About Jane Milan
Jane Milan, who has dyslexia and ADHD, did not have auditory and speech perception at 25 years old. Prior to remediation, she relied on rote memory, and frankly, the red online spell checker. Once that was remediated, she was able to read unfamiliar vocabulary words and comprehend information at a doctorate level.
Jane Milan’s own experience as a dyslexic and years of absorbing research in the area (particularly the Orton-Gillingham approach) underscored the importance of explicitly-delivered literacy. Jane learned first hand that literacy cannot be left to chance. According to Jane, "The genetics of the method is hundreds of dyslexic students, forcing me, challenging me to make the best program for them."
When she started teaching an Orton-Gillingham system, she was always asking "how can this be better? How can I make this easier? How can I teach this particular child? How can I take what I’ve got, the tool, and bend it in a way that it will reach this child?" So, she took what she knows, and a relentless drive to make it accessible for others, and then came "years of making something accessible to a particular student, and then bringing that success to other students until I ran up against another ‘how do I make this accessible to THIS student?’ then taking that."
It was this process of building upon 25 years of working with children that led to our Milan Method program as it is today, but without her dyslexia, without her relentless pursuit of the why--it would not exist. Jane's ADHD is another element that shapes Milan Method activities--as she says, "it is one of the reasons why the method is designed to move quickly because I get bored doing the same thing for more than 5 minutes. I brought that in because most of my students are ADD and ADHD."
Jane knows firsthand that not all dyslexics are gifted in the same way, so part of her approach to teaching is to “help each student, as we move through the literacy process, to understand their individual gifts and to see how being dyslexic is truly a superpower.” Part of the way that she achieves this is by sharing stories about her own trials and triumphs in literacy and life and training others to do the same.
As Jane puts it, "those of us who are dyslexic sharing our stories, sharing our gifts, and then being able to help a student see--you know, your ability to draw, your ability to paint--this is a gift, this is because of your dyslexia. This is unique for you. And by helping a dyslexic see how their gifts are related to their struggles with literacy, with reading and spelling...once you have taught a child how to read and spell, they can go on then to utilize this skillset to help them further develop the gifts that they were given, because they were lucky enough to be born dyslexic."