Dr Susanne Dopke
Speech and Language Pathology
Difficulties with spelling, reading or writing.
Research has shown that four activities strongly predict success with reading and writing (McGuinness 2004):
learning the correspondence between speech sounds and their
symbols on the page
practicing the blending of the sound symbols into words
segmenting words into their sound symbols
copying and writing words, phrases and sentences
bilingualism DOES NOT cause difficulties with literacy. For more information on bilingualism and language disorder, click here.
Most children effortlessly integrate the oral language - what they hear, the visual information - what they see on the page, the tactile information - how the sounds feel in the mouth, and the motor activity - the movements necessary to write. But some children have sensory difficulties which make it difficult for them to integrate the various stimuli.
School instruction concentrates heavily on the integration of oral and visual input. Speech pathologists have specialised knowledge which allows them to teach children to utilise the tactile information which their talking provides and connect that with the visual and oral information. This added dimension has helped many children to become competent readers even after many years of struggling with literacy.
However, being a competent reader entails more than being able to turn letters into words. Many children and adults find it difficult to understand what they read. Speech pathologists have designed programs which help people to learn visualisation techniques which help them better under-stand and remember what they have read.
There are a range of techniques for teaching children and adults literacy skills. Speech pathologists have the theoretical and practical knowledge to diagnose reading weaknesses and to implement a program which turns the weakness of the individual into a strength.
For special considerations of the treatment of bilingual children, click here.