2 Levels of language processing
We must process 2 independent but related sources of information relating to words to become mature readers, writers, and spellers.
Challenges with this often lead to Dyslexia or delayed acquisition of letters, reading accuracy, reading comprehension, spelling accuracy, and writing fluency.
Consider that most parents acknowledge that their child has difficulty accessing sounds in words or relating sounds to letters.
Consider that most parents acknowledge when their child is having difficulty with Written Language skills – reading, writing, and spelling.
Why is it, then, if SOUNDS are the smallest units of LANGUAGE, and students are having difficulty with written LANGUAGE, that more people don’t complete a Language assessment, and then seek out Language Therapy?
To master written language, we must process Word Meaning, but ALSO Word Structure. Each word is made up of a unique sequence of specific sounds.
This unique sound string becomes a sound anchor for vocabulary.
The phrase “what I am trying to say” encapsulates a lot of the experience of difficulties integrating word meaning with sond/word structure. when you hear an adult mispronounce a vocabulary word like ancillary or cacophony, they are likely activating a visual representation of that word, and trying to “reverse engineer” the sound structure of the word (unsuccessfully). This word has a fuzzy sound anchor. I see this all the time when parents indicate they are frustrated and want to “nip it in the butt”. Syllable stress is often a culprit here, as we have no way of deriving that information from the visual form of a word. Syllabic stress errors are often a hallmark of speakers with weaker phonological systems, or speakers whose first language is not English.
Students with Dyslexia tend to have difficulty with automatic and accurate processing of sounds, awareness of/ability to reflect on sounds, or difficulty retrieving sounds in the correct sequence.
All of these are language processing issues.
All of these are symptoms of the underlying language disorder.
Each of these are language SKILLS that can be assessed and taught with language therapy.
Have a question about your child’s learning? Have a question about your assessment skills? Have a question about your teaching, instructional methods, curriculum, or home schooling? Have a question about your language therapy, your tutoring practise, or your team’s approach to literacy?
I invite you to get in touch with me to discuss opportunities for individualized therapy, parent consultation, Training, Professional Development, and Group Speaking engagements!