Tag Archives: Scholastic

Indiana University study: Poor language skills at three can lead to later behavior problems

25 Jul

Educators have long recognized the importance of vocabulary in reading and learning. Francie Alexander writes in the Scholastic article, Understanding Vocabulary:

Why is vocabulary s-o-o important?
Vocabulary is critical to reading success for three reasons:
1. Comprehension improves when you know what the words mean. Since comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading, you cannot overestimate the importance of vocabulary development.
2. Words are the currency of communication. A robust vocabulary improves all areas of communication — listening, speaking, reading and writing.
3. How many times have you asked your students or your own children to “use your words”? When children and adolescents improve their vocabulary, their academic and social confidence and competence improve, too.http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/understanding-vocabulary

A University of Chicago study, “Quality of early parent input predicts child vocabulary three years later,” published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlights the importance of parental involvement at an early stage of learning. See more at: http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2013/06/24/giving-children-non-verbal-clues-about-words-boosts-vocabularies#sthash.V4f1L1Vb.dpuf

Mark Prigg wrote in the Daily Mail article, How well can your toddler talk? Researchers warn poor language skills at age three could be a sign of behavioural problems in later life:

Poor language skills as a toddler could be a sign children will develop major behaviourial problems in later life, researchers have claimed.
They say that if children are lagging behind at thee and half years old, parents should seek help.
Researchers claim it could be a sign of ADHD and other disorders of inattention and hyperactivity.
The Indiana University study tracked the links between early language skills and subsequent behavior problems in young children.
Poor language skills, the study suggests, limit the ability to control one’s behavior, which in turn can lead to behavior problems such as ADHD and other disorders of inattention and hyperactivity.
HOW THEY DID IT
Researchers followed a group of 120 toddlers for a year, beginning when they were age 2 ½ and following up when they were 36 months and 42 months old.
At each of these points they tested the children’s language skills and behavioral self-regulation, using tests for verbal comprehension and spoken vocabulary, as well as three tasks measuring self-regulating abilities.
They also used parent and secondary caregiver assessments of behavioral problems. Their findings suggested that language skill predicted growth in self-regulation, and self-regulation, in turn, predicted behavioral adjustment…. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2703583/How-toddler-talk-Researchers-warn-poor-language-skills-sign-behavioural-problems.html#ixzz38MuinWd8

Here is the press release from Indiana University:

• IUB Newsroom »
• IU study links poor early language skills to later behavior and attention problems
IU study links poor early language skills to later behavior and attention problems
• July 15, 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A new Indiana University study has tracked the links between early language skills and subsequent behavior problems in young children. Poor language skills, the study suggests, limit the ability to control one’s behavior, which in turn can lead to behavior problems such as ADHD and other disorders of inattention and hyperactivity.
“Young children use language in the form of private or self-directed speech as a tool that helps them control their behavior and guide their actions, especially in difficult situations,” said Isaac Petersen of the clinical science program in the IU Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. “Children who lack strong language skills, by contrast, are less able to regulate their behavior and ultimately more likely to develop behavior problems.”
Early childhood development has increasingly become a focus for public policy — in debates over universal preschool, recognition of a “word gap” between rich and poor children, and new pediatric recommendations on reading to infants.
“Children’s brains are most malleable earlier on, especially for language,” said John Bates, professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences and co-author of the study. “Children are most likely to acquire skills in language and self-regulation early on. Many of the states are starting to focus on preschool, edging toward universal preschool. But early development specialists are not necessarily available. I would have programs more readily available to families — and focused on children most at risk as early as possible.”
The paper, “The Role of Language Ability and Self-Regulation in the Development of Inattentive-Hyperactive Behavior Problems,” appears online this week in the journal Development and Psychopathology. It is also co-authored by Angela Staples, research assistant professor at the University of Virginia.
Many previous studies have shown a correlation between behavior problems and language skill. Children with behavior problems, particularly those with attention deficits and hyperactivity, such as in ADHD, often have poor language skills. Whether one of these problems precedes the other and directly causes it was until recently an open question.
In a longitudinal study published last year, Petersen, Bates and several others concluded that the arrow points decisively from poor language ability to later behavioral problems, rather than the reverse. The current study shows that it does this by way of self-regulation, a varied concept that includes physical, emotional, cognitive and behavioral control. Self-regulation is integral to children’s capacity to adapt to social situations and to direct their actions toward future goals. The absence of self-regulation abilities is a key predictor and component of future behavior problems.
A number of studies have sought to explain the role of language in the development of self-regulation in terms of the cognitive and neurological mechanisms by which they are linked. This study traces the way they unfold over time and the role of self-regulation in this process.
To do this, Petersen, Bates, and Staples followed a group of 120 toddlers for a year, beginning when they were age 2 ½ and following up when they were 36 months and 42 months old. At each of these points they tested the children’s language skills and behavioral self-regulation, using tests for verbal comprehension and spoken vocabulary, as well as three tasks measuring self-regulating abilities. They also used parent and secondary caregiver assessments of behavioral problems. Their findings suggested that language skill predicted growth in self-regulation, and self-regulation, in turn, predicted behavioral adjustment.
The study lends renewed force to the argument that early childhood may offer a pathway for reducing social inequality. For what makes the “developmental cascade” from language to behavior particularly troubling, the researchers point out, is that children most at risk for a deficit in language ability, those from lower-income households, are often the least likely to get the services needed to remedy the problem.
Studies, for example, have shown a “word gap” between children of low income and those in affluent families, who hear 20 million more words by age 3 than their low-income counterparts. This gap results in less developed verbal and reading skills. If, as this study suggests, poor language skills lead to problems with self-regulation and behavior, this can in turn contribute to the less easily reversible and more costly social or academic problems in adolescence and later, adulthood.
Petersen said the study indicates that we could look more closely at language skill earlier on. But, he advises, “Don’t expect all children to be at the same level early on. If their language is slow to develop and self-regulation is lacking, they are likely to catch up with proper supports.
“Among those who are slow, some could develop problems. If, by the age of 3½, a child is still lagging, it may be worth pursuing treatment for language and self-regulation skills — the earlier the better,” Petersen said.
For a copy of the paper or to speak with Petersen or Bates, contact Liz Rosdeitcher at rosdeitc@indiana.edu or 812-855-4507 or Tracy James at 812-855-0084 or traljame@iu.edu. The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences is in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences.
The research was supported by Indiana University and grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Petersen was supported by Clinical and Translational Sciences Award from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health, and a National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Mental Health.
Related Links
• Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences

