loose their place when reading, spelling or copying

Maximum benefit is gained through a presentation of red letter characters that flow on a display unit one by one to form words. The pupils find it attractive, enjoyable and a novel way to improve their reading and spelling skills

A dyslexic student needs a structured, cumulative approach in which reading, writing and spelling are integrated. Reading, writing and spelling skills through the use of LiFLexiaA© are gained by systematically building up letter sounds into syllables and then into words. LiFLexia© also facilitates the adaptation of teaching and learning to meet individual and/or group needs.

LiFLexia© provides valuable long-term effects and can be operated within a group situation because it can suit a group comprising pupils with similar difficulties. Any specialised approach associated with the teaching of dyslexic pupils which aims to improve awareness of the sound symbol relationship as well as to segment words into the units of onset to reach a level of automaticity can be implemented through the use of the LiFLexiaA© device

– Gives pupil the opportunity to learn in a way that is appropriate to him/her
– Focuses the pupil™s attention in an analytical way
– Enables the pupil to retrieve phonological codes stored in long-term memory
– Brings the pupil to a substantial level of automaticity without a great deal of over-learning

When using LiFLexia© a thorough knowledge of the learning processes in the areas of reading, writing and spelling as well as knowledge of the problems various pupils with specific learning difficulties encounter is required. LiFLexiaA© is designed to be used by qualified teachers and teachers that are trained on the structured multisensory teaching as well as other professionals involved in the field of learning difficulties, after receiving training. It can also be used in ordinary schools where teaching support services are provided and are specifically geared to specific learning difficulties.

Above all, when LiFLexia© is appropriately applied dyslexic pupils acquire skills in an enjoyable manner, thus discovering that they have the capacity to achieve outcomes that exceed their expectations.

Structured training activities 

a. Improve Visual Memory

Step 1: selected words involving either combination of letters, consonant blends or vowel/consonant diagraphs are programmed by the teacher on the LiFLexia© device through the use of a computer keyboard giving appropriate key commands.

Step 2: when teaching session begins the teacher dictates the pupil the words already inserted on the LiFLexia© device. The teacher puts aside the spelling sample without correcting it.

Step 3: the teacher starts the message inserted previously on the device and the pupil begins to say aloud the single-letter sound of each letter, as one by one flows through the screen. The combination of letters, the consonant blends, the vowel/consonant diagraphs or the final syllables are programmed to appear on screen as a whole, thus the pupil is required to say the sound of these as whole and not individually. When the word is completed on the screen, the pupil is requested to pronounce it as a whole.

Step 4: correct responses are demonstrated to the learner in case of failure in the process

Step 5: the teacher turns off message through the use of a control key on the keyboard and dictates the pupil the words mastered on the screen

Step 6: the teacher turns on message again and requests the pupil to check his/her spelling

Step 7: the pupil is then encouraged to compare the first dictation given at the beginning of the teaching session with the last one

b. Improve Auditory Sequential Memory

Follow the first 2 steps of a œImprove Visual Memory variation

Step 3: both pupil and teacher use headphones. The teacher starts the message inserted previously on the device and begins to say aloud the single-letter sound of each letter as the pupil hears, sees and repeats through the microphone. The combination of letters, the consonant blends or the vowel consonant diagraphs are pronounced as a whole by the teacher and the pupil repeats. When the word is completed on the screen the teacher pronounces it and the pupil repeats it

Step 4: as the message flows through for a second time, the pupil is requested to try to follow the same procedure without the teacher™s aid, with the teacher becoming a listener

Step 5: correct response is demonstrated to the learner in case of failure in the process

Step 6: the teacher turns off message using a control key on the keyboard, both pupil and teacher take off headphones and the pupil is dictated the words mastered on the screen
Follow steps 6 and 7 of the Improve Visual Memory variation to complete the activity

c. Improve Short – Term memory

Follow steps 1 and 2 of the Improve Visual Memory variation

Step 3: before the teacher starts message inserted on the device he/she tells the pupil to remember as many words presented on the screen as possible

Step 4: Follow steps 3 and 4 either from Improve Visual Memory or from Improve Auditory Sequential Memory variation according to pupils abilities

Step 5: the teacher turns off message using a control key on the keyboard and asks the pupil to write as many words from memory as possible

Step 6: the teacher turns on message again and asks the pupil to write any words which he/she didna™t include copying from the device

Step 7: the pupil is then asked to check his/her spelling as the message flows through

Step 8: the pupil is the encouraged to compare his first dictation with the last one

d. Improve Eye-Hand Coordination

Step 1: follow step 1 and 2 from any variations a, b or c

Step 2: pupil is asked to say aloud the single a letter sound of each letter as one by one flow through the screen and write it down as the word forms

Step 3: as the message runs through a second time the pupil is asked to check his spelling and letter formation and correct it if needed. The teacher™s assistance might be needed in case of failure in the process

Step 4: the student is encouraged to compare his first sample with the last one
The speed with which the letters move across the display unit can be set by the teacher as well as the time delay between a completed word and the first letter of the next word. As a pupil becomes proficient on a certain speed the teacher can increase the speed of each successive letter travelling across the screen as well as reduce the time delay for the next word to appear. This enables the pupil to improve speed and accuracy when copying

e. Forming Words

Step 1: the teacher selects either a combination of letters that make a certain sound or a consonant blend and inserts it on the LiFLexia© device

Step 2: the pupil is encouraged to think and say as many words as possible, beginning with the sound, or the sound within the word, depending on the teacher™s objective

Step 3: as he/she says the words the teacher writes them down

Step 4: any of the a, b, c, d variations can be implemented afterwards depending on the teacher™s objective.

LiFLexiaA© – The Future…

LiFLexia© is currently undergoing development for the production of a PC version that will make the method easily available not only for in-class applications but also as an essential tool for individual application by the student at home.

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