What is a reading disorder?
Reading disorders occur when a person has trouble with any part of the reading process. This may include matching sounds to letters, sounding out words, reading at a slow pace or poor comprehension.
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What causes problems with reading?

Some reading disorders are language based. Others are due to dyslexia or other learning disabilities which are brain-based in people with normal intelligence. Strategies are different for each type of reading disorder.
Weaknesses and discrepancies between different areas of oral language must be assessed and minimized as all language skills are prerequisites to reading- we learn to talk before we learn to read. These weaknesses will remain if they are not addressed, even if other learning disabilities are present. Vocabulary, grammar, sentence formulation (oral and written), auditory comprehension are vital skills as well as the ability to inference, deduce, use idioms, and nonliteral language.
Other factors which impact reading include phonological awareness, auditory processing, attention, memory and sequencing.Phonological (or phonemic) awareness skills are foundational skills for literacy. Most phonological awareness skills are taught during kindergarten and first grade and never addressed again. Weaknesses in these areas are often overlooked yet can have a significant impact on reading skills in elementary and even middle school. Some of these skills include rhyming, substitution (changing sound/s within a word can create a new word), deletion (removing part of a word can create a new word) and graphemes (association of sounds with letter/s). Each of these can be systematically addressed in therapy.

What can I do?

A thorough evaluation is critical to accurately diagnose, make a treatment plan and implement therapy. Many times speech and language testing is a first step in teasing apart the weaknesses impacting reading and literacy. Formal evaluations such as the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-5 (CELF-5), the CELF Preschool, the Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language (CASL), etc. will be administered; standard scores, and percentiles compare your child’s skills with norms from other children of the same age.
Sometimes a speech and language evaluation will not explain everything. In this case evaluations by psychologists and educators will also be invaluable to put all the pieces together. While there is some overlap between testing with these specialists, only a speech language pathologist can diagnose a language disorder. A psychologist will formally assess cognitive abilities, verbal versus nonverbal skills, memory and attention. By comparing the language, educational and psychological testing, the psychologist can then diagnose learning disabilities.

What’s the next step:

After testing, a treatment plan will be created. This will include weekly therapy sessions to target the weak areas and minimize discrepancies in language .skills. Goals will be developed with your input. Collaboration with your child’s school team is recommended.
There are many therapeutic techniques which are beneficial and have been honed for over 30 years. In person therapy is the gold standard, however, telepractice sessions are beneficial for some clients. Each therapy session is individualized planned based on the specific language weaknesses identified during testing. Various materials will be used and may be directly based on your child’s curriculum including current vocabulary, books your child is reading for school, curricular themes. For some students I also recommend computer based programs,

Computer Programs

Fast ForWord® is an adaptive reading program that sets learners up for success with intensive , one on one instruction in foundational language and literacy skills while also building cognitive capacities that support strong reading and learning. It is an evidence-based, personalized and adaptive reading and language program that also enhances cognitive skills required for language and reading. Tasks are designed to improve memory, attention, processing speed and sequencing. Fast ForWord® was first developed by brilliant neuroscientists at Stanford and the Carnegie Foundation.
I have been a Fast ForWord provider for over ten years, and I firmly believe that, for the right person, the use of Fast ForWord combine with weekly therapy sessions produces higher gains than traditional therapy alone. Over my entire career, I have never seen the amount of gains in so many areas of language and cognition that consistent use of Fast ForWord can achieve. I have used it very successfully with a student at the United States Naval Academy who was struggling due to slow auditory processing as well as countless elementary and middle school students.
Fast ForWord® is effective with children and adolescents with various needs including:
With over 30 years of proven success in more than 200 research studies, the overwhelming success of Fast ForWord® has been documented across the United States and around the world. Research highlights from school districts show:

Get in touch!

I am proud to empower people to express themselves and find the voice inside. Let’s get started on your journey.
Contact Jackie
(410) 295-1616
58 Jones Station Rd Arnold, MD 21012
Also Offering Telehealth
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