This article was originally published in the Mitchell County News Journal.
If you drive out Cane Creek on a summer morning, you can almost hear the laughter of kids playing off in the distance. Camp Spring Creek is a place where children with dyslexia can hammer bottle caps to create a musical instrument, work on a paintball shield, inner tube in the pool or down the creek, practice tumbling routines, hike up the mountain, learn about local birds and build a house for them to live in, scavenger hunt, singe songs, roast marshmallows, and sit by the campfire at night listening to stories told by staff members.
Camp Spring Creek is also a place where, every day, these children receive one-on-one tutoring using the Orton-Gillingham approach of teaching the structure of language; spend an hour reading aloud, another studying their newly learned language skills; and yet another developing their writing skills on the computer. Their days are filled from mornign to evenign when they drift off listening to the next chapter of their favorite book.
Co-founder Susie van der Vorst offers, "So many people with dyslexia are misunderstood...they are often mistaken for slow learners or just not trying hard enough. Reality is that dyslexic kids can learn very quickly if they are taught the information using a method they can understand." And the Orton-Gillingham approach is the one Camp Spring Creek uses.
Developed by Samuel Torrey Orton and Anna Gillingham back in the 1920's, the O-G approach, as it is called, teaches kids the structure of language in a way that leads them to see, hear, and write out a concept all at the same time. Each child is treated as a unique learner, each requires and receives the individualized teaching necessary to help that child succeed.
"Because of the dedication of our excellent staff, and the power behind the Orton-Gillingham approach, we often see students make two to three years worth of progress during a six-week session. The kids love it, and they learn." However, Camp Spring Creek is seasonal and there are over 6,500 students, 20 percent of them living with some sort of language challenge, in Mitchell, Yancey, and Avery counties. All reasons for Susie van der Vorst's push to educate more people in the area.
On Thursday, February 16, from 5:30-7pm, Susie will present an explanation with demonstration, entitled, "Dispelling the Myths of Dyslexia" at Mountainside Wine in Spruce Pine. The hour and a half discussion will broaden public knowledge surrounding dyslexia, a hidden disability.
Few know that there are 15 myths about dyslexia, the one out of five people who live with it, and the condition that sometimes hides away in the edges of their day. Come find out what these myths are, how to notice them, and what we can do about them!
Camp Spring Creek will provide appetizers and sweat tea; Mountainside Wine will offer a variety of wines. Call CSC at 828-766-5032 or go to the Facebook page, Camp Spring Creek, for more information.