Professor John Gabrieli of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a paper in the current issue of Science discussing dyslexia. Here’s the abstract.
Gabrieli, J. D. E. (2009). Dyslexia: A new synergy between education and cognitive neuroscience. Science, 325, 280 – 283
Reading is essential in modern societies, but many children have dyslexia, a difficulty in learning to read. Dyslexia often arises from impaired phonological awareness, the auditory analysis of spoken language that relates the sounds of language to print. Behavioral remediation, especially at a young age, is effective for many, but not all, children. Neuroimaging in children with dyslexia has revealed reduced engagement of the left temporo-parietal cortex for phonological processing of print, altered white-matter connectivity, and functional plasticity associated with effective intervention. Behavioral and brain measures identify infants and young children at risk for dyslexia, and preventive intervention is often effective. A combination of evidence-based teaching practices and cognitive neuroscience measures could prevent dyslexia from occurring in the majority of children who would otherwise develop dyslexia.
Link to the article
The National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities (NJCLD) held a symposium regarding the release of “Adolescent Literacy and Students with Learning Disabilities: Building Effective Programs and Partnerships Adolescent.” Invited guests representing various US agencies, organizations, and interest groups joined delegates from the organizations that are members of NJCLD the afternoon of Friday 5 June 2009 for the session.
Mary Beth Klotz, chair of the NJCLD, introduced the session and individual speakers. Froma Roth, a representative of the American Speach-Language-Hearing Association and one of the writing team that prepared the statement, began the session with a brief recapitulation of its contents. Brett Miller followed Professor Roth with an overview of current research supported by the Reading, Writing, and Related Learning Disabilities of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, US Department of Health and Human Services. Nancy Hennesy, of the Council for Learning Disabilities and also a member of the writing group, described the complex and challenging context for addressing deficits in adolescent literacy.
These are the folks who participated in the panel:
- Mary Beth Klotz (National Association of School Psychologists);
- Nancy Hennessy (International Dyslexia Association) ;
- Amanda Karhuse (National Association of Secondary School Principals);
- Brett Miller (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development);
- Barbara J. Moore (Anaheim Union High School District, CA);
- Patti Ralabate (National Education Association);
- Froma P. Roth (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association); and
- Kippi Sutphen (Parent Representative).
Link to the NJCLD Web site (maintained by LD Online). Watch for the slides and other materials from the symposium to be posted there. Meanwhile, download a copy of the NJCLD document.
It’s sometimes hard to sort through the rhetoric about different methods used in teaching students with Learning Disabilities. However, two groups within the Council for Exceptional Children have made the task considerably easier. In a series of publications now numbering 16, the Division for Learning Disabilities and the Division for Research cut through the bologna to provide quick reviews about the effectiveness of current educational practices. These Current Practice Alerts, which are readily accessible for general readers, cover familiar topics including these:
- Class-wide Peer Tutoring
- Cooperative Learning
- Direct Instruction
- Fluency Instruction
- Formative Evaluation
- Functional Behavioral Assessment
- Graphic Organizers
- High-Stakes Assessment
- Mnemonic Instruction
- Phonics Instruction
- Phonological Awareness
- Reading Comprehension Instruction
- Reading Recovery
- Social Skills Instruction
They are succinct and faithful to the research evidence. They even make explicit recommendations about whether to use the practice. What’s the hitch? Well, they’re free, so see for yourselves.
Link to the Web page listing these resources.
With this post, I’m beginning a series of polls to assess readers’ perspectives on response to intervention or response to instruction (RtI) and Learning Disabilities. As most people concerned with LD know, RtI was expressly permitted in the most recent set of regulations under the US law, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Although most special educators agree at least in part with RtI, one of the most controversial issues is whether implementing RtI will reduce the incidence of LD. That’s the topic of this poll.
By the way, the Division for Learning Disabilities published a good booklet providing basic background about RtI. It is written in practitioner-friendly language and can be read in only a few minutes. Visit the products section of TeachingLD.org to learn more about it. (Yes, I contributed to the booklet, but I don’t make any royalties from it.)
By the way (2), over on Teach Effectively there are a set of slides from presentations about RTI. These presentations were delivered by prominent special educators at the 2007 meeting of the Council for Exceptional Children.
Please note that this poll should not be consider scientific evidence. Do not construe the results of any of these polls as representative of systematic polls conducted by reputable polling organizations. These results simply reflect the opinion of the people who responded to the question. The sample of people who respond is selective, not randomly drawn from a defined population.
In case readers of LD Blog missed it, I posted a new version of the Bogus Bowl over at Teach Effectively. This one is about the excuses that people use for not teaching students. As of this writing, there’s a close contest between the excuse of not liking helpful teaching methods and the rationalization that students’ home lives trump teaching. If you haven’t already done so, please jump over there and vote.
In an article entitled “NZ ‘failing kids who struggle to learn,'” Lane Nichols of the Dominion Post reported about a critical evaluation of New Zealand schooling. It seems that NZ schools have been failing to address the problems of students with Learning Disabilities and some parents of those students have complained. Shades of Eli Tash in Milwaukee (WI, US) in the 1960s!
Continue reading ‘NZ gets started’