The Orton-Gillingham Approach was developed by the neurologist, Dr. Samuel Torrey Orton and, later, his colleague, educator Anna Gillingham, specifically for the dyslexic student. It has withstood the test of time, having been successfully used with thousands of dyslexic students for more than 70 years. In recent years this multi-sensory structured language approach has been independently validated by modern research using Positron Emission Tomography (PET scans) and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), as well as studies by the National Institutes of Health at Haskins Laboratory at Yale University and at 17 other universities.
Orton-Gillingham is an approach, not a method. This means that it is flexible and focuses on the needs of the individual student. While the therapist or clinical educator carefully constructs each lesson in advance, he/she is able to make appropriate changes in the moment when needed. This is called diagnostic teaching. This requires a highly trained experienced practitioner who has mastered both the theory and the practice of Orton-Gillingham. A method, on the other hand, 1) uses the same pre-packaged lessons for all students, 2) all students begin at the same point and 3) they must all proceed at the same pace.