Dr. Timothy Odegard from Middle Tennessee State University created the video – Dyslexia Overview – which you can access here at Linguistic Foundations; the link is listed below. Dr. Odegard’s video provides the most practical and clear description of Dyslexia that I have seen. It is a short clip – only 9 minutes long – and he explains (in a user-friendly way) the areas of weakness in language and reading that can be present in a person with Dyslexia.
Please watch this video. In fact, try to watch it more than one time if you can. The diagram that Dr. Odegard puts together is very complete, and you may best understand all of the pieces after seeing the video and being able to absorb it a couple of times (I began to appreciate it more after the 2nd & 3rd times I viewed it).
As Dr. Odegard explains, Dyslexia is made up of a combination of language, reading and cognitive weaknesses. Dyslexia can be observed easily when you watch a child or adult struggle to read some text. Her reading will likely have many hesitations and/or errors, and she will expend a great deal of effort as she tries to read. Beyond poor reading fluency, some of the underlying causes of Dyslexia are a little more subtle and harder to see. We can’t always observe difficulties in language, phonological awareness, word reading, decoding, and rapid naming so easily. Testing needs to target all of these vulnerable areas that a person with Dyslexia may have.
Our testing at Linguistic Foundations targets each of the areas that Dr. Odegard discusses – language knowledge, phonological awareness, letter-sound knowledge, word reading, decoding, rapid automatized naming, reading fluency, and reading comprehension.
At Linguistic Foundations our purpose is to identify Dyslexia, other Language-based Learning disabilities, and speech-language issues. As Dr. Odegard explained, about 1 in 5 of all children (and adults) possess Dyslexia. If you are concerned that your child may be Dyslexic or have a language-based learning issue, we can uncover, pinpoint, and describe her strengths and weaknesses. We will also consult with you to build a teaching program that works for the needs of your child.
Once again, take the time to watch Dr. Odegard’s video, Dyslexia Overview. Then please contact us at Linguistic Foundations if you have any questions – about Dr. Odegard’s presentation or more specifically about your child. We will be happy to talk to you and even set up a schedule to consult and test. Thank you very much!
Neurodiversity is a term that is describing a newer perspective on what has been termed ‘disability.’ The concept of Neurodiversity acknowledges that a disability such as Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or Autism brings with it challenges. However, through the perspective of Neurodiversity, a disability is viewed much more as a piece of a person’s entire profile strengths and weaknesses.
It is very appealing to think of a person with ADHD as a person who can multitask and organize and lead a group of people. A person with Dyslexia is also the person may have powerful spoken language skills or the one who can see the solution to a problem before a ‘typical’ person recognizes it.
A person with a disability is really much more than the disability; she also has a collective set of strengths that needs to be included in the entire picture of that person. Obviously, a person with Dyslexia, or specific language disorder, or ADHD needs to be able to have her learning needs addressed. However, the strengths of that person MUST be considered as well. When we can address those needs, then that person really can put those strengths into play.
In our lives, we have probably come across an exceptional carpenter, who we later learned could read at a second or third grade level. That carpenter likely had undiagnosed Dyslexia. If he was identified as a young student and given the appropriate language and reading support, he would likely be able to translate his strengths into the fields of architecture or engineering.
The concept Neurodiversity is very appealing. If we can identify a person’s area of weakness and address it, then that person’s strengths can come to the forefront. We don’t want that person’s weakness to be an overwhelming obstacle to letting her strengths shine through.
Linguistic Foundations is built on the idea that we can identify Language-Based Learning Disabilities – such as Dyslexia – and build a Teaching Plan that can address reading, writing, and language weaknesses. With a Great Teaching Plan followed up by Great Teaching, your child can be able to tap into her strengths. Then she can become a focused and satisfied Life-Long Learner.
Please contact Linguistic Foundations with any questions. We can talk to you about your child’s learning profile. We can also explain how our speech, language, reading, and writing testing may answer the questions you have about your child’s learning. Thank You very much.
To learn more about Neurodiversity, please click on the following links:
Please look at the chart – it seems to say quite a bit!
(Thank you to CPACSS-Canton Parent Advisory Council for Student Services for letting me know about the chart and introducing me to Neurodiversity-I have more to learn about it as well)
There are important bills that are currently trying to make their way through the Massachusetts Legislature this summer to become law – they are labeled as Bills S.294, S.313, H.330, and H.2872. If these bills pass, then schools across Massachusetts will need to fulfill specific requirements to address the needs of children with Dyslexia, which they are not required to fulfill at this time. Other states in New England and around the country are also working through these issues.
