Do you remember a special teacher who boosted your confidence, gave you a zest for learning, and made you feel like a million bucks? Then you’ve met a gifted and enthusiastic educator just like The Open Door’s Assessment Specialist, Pam Graydon—specialized educator—with extensive experience in assessing and teaching students with learning disabilities.
As the Open Door’s Assessment Specialist, Pam carries out full, detailed Dyslexia Screenings and shorter Assessments, which target one or two specific learning issues. Here’s the difference:
The Dyslexia Screenings involve a one-hour intake interview, a review of the student’s education documents, two assessment sessions, a detailed written report and a one-hour feedback session.
Assessments are performed when a parent requests more information on a specific learning challenge facing their child. Typically, assessments focus on just one or two learning issues.
“I love doing these screenings and assessments,” says Pam “because I feel like a detective, gathering information and solving a mystery. After I administer the tests and identify the student’s foundational weaknesses, the solutions become clear. It gives me so much satisfaction and joy to be able offer concrete solutions!”
What inspired Pam to become an educator?
Pam began teaching after earning her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, then her Bachelor of Education, and Special qualifications to teach special education. She was inspired to become an educator during her university years when she saw the enormous potential of developmentally disabled individuals and the lack of educational services for them.
Following her post-secondary education and several years of teaching children with developmental disabilities, Pam switched to teaching children with learning disabilities. Over the next 22 years, she taught specialized learning and language classes for children with the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. She worked with Speech Pathologists, assessing students for learning disabilities, and honing her own skills by taking many additional courses in special education. These included courses on social-emotional needs, learning disabilities and language delays and disabilities and culminated with her achieving her certification as a Special Education Specialist. “I took more university-level courses in psychology,” Pam says, “because I wanted to stay up to date on the latest developments in cognitive psychology and neuropsychology.”
Achieving success with the Orton-Gillingham approach
Pam fondly recalls a bright young student in her Grade 4 Language Learning Disability class whose phonological awareness was at a pre-school level, who had also become selective mute and prone to behavioural outbursts due to his anxiety. After one year of teaching him with the Orton-Gillingham methods, his phonemic awareness soared, his class participation improved, and he was able to read and write simple words. “Best of all,” she says, “his emotional outbursts subsided and he became an enthusiastic learner.”
“Thank you for never giving up on me!”
Pam retired from teaching after 27 years but it didn’t take long for her to miss the wonderful feeling of making a difference in students’ lives. Then, this inspirational message arrived from one of her former student’s and Pam immediately applied to the Open Door:
“You were like the only teacher who ever believed in us and you made school fun, so my greatest wish is to thank you for never giving up on kids like me!”
The Open Door hired Pam as a tutor and promoted her to Assessor Specialist to answer the company’s increasing demand for dyslexia screening and assessment services.
“Pam is a wealth of information, loves her job and brings so much knowledge and experience to her assessments—we are so lucky to have her!” says Heather Desjardins, Owner and Founder of the Open Door.
To arrange a Dyslexia Screening or an Assessment with Pam Graydon, please reach out to The Open Door.
For more ODES links about Dyslexia Screenings and Assessments see:
- Differences between Dyslexia Screening and Psychological Education Assessment
- Book Review: Dyslexia: A Complete Guide for Parents and Those Who Help Them by Gavin Reid
- October is Dyslexia Awareness Month—Understand the challenges of dyslexia
- Accommodation, Modification, and Remediation…What?
- Getting to Remediation: Diagnosing Dyslexia
- Approaching the teacher about your child’s dyslexia
Marion May is the Blog Curator and Content Writer for The Open Door blog as well as a reading and spelling tutor for The Open Door, tutoring children between the ages of seven and 10. Her blog content is “local, organic and specific” and is relevant for parents of children with dyslexia.
Marion formerly tutored teenaged students in a literacy remediation program at Sir Guy Carleton Secondary School in Ottawa. She also worked as a paid fundraiser and grant proposal writer for The Excellence in Literacy Foundation, a national non-profit aimed at helping marginalized youth. She began her career in radio broadcasting and news writing and has worked in the area of promotional writing for several federal government departments and agencies, including the National Research Council.
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