Literacy Series Post #5: Multi Sensory Language Education (MSLE), Reading Instruction, and the Orton-Gillingham Method

April 2, 2013

Studies show that children with dyslexia or related speech sound disorders need a multi-sensory approach to reading. Multi-sensory education incorporates three learning pathways, which are: auditory (hearing), kinesthetic (touching or moving), and visual (seeing). This approach is beneficial not only for students with dyslexia, but for all learners. It can be implemented in a large group setting as well as with individuals, small groups and at-risk populations.

Multi-Sensory Language Education

The content of Multi-Sensory Language Education (MSLE) includes phonology and phonological awareness; sound-symbol association; syllable instruction; morphology; syntax; and semantics.  The method of instruction includes techniques that are simultaneous and multisensory; systematic and cumulative; directly taught; diagnostically taught; synthetic and analytic in principle.

Content

  1. Phonology and Phonological Awareness: this means the study of sounds.  A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a language; to understand the internal linguistic structure of words one has to be able to distinguish these discrete pieces.
  2. Sound-Symbol Association: this is the understanding that arbitrary marks on a page stand for particular sounds in a language.
  3. Syllable Instruction: a syllable is a single burst of phonemes which must include one – but only one – vowel sound and a single consonant or consonant cluster, e.g., /sp/.
  4. Morphology: a morpheme is the smallest unit of meaning in a language.  Any suffix or prefix is a morpheme, carrying its own meaning, as is the base word or root word.  Thus, “run” is one morpheme; “running” has two morphemes.
  5. Syntax: this is the set of principles that dictate the sequence of words in a sentence a well as their function.  Grammar, sentence variation and the mechanics of language are syntactical elements.
  6. Semantics: the aspect of language that concerns itself with meaning.  Since comprehension is the goal of literacy, semantic information is included at every level of a lesson from the very beginning.

Method

  1. Simultaneous, Multisensory:  this teaching uses all available sensory pathways – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic-tactile; all are employed together to enhance memory and learning.
  2. Systematic and Cumulative:  teaching material must be organized to follow the natural order of language, beginning with the easiest and progressing methodically to subsequent elements.  Learning builds from simple to complex, never skipping steps.
  3. Direct Instruction:  instructors never assume something will be inferred.  Every element is presented directly, and involves continuous student-teacher interaction.
  4. Diagnostic teaching:  every instructional session is in a sense an assessment, and based on the daily assessment of a student’s needs, the teacher knows what to prescribe for the following lesson.
  5. Synthetic and Analytic Instruction:  teachers show how to bring the elements of language together to form a meaningful whole (synthetic – bringing together) as well as separately presenting the whole and showing how to break it into its parts (analytic – taking apart).  This is “critical thinking”.

Using the Orton-Gillingham approach, a multi-sensory reading method, our reading teacher systematically builds your child’s reading skills through tactile, kinesthetic, oral, visual, and auditory modalities. The Orton-Gillingham approach incorporates the five components essential to effective reading intervention: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, fluency, and comprehension strategies. These are essential skills to prepare for school and life-long learning. Your child will learn:

Left-right orientation

Spelling patterns

Word order

Encoding (writing)

Letter and sound association

Sight words

Word parts

Fine motor skills*

Sequencing

Sound and word patterns

Fluency

Letter formation

*CSLOT occupational therapists are available to provide support/consultation in these areas.

If you think your child needs Multi-Sensory Language Education, visit our appointment page to book a literacy evaluation.


Literacy Series Post #4: Fast ForWord

March 26, 2013

Fast ForWord
A critical first step in CSLOT’s literacy program is Fast ForWord, from Scientific Learning, Inc. Fast ForWord is a computer-based program that that takes your child through a series of age-appropriate, highly motivating computer games, building skills necessary for learning to read. Many speech- and language-impaired children have difficulty with the auditory perceptual task of discriminating between speech sounds. To remediate these foundational discrimination problems, the Fast ForWord software slows down speech so the brain has more time to perceive the acoustic differences between the speech sounds. Playing the games at home for 8-12 weeks, supported by weekly parent consultations with CSLOT’s Fast ForWord specialist, your child will learn to discriminate speech sounds, and as he progresses, the software gradually returns to natural sounding speech.

