Reading and Writing
Reading is an acquired skill in the brain. We are not hard-wired to read, it is a result of developmental integration, completely dependent on the way our central nervous system is wiring together. Though there are multiple really good programs to improve reading proficiency, we still see that one of the major techniques used to improve reading today, is pulling the student into a smaller group to “read at a slower pace”. If the developmental pathways in the brain does not change, reading at a slower pace is not going to improve to the same rate and proficiency as their peers. Reading consists of two components:
Decoding: The reader has to start reading from left to right with both eyes focusing on the same letters at the same time, perform saccadic eye movements involving vision with vestibular (movement) pathways, then fixate both eyes simultaneously, while in 5 to 20 milliseconds, the auditory system would have to put the sound to what the eyes have seen. It requires a timed sequential interaction between the visual, vestibular and auditory system.
Comprehension: This requires both working memory and understanding of language. Working memory relies on the timed integration between visual-spatial and verbal information in order to gain proficiency. Language develops over time as the baby develops vocabulary into the understanding of hidden nuances in speech and language.
To focus on only phonics may be good for a beginning reader, but according to Sally Shaywitz (Overcoming Dyslexia), it is imperative that the reader develop:
- Auditory processing speed and efficiency for phonemic awareness and skill
- Visual processing speed and efficiency to compliment the high-speed pathway in left hemisphere
- Ocular motor skill for the ease of following a passage from left to right on a page
- Language skill for vocabulary, comprehension and literacy skill
- Timing between occipital (vision), temporal (auditory) and pre-frontal cortex (comprehension) areas for decoding and spelling
- Interhemispheric organization for decoding and comprehension to work together for purposes reading fluency, accuracy, while simultaneously reading with meaning.
Our Unique Evaluation focuses on:
- Foundational developmental pathways
- Decoding and comprehension
- The contribution of the visual-vestibular system
- The contribution of the auditory-vestibular system
- Efficiency of timing
- Timed relationship of the visual and auditory system
- Interhemispheric organization and relationship to developing bilateral integration
- The possibility of an underlying Dyspraxia
- Relationship between reading, spelling and Dysgraphia (handwriting and written expression)
- Language expression
It does not matter which program the client will be using for remediation; this type of evaluation is necessary to understand why a client has not been able to build proficiency in reading skill. Simply using any program, because it is a reading program is not enough. This evaluation is an essential tool for “chasing the why”.
Our Unique Program:
- Develops the pathways necessary for acquiring reading skill, including timing
- Includes developing working memory for both decoding and comprehension
- Starts at the foundation, works through organization and then the executive skill of reading
- Focuses on how sensory information is registered, then processed through to the pre-frontal cortex for language
- Speech Language and Occupational therapists team together to combine input of development and language proficiency
- Consists of intensive programming containing blocks of consecutive days of therapy as well as once weekly services of 60 minutes each session
- Can be completed at home, or at our center
- Compliments other reading programs and does not interfere; it is foundational
- Decreases the length of time a client struggles considerably
- From early reader age to adults, there is no age limit to the program.