Why is this important to know about and understand? Well, many groups of researchers and child advocacy groups are working hard to persuade lawmakers to pass these laws. The reason is that many Dyslexic students are not identified or given the appropriate teaching that they need to become successful readers and writers.
There are many reasons that a child may struggle. One of those reasons could be that she possesses Dyslexia or another type of Language-Based Learning Disability.
As a Parent or Teacher, you are always concerned about the progress and welfare of your child (or student). If your child has struggled to develop Literacy or Language skills as a young student in Kindergarten or Grade 1 – or if your child has demonstrated these difficulties for some years in Middle or High School – you may well be constantly worried. You know the importance of having strong Reading, Writing, and Communication skills in our society today.
If your child is having difficulty with Reading, Writing, or Language, make sure you ask your her school to help you find out why this is happening. What is the reason or reasons?
If you have any questions about your child’s learning, or if you want to learn more about Dyslexia or other Language-Based Learning Disabilities, please contact us at Linguistic Foundations. We can help you answer these questions you have. Also contact us if you are interested in our individualized testing process, where we are trained to meet with your child to specifically answer these questions about her learning.
Thank you very much!
The two most recent Blogs at Linguistic Foundations – on May 6th and May 25th – offered some basic ideas of Reading Comprehension. This Blog will focus on how to better understand your child’s Reading Comprehension strengths-weaknesses and proficiency – and how this understanding can help develop an appropriate instructional plan for her.
Because Reading Comprehension is so closely related to (and dependent on) Spoken Language Comprehension, a child’s spoken language should be fully assessed. There are many smaller domains of spoken language to investigate – vocabulary, understanding sentences, processing paragraph information, recalling details, and higher-level thinking skills. Each of these smaller pieces are important by themselves, and they also work together to help us see the picture of a child’s overall understanding of language.
Reading Comprehension has the same smaller domains of language, and these areas need to be assessed, as well. The same is true for Reading Comprehension as for Spoken Language Comprehension – the smaller domains are important by themselves, and when these pieces are combined, you can get a clearer picture of your child’s overall Reading Comprehension skill. A comparison of Reading Comprehension and Spoken Language Comprehension is important and natural (because they are so closely related).
As was described in the May 25th Blog, the actual process of Decoding and Reading impacts Reading Comprehension. A child who struggles to ‘sound out’ single syllable words, to break down multi-syllable words, or to remember sight words will usually have difficulty reading smoothly and naturally. This is called Reading Fluency, and if a child has difficulty reading fluently, then her Reading Comprehension will most likely be impacted to some degree. In these situations, a child works to compensate for Reading Fluency weaknesses. However, she needs to spend cognitive-thinking energy to do this, which will make Reading Comprehension a more difficult job.
As a result, all of the skills related to Reading Fluency also need to be assessed. When a complete evaluation is done, you can learn how your child’s Reading Comprehension skills compare to her natural Spoken Language, and how those skills are impacted by her Reading Fluency skills.
A full and complete evaluation of your child’s strengths and weaknesses in Reading Comprehension should include assessment of Spoken Language Comprehension, Reading Comprehension, and Reading Fluency skills. In this way, you can help your school to develop an Instructional Plan that accurately and fully addresses your child’s learning profile.
If you have any questions, please contact Linguistic Foundations. We can help you to better understand all of these complicated components of Reading. We can also help you to learn about your child’s learning profile through our testing.
Thank you very much and Happy 4th of July and a special thanks to those who have served Our Country!
Comprehension IS the goal of reading; all the time and energy that a child spends learning different reading skills lead her to understand the texts that she reads. The most recent Blog at Linguistic Foundations on May 6th began to touch upon Comprehension as one of the components of Language that ties closely into Literacy Development.
In our May 6th Blog, the importance and need to assess both Language Comprehension and Reading Comprehension were emphasized. Language Comprehension is really the fundamental piece in the development of Reading Comprehension. A Reading Passage = Language – it can be the rich and flowing Mr. Lincoln’s Way by Patricia Polacco or an informational paragraph that tells the history of Memorial Day. The same pathways in the language areas of the brain that allow a child to listen to a story also give her the chance to understand the texts she reads.
A child who learns to read without a real struggle – and may be considered a typical reader – probably possesses similar levels of skill in Language Comprehension and Reading Comprehension.
A different type of learner may read fluently but have difficulty understanding text. This child may have weakness in Reading Comprehension; it is also quite possible that she possesses wider Language-Learning issues that affect Spoken Language as well as Reading Comprehension.
