Halcyon Learning

Bill Baldyga, M.ED.

Certified Educational Therapist

Halcyon Learning

Bill Baldyga, M.ED.

Certified Educational Therapist

Inside every struggling student is a confident learner waiting
to be discovered; and that’s what
Halcyon Learning does. Through individually tailored,
one-on-one instruction we give students of all ages the tools they need
to unlock their full potential.

Why is my child struggling in school?

Many academic problems can be as simple as a typical student not getting proper instruction, or as complex as a student not being able to access classroom instruction because of a learning disability. All students benefit from instruction that is presented in a structured and cumulative manner, from most common to least common elements, working from concrete to more abstract concepts.

When a child struggles in a typical classroom it is usually a combination of strengths and weaknesses in a spectrum of ways that hinders understanding. Some learning disabilities that directly impair learning in the classroom are, but are not limited too, weaknesses with auditory processing, visual processing, memory, and attention. A child may be exceptional at auditory processing skills but struggles with short-term memory. This child would exhibit strong ‘sounding-out’ skills but struggles at remembering spelling patterns and applying spelling rules, thus he would use his strength and spell everything phonetically. This strategy does not take him very far. Instructional dyslexia is experienced when a student has not been given instruction that suits his or her needs. This can be a complete lack of reading instruction or inadequate or inappropriate instruction. Some students learn in a way that they need direct and explicit instruction. Because they learn best by this method does not mean they have a learning disability. Many classrooms do not have time or training to devote to directly instruct many more advanced decoding (reading) patterns and students are left to figure it out on their own.

What is developmental dyslexia?

Developmental dyslexia, is thought to be caused by the way a dyslexic person’s brain has developed and functions. Recent brain imagery studies have shown differences in brain functions between people who do not experience language difficulties and those who do. Dyslexic parents are very likely to have children that are dyslexic.

As defined by the International Dyslexia Association, ‘dyslexia is a language based learning disability’. A person who experiences dyslexia may have difficulty with a single language skill or many. Language skills that are commonly affected include: reading, spelling, writing, and speaking.

Dyslexia is commonly understood to be associated with reversing or inverting letters/numbers such as, b for d and s for z and 9 for 6. Also mirror writing or sometimes called writing backwards is thought to be what dyslexia is. This visual confusion can be part of person’s difficulties with reading/writing but this is not as common or is it the defining characteristic of dyslexia. Most people who experience dyslexia have difficulty processing language. It may take more time than the non-dyslexic to make understandable what they hear. Or it may take them more time to construct their idea into the correct sentence structure, be it verbally or written. A dyslexic person may experience difficulty in one of these areas or all of them. And the range of difficulty may range from slight to severe.

Dyslexia is not due to lack of intelligence or lack of effort from the student. Current research indicates that 20% of the population experiences difficulties with reading. Many very successful people have dyslexia. These people are often are considered gifted.

At Halcyon Learning, we employ the time-proven prescriptive and diagnostic based on the Orton/Gillingham methodology. And then tailor the instruction to meet each student’s individual needs. We believe in this approach for the simple reason that it works. It works quickly enough for students to become excited by their progress and effectively enough to give them learning tools that they can use immediately. Intervention is not meant to be a long-term ordeal. The goal is to get the student back on track and functioning at grade level as soon as possible.

Learning is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.

Every student is different and deserves solutions that are tailor-made to meet their needs. Which is one of the many drawbacks of working with a corporate tutoring center. Not only are the tutors oftentimes underpaid college students who lack expertise but the methods they use are mostly etched in the proverbial stone. While tutors can help with homework – and certainly there’s something to be said for that – they don’t address the deeper, more substantive issues of how to help a truly struggling student.At Halycon Learning, your child will work one-on-one with an academic therapist who has years of experience in helping students navigate their way to success.What’s more, our prescriptive/diagnostic instruction will get your child back on track and working at grade level sooner than other programs.

When a child struggles in a typical classroom it is usually a combination of strengths and weaknesses in a spectrum of ways that hinders understanding. Some learning disabilities that directly impair learning in the classroom are, but are not limited too, weaknesses with auditory processing, visual processing, memory, and attention. A child may be exceptional at auditory processing skills but struggles with short-term memory. This child would exhibit strong ‘sounding-out’ skills but struggles at remembering spelling patterns and applying spelling rules, thus he would use his strength and spell everything phonetically. This strategy does not take him very far. Instructional dyslexia is experienced when a student has not been given instruction that suits his or her needs. This can be a complete lack of reading instruction or inadequate or inappropriate instruction. Some students learn in a way that they need direct and explicit instruction. Because they learn best by this method does not mean they have a learning disability. Many classrooms do not have time or training to devote to directly instruct many more advanced decoding (reading) patterns and students are left to figure it out on their own.

