Characterized by difficulties with written language, including reading and writing. Children with oral language deficits may find themselves struggling with reading comprehension in the school-age years. Others may have specific difficulties with basic reading or spelling only, which may fit the classification of dyslexia. Children may be classified with a learning disability. Building a solid foundation of skills in both oral and written language will support all children in both their academic and personal endeavors.
I often pair a language evaluation with a literacy (i.e., reading disability or dyslexia) evaluation to look at how language is impacting the acquisition of academic skills, such as reading and spelling. I may administer a variety of standardized, as well as non-standardized assessments, in order to get a full picture of your child’s needs.
To begin, I will look at your child’s awareness of the sound structure of language, called phonological processing. I like to use the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing, Second Edition (CTOPP-2), which allows me to identify how well your child can discriminate and manipulate the sounds in a language. For example, I may ask your child to tell me the first or last sound in a word I say to him/her. I also may ask your child to delete a syllable or sound from a word. These phonological awareness skills are important for word-level reading and spelling.
Another test I like to use is the Test of Integrated Language & Literacy Skills (TILLS). This is also a standardized test that measures a child’s language skills in both oral and written modalities. It helps me identify what might be causing a child to struggle in school with reading and/or comprehension. To administer this test, I will give your child a variety of tasks, some spoken and some written. For example, I will ask your child to identify pairs of words that go together and then explain why. Additionally, I may read short passages to your child and ask him/her to retell the story and answer questions about what I read. Lastly, I will ask your child to read and write, so that I can analyze their use of spelling patterns and complex sentence structure.
Each of these tasks are important diagnostic indicators for children who may have language disorders that are also impacting the language-based skills of reading and writing at school. The goal of a language/literacy evaluation is to create a specific treatment plan for your child, tailored to his/her individual needs.
During treatment for reading disabilities or dyslexia, I will help your child recognize and discriminate the sounds in words. Then I will use a structured word study approach to help your child map letters to sounds through guided spelling and reading activities. I have access to the SPELL-Links to Reading & Writing curriculum, which is a speech-to-print, structured literacy word study program. However, as a licensed clinician, I understand that any program I use is simply a tool in my clinical belt. Through my training and experience, I will be able to identify break-downs in your child’s learning in real time and provide professional scaffolding to support your child’s needs. This may include recognizing why one sound is harder for your child to discriminate over another or why a certain word structure may be more difficult for your child to master.
It is my goal to not only help your child learn successful strategies for reading and spelling but to help you learn the strategies for helping your child as well. This way you will be able to support your child when I am not there. You will be invited to participate in the treatment session with me, as we teach your child together.