Fast ForWord Language v2

The Language series develops listening accuracy, phonological awareness, and language structures and moves elementary students who are reading below grade level toward grade level reading skills.

Fast ForWord Language to Reading v2

The Language to Reading series emphasizes the link between spoken and written language to guide young students to become proficient grade level readers.

For more information about Fast ForWord, please visit the Fast ForWord page on our website by clicking here.


Literacy Series Post 3: Speech Sound Disorders

March 19, 2013

Speech Sound Disorders: Articulation and Phonological Processing

A speech sound disorder (SSD) is a broad classification of disorders affecting a child’s (and sometimes adult’s) ability to communicate. Though all children make mistakes when learning new words and sounds, a disorder occurs when the child reaches a certain age and is still making certain mistakes. A speech-language pathologist (SLP) can help treat and possibly cure SSDs. The two main types of SSDs are articulation and phonological disorders.

Articulation Disorders

Articulation disorders are characterized by substitution, distortion, omission or addition of sounds in words. A child with an articulation disorder will have difficulty learning how to physically produce certain sounds. One of the more common articulation problems is the inability for a child to produce the “r” sound. The “r” is often substituted with “w,” like saying “twee,” instead of “tree.” A lisp also is a common articulation distortion.

An SLP can teach a patient new ways to produce sounds (for example, changing the placement of the tongue when making certain sounds). Sounds in different words are practiced in repetition, until they become natural for the speaker.

Phonological Process Disorders

Phonological process disorder is marked by a set pattern of sound errors. A child with a phonological process disorder will have difficulties learning the sound system. He or she may not realize that certain different sounds have different meanings. A common example is replacing the “d” sound with a “g”; saying “dot,” for example, instead of “got.” Children with this disorder may be able to hear the sound distinction in other peoples’ voices, but be unaware when they make the distortion.

An SLP will design a program involving studying and repeating words that differ only by one sound to indicate how different sounds signify different meanings. The suggested exercises will generalize age-appropriate phonological patterns.

In many cases, the reason that speech sound disorders occur is unknown, but recent research has shown that weaknesses in phonological awareness and word reading demonstrated by children with SSDs could be at least partially explained by their difficulties with phonological representation, implicating the brain’s auditory processing system.

Many children outgrow the problem, but those who cannot learn to produce sounds correctly, or do not learn the rules of speech on their own, need intervention.  A speech evaluation by an SLP will help decide if the child if the child will outgrow the problem.  There are many factors which will help decide if a child is in need of therapy.  One important consideration is the child’s degree of unintelligibility and how it restricts him from communicating with his family and peers.  A very verbal child who is difficult to understand can often feel frustrated and may respond by withdrawing from the effort of communication.

At CSLOT, we believe it is critical for our Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)to provide interventions that comprehensively integrate training in speech perception, speech production, phonological awareness, phonics, and direct reading instruction.

Your child’s speech therapist will support your child’s auditory processing in the area of phonemic awareness by teaching your child how to play with sounds in words, manipulating and changing them in many ways, while speech therapy will show your child how to produce the speech sounds correctly.

To set up an evaluation for your child, please visit our appointment page.


Literacy Series Post 2: Phonological Awareness

February 25, 2013

Phonological Awareness

What is Phonological Awareness?

  • Awareness of sounds in a language
  • Awareness of rhymes
  • Awareness that sentences can be broken down into words, syllables, and sounds
  • Ability to talk about, reflect upon, and manipulate sounds
  • Understanding the relationship between written and spoken language

Phonological awareness consists of skills that typically develop gradually and sequentially through the late preschool period.  They are developed with direct training and exposure. Phonological awareness is a key component of learning to read.

What are Phonological Awareness skills?

•    Detecting rhyme and alliteration (use of similar consonants)
•    Identifying rhymes and words that start/end with the same sounds
•    Segmenting words into smaller units, such as syllables and sounds, by counting them
•    Blending separated sounds into words
•    Understanding that words are made up of sounds represented by symbols or letters
•    Manipulating sounds in words by adding, deleting, or substituting

If your child has a speech sound disorder and is 4 or older and not displaying these skills, visit our appointment page to set up an evaluation for your child with one of our SLP’s. 

