Posts tagged ‘reading disabilities’

WHAT IS #AUDITORY PROCESSING DISORDER

As a special educator, I have worked with preschoolers and elementary school age children diagnosed with reading disabilities and speech language problems. I taught the Wilson Reading Program, which is a phonics based approach to reading. While I found it effective with many of my students, it did not meet the needs of all of them.

A lifelong book-lover, Dr. Karen Holinga’s interest in helping children learn to read began during her six years as a classroom teacher, where she saw how much some children struggled to master the skill. Her desire to solve the puzzle only increased during the twelve years she homeschooled her own children.

Eager to better understand the reading process, Dr. Karen pursued a doctorate in Developmental Reading, Curriculum, and Professional Development from The Ohio State University.

With Happy Cheetah Reading, she has taken all her expertise—years of classroom experience, years homeschooling, her doctoral research, and her extensive clinical practice—and crafted a simple plan. As The Reading Doctor, she has successfully helped over 25,000 children learn to read— many of whose parents had lost hope. She knows how some students struggle, and she knows how to help. 

I am presenting this program as a resource for parents and educators and not as an endorsement or beneficiary of any of its products.

As you might guess from the name, auditory processing relates to sound. But children with poor auditory processing are not usually hearing impaired. Rather, these children’s brains don’t interpret the incoming sounds correctly. 

Is There a Cure?

Auditory processing is a developmental issue. 

This means it’s like losing teeth, which is another developmental milestone. Children who lose their first teeth at age four are not “better” than those who lose their first teeth at age seven. If your five-year-old doesn’t have a loose tooth yet, you don’t get angry, or start Tooth Loosening Therapy. Teeth loss is developmental, and it will happen when it happens.

With auditory processing, it’s the same way. You can’t make it happen, so release yourself from any pressure. There is no appointment for you to make, no official diagnosis that will help. There is no fix for the neurology. 

Most children work through their auditory processing issues and eventually catch up with their peers, when their body is ready.

Symptoms of Poor Auditory Processing

If, as you read through these symptoms, one or two stand out to you, then assume that, yes, your child deals with auditory processing.

1) Poor phonemic awareness. A single sound is called a phoneme (FOE neem), and children who can’t hear the difference between sounds have “poor phonemic awareness.” This means they cannot easily separate or distinguish individual sounds, and have an especially hard time distinguishing between short vowel sounds, such as bet and bit

Children with poor phonemic awareness will probably not be able to determine which of these pairs of words rhyme:  

sock – sell 

rim – slim

sink – drink

tap – shirt 

These children can’t hear the wrong rhymes, and can’t guess the right rhymes. 

This also can show up in very slow letter sound acquisition. It took my son three years of daily work to (mostly) remember the 26 basic letter sounds and their written component.

2) Difficulty with word retrieval. My son would know what he wanted to say, but his brain couldn’t access the specific words. For example, he might say, “Hey, Mom, remember the book about the person who went on a trip?”

And based on the context of whatever we had recently been talking about, I could usually guess, “Do you mean the book about Chris taking the logs down the Mississippi in Swift Rivers?” 

But not always. “Hey, Mom, do you remember when we went to that place and rode on that thing?” could equally apply to the time when our family went to the amusement park and rode the tram, or to the airport and rode on the moving sidewalk, or to the lake and rode on the paddle board. Which sentence is my son trying to communicate? 

When children have difficulty with word retrieval, the specifics of language are missing, those clarifying and important words that differentiate experience. 

3) Unclear or delayed speech. Self-explanatory.

4) Delayed auditory processing. These children’s brains overload really easily, because they can’t process language quickly. 

In fact, some children process information 80% more slowly

Think about trying to do anything if your brain had slowed down 80%. How much less would you comprehend?

4) Poor auditory memory. Children with poor auditory memory don’t remember what they hear, so they miss a lot. 

If a parent says, “Go to your room, get your shoes, and meet me at the door,” the children will show up at the door, but without their shoes. 

This isn’t because they’re deliberately disobeying. They simply cannot remember.

On occasion, my son will have listened to almost all of a chapter book. Then, on page 250 of 300, he’ll ask about a key secondary character, “Now who was that again?” He more-or-less has understood the book, but he clearly doesn’t have specific ideas about the different characters.

5) Difficulty with hearing the number of syllables in a word. You may have heard the trick of clapping syllables, a clap for each syllable. So one clap for cat, two claps for tiger, three claps for beautiful, four claps for hyperactive

My son would guess: “Does computer have one syllable? Does cake have two?” It was astonishing to see all the ways he would contort his speech to make the syllable claps fit the word. 

When children can’t hear syllables, it makes reading programs that focus on syllables almost impossible. 

Does this sound like your child?

If this sounds like your child, I encourage you to keep reading. Some children, like my son, have both auditory processing delays, and the other challenge that we’ll cover tomorrow.

But if this sounds like your child, only one reading program on the market is going to help your child. Every Orton-Gillingham program, supposedly the “gold standard” for struggling readers, focuses on syllable division and rule memorization. For a student who has a hard time hearing and remembering the letters themselves, loading them down with rules is unhelpful at best, and destructive at worst. 

I am thrilled that a program exists that acknowledges and allows struggling readers to move forward, even with delayed auditory processing. 

The Happy Cheetah Reading System is designed to get your child up to speed as quickly as possible.  happycheetah.com

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FORMULA FOR READING SUCCESS

Johnny’s Adventure Makes Reading Fun

Written by Jodi DeSautels

Illustrated by Sarah Bowman

Johnny's Adventure in Readingpic

The story begins with a familiar scene for many parents. It’s a rainy day and Johnny cannot go outside. His mother suggests that he read a book, but Johnny does not want to read. In school he is often a victim of bullying because he reads too slowly and has trouble sounding out the words.

Fortunately, Johnny’s mom encourages him by inquiring what kind of adventure would he like to experience. Maybe he could transform himself into a hunter, king, acrobat or adventurer. When he says that he he would like to travel to outer space, she accommodates him by helping Johnny find a helmet, walkie-talkies and a refrigerator box for a spaceship. Together they use their imaginations and bodies to act out a space launch scenario.

Johnny now feels so much better about himself. His mom takes advantage of that to urge him to write and illustrate a story about the adventure. She continues to draw him into conversations that will extend learning as he gets deeper and deeper into the project. In no time at all, Johnny has stretched his knowledge base and enriched his vocabulary.

This book will not only provide an enjoyable story of encouragement for reluctant readers in the early grades of elementary school, but also allows parents and teachers to use it a a teaching model. This adventure  provides a warning about the effects of bullying on the self-esteem of children. The author makes her points simply and effectively. I recommend that you take a look.

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