Dallas Reading and Language Services addresses the overall communication and language skills of older children in a holistic manner. School-aged children in a one-on-one therapy setting often make huge gains in speech-therapy. Many of these children respond well to a multi-sensory program for improving speech. This has been particularly true for children that have apraxia. DRLS uses whichever modality the child naturally gravitates to with improved speech skills.
Understanding and using language is so important to many facets of a child’s life. If a child is missing pieces when listening to directions or a story, they are trying to fit together what they do have to make sense of what is happening around them. DRLS helps to improve how a child processes language to make it more efficient and allow the child to grasp the whole picture.
Much of language therapy is also aimed at improving a child’s understanding of how concepts are related, how parts relate to a whole, how words are put together to expand sentences and how to unlock the process of learning by inference.
Dallas Reading and Language Services reading programs are offered only to children who are behind their age or grade level. Three main programs are utilized to enhance reading decoding and comprehension skills, all of which aim at building underlying areas of weakness and changing the way a child approaches the task of reading. This is different from traditional reading tutoring at a tutor center where the skill areas are taught with additional exposure to the material and instruction.
Many of the reading programs that we use are also used by trained tutors for children that have been diagnosed with dyslexia. Children using these programs not only increase sound awareness, but also their awareness of what sounds feel and look like. Clients are better able to discriminate and sequence sounds, and read and spell words.
A major advantage to these programs is that clients learn to self correct their errors through kinesthetic or sensory feedback. Similar strategies that are used to improve language comprehension skills are applied to increasing reading comprehension. DRLS knows that there are many methods for reading instruction.
Despite inconsistency in how reading has been taught in recent years, many children did learn the basic skills necessary to be good readers. With children that have typical intelligence and multiple learning opportunities, the problem with reading often has to do with specific weaknesses. Many children that have reading difficulties have decreased phonological awareness skills. This is the ability to hear and manipulate sounds. As children are learning to read, most classrooms will have some phonological awareness activities to enhance their learning. These could be finding items that begin with a certain sound, rhyming games, clapping syllables in words, and deleting sounds from words. Children with poor sound awareness often also show difficulty with language processing overall, from paragraphs to sentences, words to individual sounds.
Speech-Language therapy can assist these children with increasing their efficiency and accuracy when it comes to understanding what they hear. Phonological awareness has been researched and studied by professionals. A major finding is that phonological awareness is a key skill that is necessary for learning to decode and read efficiently. This weakness in the ability to hear sounds may be further compounded by decreased awareness of how we produce sounds. In short, these children do not hear, perceive, and sometimes produce sounds the same way as others do. The solution is to provide a different, multi-sensory method of teaching.
Dallas Reading and Language Services‘ programs for speech, reading and/or language are incorporated as needed on an individual basis. The therapist targets these goals within many of the same activities, thus the child will work towards more than one individualized goal within an activity.
Communication and language are powerful. Children with speech and language delays or disorders face an uphill climb due to the challenges these present. Speech-Language therapy and reading services have changed the lives of our clients in lasting ways.
Whether calming a toddler’s tantrums as he begins to express his wants, or watching a school-age child flourish in their home and school life for the first time, we are reminded of the power that communication holds. The therapy and reading programs provided at Dallas Reading and Language Services are unique in that goals are addressed within the context of literacy. This is important for children aged preschool through adolescents as they expand into another functional context with their burgeoning speech and language skills.