 


Literacy– Speech Sound Disorders and Reading Problems

February 20, 2013

Most children who struggle with reading are those with a history of Speech Sound Disorders (SSD). In addition to having difficulty saying the speech sounds of the language, children with Speech Sound Disorders need more time to process speech sounds and tend to have difficulty identifying and manipulating them, important aspects of phonological awareness. When it comes to learning to read, children with SSD have difficulty decoding words because they do not have mental representations of how to make the associated sounds for the symbols of the alphabet. Learning to read, for these children, starts with learning to make speech sound distinctions and recognizing patterns in the words they hear.

A speech sound disorder (SSD) is a broad classification of disorders affecting a child’s (and sometimes adult’s) ability to communicate. Though all children make mistakes when learning new words and sounds, a disorder occurs when the child reaches a certain age and is still making certain mistakes. A speech-language pathologist (SLP) can help treat and possibly cure SSDs. The two main types of SSDs are articulation and phonological disorders

Articulation and Phonological Processes

Articulation disorders are characterized by substitution, distortion, omission or addition of sounds in words. A child with an articulation disorder will have difficulty learning how to physically produce certain sounds. One of the more common articulation problems is the inability for a child to produce the “r” sound. The “r” is often substituted with “w,” like saying “twee,” instead of “tree.” A lisp also is a common articulation distortion.

An SLP can teach a patient new ways to produce sounds (for example, changing the placement of the tongue when making certain sounds). Sounds in different words are practiced in repetition, until they become natural for the speaker.

Phonological process disorder is marked by a set pattern of sound errors. A child with a phonological process disorder will have difficulties learning the sound system. He or she may not realize that certain different sounds have different meanings. A common example is replacing the “d” sound with a “g”; saying “dot,” for example, instead of “got.” Children with this disorder may be able to hear the sound distinction in other peoples’ voices, but be unaware when they make the distortion.

An SLP will design a program involving studying and repeating words that differ only by one sound to indicate how different sounds signify different meanings. The suggested exercises will generalize age-appropriate phonological patterns.

In many cases, the reason that speech sound disorders occur is unknown, but recent research has shown that weaknesses in phonological awareness and word reading demonstrated by children with SSDs could be at least partially explained by their difficulties with phonological representation, implicating the brain’s auditory processing system.

Many children outgrow the problem, but those who cannot learn to produce sounds correctly, or do not learn the rules of speech on their own, need intervention.  A speech evaluation by an SLP will help decide if the child if the child will outgrow the problem.  There are many factors which will help decide if a child is in need of therapy.  One important consideration is the child’s degree of unintelligibility and how it restricts him from communicating with his family and peers.  A very verbal child who is difficult to understand can often feel frustrated and may respond by withdrawing from the effort of communication.

At CSLOT, we believe it is critical for our Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs)to provide interventions that comprehensively integrate training in speech perception, speech production, phonological awareness, phonics, and direct reading instruction.

Your child’s speech therapist will support your child’s auditory processing in the area of phonemic awareness by teaching your child how to play with sounds in words, manipulating and changing them in many ways, while speech therapy will show your child how to produce the speech sounds correctly.

To set up an evaluation for your child, please visit our appointment page.


Social-Pragmatic Skills and Autism Spectrum Disorders

December 17, 2012

Social pragmatic skills help individuals engage in social interaction with others. Many of us grasped the unwritten rules that govern our behavior in the social environment early on in our lives. However, individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have difficulties learning these rules. In fact, social-pragmatics is often considered a core challenge for these children. The “hidden” social expectations can make social interaction a confusing experience. Therefore, many professionals and parents may want to help children with ASD develop a variety of skills that fall within the social-pragmatic realm. Nonetheless, before we start, we need to first sort out important conversational skills and find ways to assess children’s performance.

Social pragmatic skills involve not only one’s ability to communicate intent, but also knowledge of discourse management, register variation, presupposition, and other social skills. Discourse Management involves managing the conversation to keep it flowing and effective. Conversation partners need to agree on turn allocation, which involves identifying turn-taking opportunities and limiting one’s talking to one’s turn. They stay on the topic unless there is a signal by a communication partner that he/she is going to change the topic. Knowledge of topic maintenance includes knowing how to smoothly switch to a new topic. When conversation breakdown occurs, one needs to recognize it and use subsequent repair strategies such as repeat, rephrase, or adding information to aid communication. Register variation includes politeness/social role recognition, as people change their word choices, sentence forms, vocal tone and gestures/body posture to adjust to social roles in various discourse patterns. Presupposition, or perspective-taking, involves making assumptions about what other people know. People learn to understand everyone has different thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and take this into account during the conversation. Paralinguistics refers to the use of prosody, gaze, gestures, and physical proximity to show interest in the interaction, convey different layers of meanings and monitor the nonverbal communication of the partner. Social behaviors involve use of facial expressions, conventional gestures, and social actions that are expected in one’s culture, such as dressing appropriately for an occasion, offering to share something, assisting someone who needs help, patiently waiting for a turn in a game, etc.

