In order to read, we must take advantage of what nature has provided: a biological network for language. A child must somehow convert the print on a page into a linguistic code - the phonetic code, the only code recognized and accepted by the language system. Linguist Leonard Bloomfield captured it best: "Writing is not language, but merely a way of recording language by visible marks. The written symbols stand as surrogates for the sounds of speech."
For many children, the ability to acquire these building blocks of language is natural and effortless. Their solid foundation of oral language prepares them well for their next challenge: learning to read.
Unlike oral language, reading is not a natural part of our biology and will most likely have to be taught. Neuropsychologists and speech-language pathologists have accepted for decades that reading is superimposed onto our oral language structures. Therefore, it is no surprise that children who have trouble acquiring speech and language, regardless of what the cause might be, are at a higher risk of having trouble learning to read.
YOUNGER CHILDREN: Our approach is identification and remediation of emergent language problems in toddlers and preschool-age children. This stronger foundation will help carry children into the world of written language. Our extensive training in the field of speech and language acquisition makes us specialists in teasing the differences apart. We understand both the oral and written language processes.
OLDER CHILDREN: However, if issues are not identified or understood earlier, neuroscience has taught us we can always strengthen written language. The first step would be to understand the phonological processing skills within the foundation of oral language, assess where the breakdown appears to be, and how this may be contributing to written language challenges. Children will demonstrate a variety of behaviors that may be misunderstood; for example, inattention and distractibility does not always equate with clinical ADD, it could be a language-processing deficit. Poor social skills alone may not qualify for Autism, as a child may not be able to 'keep up' with the fast-pace and intricacies of social language, making him look 'awkward' or off-topic.
Hyer Learning & Diagnostics will help you understand the underlying cause, show you how the pieces fit together, and create a plan to make life-long changes.
Neuroscience has helped us learn that the brain is "plastic" throughout our life span. Although there may be "windows of opportunity" - this only suggests that during certain periods acquiring a new skill is more natural and does not require direct instruction, per se. However, if there is a delay or skills are not 'mastered' when expected, neuroscience has provided methods and tools to intervene and close the gap. We no longer have to work around a weakness, accommodate or change the expectations. We are able to continue to improve on these language-based skills with direct and explicit training, whether is attention and self-regulation, speech sounds, verbal expression, auditory processing, memory, reading, writing or math.
The human brain is a remarkable organ - designed to rewire, grow and reorganize. We just need to provide the right environment. Intervention needs to be purposeful, direct, frequent and positively reinforcing.