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What makes us different

I come to your home or school and are flexible in terms of scheduling.

Serving Areas Including: Alameda County, San Mateo County, San Francisco County

The professional working with your child has over 20 years of experience working with all types and ages of learners. From pre-schoolers to adults who need to get back on track to students on the autism spectrum. And everyone in-between.

Philosophy

All children have the capacity and desire to do well in school. And, yes, that includes your child. Too often that fact can get lost in the whirl of discouraging parent/teacher conferences and unsatisfactory report cards. Academic success is attainable, both for children with learning disabilities such as dyslexia and for those who are simply not getting proper instruction. It lies with understanding individual strengths and weaknesses, and then giving structured instruction that is developmentally appropriate, systematic, sequential, and based in phonology. Once students are given the tools and insights they need to support their unique way of learning, they thrive. Enthusiasm replaces frustration. Confidence replaces low self-esteem. A happy student replaces a miserable one.  And nothing is better than that.

Biography

I know firsthand the range of emotions a child who is a struggling reader can feel. I was not identified as dyslexic until graduate school. Throughout primary school I was called lazy, unmotivated and told ‘needs to try harder.’ These were explanations teachers and administrators gave to reconcile the fact that they considered me ‘smart’ with the fact that they continued to watch me labor with reading and spelling.I have many years of clinical experience working with students with many types of challenges, from autistic spectrum students, to dyslexic students, to adults who’d like to improve their writing. I have an M.Ed. in Early/Elementary Education from Antioch University and a B.F.A. in Fine Art from San Francisco Art Institute. I earned my educational therapy certification from UCSC and have professional standing with the Association of Educational Therapists, conferred after 1500 hours of certified practice, and have been certified with the California Multi-subject and Single Subject Teaching Credential. I have more than 400 hours of training in Orton/Gillingham based academic language instruction at the Greenwood Institute w/ Louisa Moats and Mike Minsky and at the Durango Mountain Camp w/ Joyce Bilgrave. In addition to my work as an educational therapist, I have been a classroom teacher in public and private schools, working with K – 12 student

To create a love of learning in a child requires an inclusive approach. One that means working closely not just with students, but with their parents and teachers, as well.

When a child struggles in a typical classroom it is usually a combination of strengths and weaknesses in a spectrum of ways that hinders understanding. Some learning disabilities that directly impair learning in the classroom are, but are not limited too, weaknesses with auditory processing, visual processing, memory, and attention. A child may be exceptional at auditory processing skills but struggles with short-term memory. This child would exhibit strong ‘sounding-out’ skills but struggles at remembering spelling patterns and applying spelling rules, thus he would use his strength and spell everything phonetically. This strategy does not take him very far. Instructional dyslexia is experienced when a student has not been given instruction that suits his or her needs. This can be a complete lack of reading instruction or inadequate or inappropriate instruction. Some students learn in a way that they need direct and explicit instruction. Because they learn best by this method does not mean they have a learning disability. Many classrooms do not have time or training to devote to directly instruct many more advanced decoding (reading) patterns and students are left to figure it out on their own.

Testimonials

These are excerpts are from clients past experiences.
A complete review of the entire document(s) is available upon request

Price Schedule:

$125 per session (1 hour)
- Sessions include basic preparation, travel time, email communication with parents and teachers and progress updated upon request.
Each session is 55min long

Initial Reading Assessment:

$325 (without report)
- A complete academic language assessment to determine specific academic areas in need of direct remediation.

$450 (with written report)
- Includes assessment w/ written report: strengths/weaknesses, classroom recommendations, instructional accommodations.

Case Management: $150/hour

- Attending IEP, report writing, classroom observations and consultation.

Resources

Recommended Reading:

  • Hall, Susan L. and Moats, Ed.D., Louisa C. (2002). Parenting a Struggling Reader
  • Hall, Susan L. and Moats, Ed.D., Louisa C. (1999). Straight Talk About Reading
  • Shaywitz, M.D., Sally. (2003). Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level