There are also many different non-language factors that indirectly affect Reading Comprehension. Some of these factors relate to the process of reading fluency. These specific reading skills include phonological awareness, sight word recall, and decoding. Also, cognitive abilities like retrieval, working memory, attention, and organizational skills play unique roles that can affect Reading Comprehension.
A child, who has had difficulty developing phonological awareness, phonics, decoding skills, and/or sight word knowledge, may take great effort to read and yet have little reading fluency. She may have poor Reading Comprehension scores. However, in this case, her low Reading Comprehension may be traced back to poor reading fluency. This child can’t read text efficiently enough to build meaning, even if her natural Comprehension abilities are strong. This is a child who may be Dyslexic.
As Parents and Teachers, we realize that each child possesses a unique learning profile; there are shades of gray all along her profile. Understanding her strengths and weaknesses – and how they affect learning – are the first steps toward making your child a successful learner.
If you have any questions about your child's Reading Comprehension skills, or if you have any concerns related to his or her development of Reading Fluency, Writing, or overall Language, please contact us at Linguistic Foundations. Our complete test process will provide you with a profile of your child's strengths and weaknesses. We can help you develop an instructional plan suited to your child's unique needs as a learner. Thanks very much.
Our most recent Blogs at Linguistic Foundations have focused on some of the Language Skills and Cognitive-Thinking Abilities that are a fundamental part of the Reading and Writing Process.
*Phonological Awareness (Oct.29th, Nov 13th & Dec 12th)
*Knowledge of Sentences
*Retrieval (March 19th)
*Working Memory (April 8th)
This Blog will begin to address Comprehension. Of course, Comprehension is THE goal of Reading. The reason we read is to understand. And as a parent or teacher, we want to know a child’s strengths and weaknesses in this area, so we can teach her most effectively.
(Please open the PDF file below to continue)
Linguistic Foundations will offer Language-based tutoring for the upcoming Summer vacation period. We employ systematic multisensory literacy instruction and language facilitation for students struggling with a Language-Based Learning Disability.
We also provide complete Psycholinguistic Evaluations and Speech-Language assessment throughout the year. As a reading specialist & speech-language pathologist and an IDA-certified Dyslexia Practitioner, I am able to identify and document your child's Language-Based Learning Disability – including Dyslexia. We will develop a thoughtful and appropriate Instructional Plan for your child.
Please refer to the attached PDF for more information. Feel free contact Linguistic Foundations with any questions you have. Thank you very much, and we hope to hear from you soon.
Linguistic Foundation’s March 4th Blog noted some of the Language Skills and Cognitive-Thinking Abilities that are a fundamental part of the Reading and Writing Process.
Language Skills Cognitive Abilities
*Phonological Awareness *Retrieval
*Vocabulary *Working Memory
*Knowledge of Sentences *Organizational Skills
Blogs from October 29th, November 13th, and December 12th related directly to Phonological Awareness. Retrieval was described on March 19th. This Blog will touch upon Working Memory (I want to acknowledge that I am not expert on the complex mechanisms of the neuroscience of memory and will provide a rough outline of working memory as it relates to literacy).
Working Memory weakness is often a factor for a student with Dyslexia or other Language-Based Learning Disability. Memory is, of course, crucial for learning. But the term Memory also refers to different thinking abilities. Long-term Memory, for example, helps us recall events to retell stories and to remember vocabulary we have learned. Working Memory refers to an immediate, brief, and mostly unconscious capacity to maintain information. The Working part of Working Memory means that we perform some thinking process on that information while we have it in mind.
Working Memory most easily shows it itself in some of the fundamental Language-based activities that a student does. She needs Working Memory to keep all the sounds of a word in mind (/c/-/a/-/t/>cat or /com/-/pute/>compute) or to accurately recall and work with grammar and sentence structure.
A student who possesses Working Memory weakness may attempt to decode or sound-out dog. By the time she reaches the /g/-sound, she has lost the /d/ and only recalls og (/d/-/o/-/g/>og).
Working Memory may also affect a student’s grammar development because of difficulty keeping grammatical endings and word order in mind. Recalling and completing a process (such as a recipe or set of directions) may also be limited by Working Memory considerations.
Working Memory ability gives a clue as to how complex Literacy development and growth is. It is an ability that all of us possess, and we generally are born with a specific capacity or level of natural ability. While we can improve our Vocabulary or Phonological Awareness knowledge, we generally have to work with the Working Memory capacity with which we were born.
