The Hardman Technique

“If we say that the individual with dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders and related language/learning disabilities like Aspergers have a different nervous system, wouldn’t it stand to reason that we need to teach differently?”  Dr. Patricia Hardman, Founder and CEO.

In 1969 with this philosophy in mind, Dr. Hardman’s research into dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorders and related learning differences led her to develop The Hardman Technique. The Hardman Technique has roots in Orton Gillingham as well as Montessori.  The Hardman Technique is not just an academic program but a total life approach to learning for children who learn differently in all areas of their lives: academically, socially, and emotionally.

Accredited by The International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC) and by International Dyslexia Association (IDA)

The Hardman Technique Training Course is accredited at the Teacher and Trainer of Teacher levels by The International Multisensory Structured Language Education Council (IMSLEC).  IMSLEC is a non-profit corporation formed in 1995 to accredit training programs that prepare specialists in multisensory language programs. This is the ONLY accredited MSLE Teacher Training program in Florida. (www.imslec.org).

The Hardman Technique also meets the International Dyslexia Association Standards for Teachers of Reading.

The Hardman Technique:  Principles of Instructions

Simultaneous Multisensory Techniques:

Our unique learners process information differently and many times something learned one way (spelling words taught orally) is not accessible through another sense (spelling tests with writing). Information at all levels and ages is taught through all the senses: see, say, hear, feel.  This allows the information to develop multiple pathways in the brain, fosters long-term memory, and allows for multiple ways to retrieve the information.

Direct Instruction:

“In my last school the teachers wouldn’t tell me all that I needed to know.” Students with these unique learning patterns often complain about their past school experience. It’s not that teachers weren’t teaching them, but that too often instructors expect the student to infer information or to apply past information to new situations. Students with the language and learning disorders of dyslexia, ADHD, and/or Aspergers are extremely concrete; they have difficulty “reading between the lines” or making inferences. Therefore, they must be taught with a very direct approach in order to learn.

Example of teachers (not at WHA) expecting the student to “read between their lines.”  “You never said anything about a test yesterday,” a student complained. The teacher replied, “Yes, I did. I told you that it would be a good idea to take your notebooks home because there might be a pop quiz today. Everybody else got it.”

At Woodland Hall Academy, one new high school student remarked, “I can’t believe the teachers actually answer my questions. In my last school they either ignored me or told me to come back later. I’d forget my question if I waited too long, and I’d fail what I was doing.”

Systematic and Cumulative:

The Hardman Technique approaches all subjects very systematically. Math is taught in a lock-step method. First, all addition and numeracy skills are taught, and then subtraction, multiplication, and division follow in step. Many times students find strengths in the math area that they did not know they had because previous instruction presented the math processes out of step and with too many concepts at one time. All other classes are taught from this bottom-up skills and concept method, with current skills and concepts constantly building and being connected to new skills and concepts.

Diagnostic Teaching:

Teachers constantly analyze any error patterns or frustrations from the students and then adjust their teaching to fill in the gap or reteach a concept that was not learned the first time. Teachers meet three times a week to discuss individual students and classes and to develop plans, both academic and behavioral, that will allow students to succeed. The emphasis is on success and building from one “bit” of success to another.

Discussing a high school student’s problems with interchanging “have, has and had” in his writing:  “I thought he was having problems because of auditory processing problems – that he didn’t “hear” the ending of the words. As I worked with him this week, I discovered he does not understand the concept of past, present, future tense verbs. I’m adding a section to my lesson plans to teach this to him.” Grammar Teacher

Synthetic and Analytic Instruction:

Many times, students with these language and learning issues learn isolated, individual facts (analysis) but they have tremendous difficulty in putting those facts together or applying the skills they have learned. For example, a student can answer the Who? Did what? When? Where? questions but cannot answer the Why. Or they cannot compare and contrast, draw conclusions, or generate main ideas.

Without the ability to move to synthesis or abstract thinking, both academic and social skills are impeded. The Hardman Technique utilizes strategies to systematically and concretely assist the student in learning how to move into this higher level of thinking and decision making.

Our (9th grade) History course is also a Study Strategies Course. Students have been learning how to recognize author’s clues such as “however, subsequently, next, in order that.” They are also learning to use their good analytical skills in finding details and then turning those details into a main idea so they can develop an outline for studying.”