Children with ASD may be able to fluently express their intention, but they often face difficulties in their social interaction with lack of proficiency of more than one skill listed above.

Assessing pragmatic skills can be a challenge since conversations are dynamic, and there is no easy way to measure one’s performance via standard tests. Formal assessment which involves static, often pictured situations can be used to establish a starting point, but information collected through observation, interview, and check lists helps us to detect if the individual lacks the knowledge to manage such conversations or is merely experiencing a performance issue. If needed, specific situations can be created to probe particular skills. Information from more than one source is necessary to establish goals and priorities for intervention.

Several key components need to be considered as we develop an individualized treatment program for children with ASD. These include the child’s knowledge about social communication, his/her ability to apply social knowledge in various situations, the cognitive/emotional cost to the child, the need to find right strategies to specific challenges, the co-occurring elements in the planning/implementation stages of social interaction, plans to generalize learned skills, self-monitoring skills that promote independence and flexibility, etc. Interventionists should also consider what skills are easiest/most important to teach, which skills can be paired together, and which skills will make the biggest impact in terms of improving social interaction. Many tools and programs have been developed for improving social interaction in this population. For example, social groups and social stories help children with ASD to experience different social roles and social situations, expand their knowledge of social skills, give them examples of strategies they can use, and offer them opportunities to practice social-pragmatic skills in a low-stress environment. While the SLP may lead intervention, family members and school teachers can also provide additional learning opportunities throughout the day to help children monitor their newly learned skills.

Information taken from:

http://www.autismsupportnetwork.com/news/meeting-challenge-social-pragmatics-students-autism-spectrum-887512

– Chloe Chenjie Gu, MA., Speech-Language Pathology Intern

– Kristina Elliott, MA, CCC-SLP


Sensory Integration Activities and Self-Regulation

December 13, 2012

Sensory Integration Activities promote self-regulation in children and are necessary for:

  • daily functioning
  • intellectual, social, and emotional development
  • the development of a positive self-esteem
  • a mind and body which is ready for learning
  • positive interactions in the world around him
  • the achievement of normal developmental milestones

The great news is… sensory integration activities are unbelievably fun and a necessary part of development for any child, whether they have a sensory processing disorder or not.
From the womb into adulthood, our neurological systems are developing
and processing an overwhelming amount of sensory information every day.
Our system must then interpret this information and make it ready to be
tolerated and used for specific purposes.

The best part about sensory integration activities is the creative fun
you can have coming up with ideas, playing with your child using sensory
input, or purchasing unique toys and products anyone would love!

Children think they are having fun when they are actually working strenuously at building essential skills with their bodies and better neurological systems.

It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, consistency and persistence, but in the end, you will have a thriving child who can regulate sensory input much more effectively.

The variety of sensory integration activities is endless… only limited by your creativity and imagination!

 

1)   Tactile Play:

  • Shaving cream
  • Rice, lentils, beans, pasta
  • Water and sand
  • Playdoh
  • Silly string

 

2)   Vestibular Input:

  • Swing
  • Slide
  • Spinning in an office chair
  • Rocking chair
  • Sitting or rolling on a yoga ball
  • Scooter boards

 

3)   Proprioceptive Input:

  • Trampoline
  • Tunnel
  • Heavy work chores (pulling garbage bin, stomping on cans for recycling, wiping tables and windows, carrying groceries)
  • Wrestling
  • Tug of war
  • Animal walks
  • Chewy food (bagels, licorice, gum, beef jerky)
  • Crunchy food (chips, pretzels)
  • Thick liquids through straws (milk shakes, yogurt drinks)

 

Resources: http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/sensory-integration-activities.html

 

– Patricia Fasang, MS, OTR/L