A student with Working Memory weakness can be successful Readers and Writers, but all aspects of her learning need to be adapted to allow her to overlearn some information or to bypass Working Memory weaknesses.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child, whether she is an early reader, a middle/high school student, or post-secondary learner, please contact Linguistic Foundations. We can help to clarify how Working Memory can be impacting your child in school. Our Evaluation Process can also clarify your child’s Language- and Literacy-based learning and help you develop an effective Instructional Plan for your child. Thank you very much!
Some of the fundamental Language Skills and Cognitive Abilities needed to be a proficient Reader and Writer were mentioned in Linguistic Foundation’s most recent Blog on March 4th. These are not the only skills a student needs (Attention is another important example) but the Reading and Writing processes depend on these skills and abilities working together.
Language Skills Cognitive Abilities
*Phonological Awareness *Retrieval
*Vocabulary *Working Memory
*Knowledge of Sentences *Organizational Skills
Blogs from October 29th, November 13th, and December 12th related directly to Phonological Awareness. Retrieval will be the described in this Blog.
Retrieval refers to a person’s ability to access and ‘pull up’ information that she knows. A lot is being learned about Retrieval and how it relates to reading and writing development.
A form of Retrieval that is being found to be crucial to all Readers is sometimes called Rapid Naming. Rapid Naming describes how well a student can automatically name (or label) familiar items such as letters or numbers. A student should be able to name these items that she knows from a page automatically without having to think about it. A student who struggles with this ability has to actively think about the name for each item, which takes time and energy.
A student naming a group of letters or numbers from a list is not the same as reading. However, the ability to complete an activity like this is related to some important Reading Skills. A student who seems to take longer time to ‘learn’ letters of the alphabet, the sounds of the letters, and even sight words may actually have a weakness in Retrieval. It may be that that she recognizes the letters/sounds and sight words but has difficulty bringing the names for these pieces of information to the surface to say them. An example is a student who has to ‘sound out’ the word have each time she sees it in a story; she may simply not easily recall the name of this sight word.
A way that I think about it is like this:
Naming letters, saying sounds, and reading sight words should automatically come to mind in the same way that a fishing bobber might rise to the surface and float on water. All that you need to do is look at it and recognize it. For a student who struggles to Retrieve, the ‘bobber’ (the name of the letter, the sound, or sight word) does not rise to the surface; instead she has to put her hand in the water to find it and get it (like the word have from the example above). It takes a lot more time and energy to do it this way.
Being able to read well depends on moving along across a page sort-of effortlessly. This way, a student does not have to spend energy reading words. Instead, she can concentrate on the meaning of the text she is reading. A student with a Retrieval or Rapid Naming weakness is always searching to name the sounds and sight words that she actually knows in order to read the words. It can really slow the reading process down and will heavily affect how she can understand what she reads. This Retrieval weakness, of course, can have long-term affects – long after a student has ‘learned to read’ in the early grades.
If you have any questions about this complicated and subtle thinking ability, please feel free to contact Linguistic Foundations. We are happy to speak with you have about this topic, along with any questions you may have. We can also give you more information about our test process if you are trying to learn more about your child's learning. Thank you very much!
A Reader and Writer needs to have a full set of skills in place to be proficient. Some of these skills are based on Language Development and some are Cognitive-learning Abilities.
These are some of the Language Skills
*Knowledge of Sentences
*Higher-level Language and Metalinguistics
Cognitive-learning Abilities that relate to Literacy are
Every child – at any age – has a profile of strengths and weaknesses in all of these areas. A student who may possess a Language-Based Learning Disability, such as Dyslexia, will have some specific areas of weakness that have impacted her development of Reading and Writing.
Your child’s combination of strengths and weaknesses in Language and Cognitive abilities leads to the Literacy Skills you see every day in your child.
These Literacy Skills include
-Decoding -Word Attack (of multi-syllable words)
-Sight Word Recall -Awareness of Context Clues
-Reading Fluency -Reading Comprehension
-Monitoring Comprehension -Critical Thinking
-Spelling (also called Encoding) -Sentence & Paragraph construction
A Kindergarten student needs to have a different balance of skills and abilities in place than a Middle School student or a High Schooler, but every student ultimately needs all of these skills (and others, as well).
During the next several Blogs, we will try to address each of these Language and Cognitive-learning abilities, and how they impact Literacy. Blogs from October 29th, November 13th, and December 12th related directly to Phonological Awareness. Please refer to those dates to read more about this crucial language skill.
Determining a child’s strengths and weaknesses - in both Language and Cognitive-learning - are fundamental to clearly identifying a Language-Based Learning Disability, such as Dyslexia. Please contact us at Linguistic Foundations if you would like to speak about your child or if you would like to learn more about the assessment services we provide. Thank you very much!