The goal of parents, teachers, students, and society should be that all children succeed in obtaining a good basic education. In order to achieve this goal, children must come to school ready to learn. See, Illiteracy in America https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2011/12/07/illiteracy-in-america/

Related:
The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum https://drwilda.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/

The slow reading movement https://drwilda.com/2012/01/31/the-slow-reading-movement/

Why libraries in K-12 schools are important https://drwilda.com/2012/12/26/why-libraries-in-k-12-schools-are-important/

University of Iowa study: Variation in words may help early learners read better https://drwilda.com/2013/01/16/university-of-iowa-study-variation-in-words-may-help-early-learners-read-better/

Baby Sign Language: Does It Work? http://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/baby-sign-language-does-it-work

Teaching Your Baby Sign Language Can Benefit Both of You http://psychcentral.com/lib/teaching-your-baby-sign-language-can-benefit-both-of-you/0002423

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART© http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/
Dr. Wilda Reviews © http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda © https://drwilda.com/

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Parent homework: Working on vocabulary with your child

28 Dec

Educators have long recognized the importance of vocabulary in reading and learning. Francie Alexander writes in the Scholastic article, Understanding Vocabulary:

Why is vocabulary s-o-o important?
Vocabulary is critical to reading success for three reasons:
1. Comprehension improves when you know what the words mean. Since comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading, you cannot overestimate the importance of vocabulary development.
2. Words are the currency of communication. A robust vocabulary improves all areas of communication — listening, speaking, reading and writing.
3. How many times have you asked your students or your own children to “use your words”? When children and adolescents improve their vocabulary, their academic and social confidence and competence improve, too.http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/understanding-vocabulary

A University of Chicago study, “Quality of early parent input predicts child vocabulary three years later,” published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlights the importance of parental involvement at an early stage of learning. See more at: http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2013/06/24/giving-children-non-verbal-clues-about-words-boosts-vocabularies#sthash.V4f1L1Vb.dpuf

Sarah D. Sparks reported in the Education Week article, Students Must Learn More Words, Say Studies:
Children who enter kindergarten with a small vocabulary don’t get taught enough words—particularly, sophisticated academic words—to close the gap, according to the latest in a series of studies by Michigan early-learning experts.

The findings suggest many districts could be at a disadvantage in meeting the increased requirements for vocabulary learning from the Common Core State Standards, said study co-author Susan B. Neuman, a professor in educational studies specializing in early-literacy development at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
“Vocabulary is the tip of the iceberg: Words reflect concepts and content that students need to know,” Ms. Neuman said. “This whole common core will fall on its face if kids are not getting the kind of instruction it will require.”
In an ongoing series of studies of early-grades vocabulary instruction, Ms. Neuman and co-author Tanya S. Wright, an assistant professor of teacher education at Michigan State University in East Lansing, analyzed how kindergarten educators choose and teach new words, both in the instruction that teachers give and in basal-reading books.
Ms. Neuman and Ms. Wright found limited vocabulary instruction across the board, but students in poverty—the ones prior research shows enter school knowing 10,000 fewer words than their peers from higher-income families—were the least likely to get instruction in academically challenging words….
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/02/06/20vocabulary_ep.h32.html?tkn=TLTF%2FlDuqB%2FKs%2B82qVsjhV33xVxvOw8%2BeiQ7&cmp=clp-edweek&intc=es

There are methods that parents can use to improve their child’s vocabulary.

Lauren Lawry of the Hanen Centre wrote in the article, Build Your Child’s Vocabulary:

A recent study about vocabulary
However, it’s not just about how much you say, but also about what words you use that makes a difference to a child’s vocabulary. In a 2012 study, Meredith Rowe looked at the factors that contribute most to a child’s later vocabulary development. She studied the vocabulary of 50 young children when they were 18, 30, 42, and 54 months of age, as well as the amount (quantity) and type (quality) of words the parents used with their children. She found certain factors that contributed to a child’s vocabulary one year later, such as the parents’ education and the child’s previous vocabulary. But some of her most interesting findings were that:
• children’s vocabulary at 30 months was influenced by the quantity (number) of words a parent used one year earlier – This means that children aged 12-24 months benefit from hearing lots of talk and many examples of words.

• children’s vocabulary at 42 months was influenced by parents’ use of a variety of sophisticated words one year earlier – Children aged 24-36 months have learned a lot of common vocabulary, and are ready to learn more difficult words, such as “purchase” instead of “buy”, or “weary” instead of “tired”.

• children’s vocabulary at 54 months was influenced by parents’ use of narratives (talking about things that happened in the past or in the future) and explanations one year earlier – Children aged 36-48 months benefit from conversations about things that happened in the past (e.g. an outing they went on, something funny that happened at preschool, etc.) or something that is planned for the near future (e.g. a trip to see Grandma) is helpful. And providing explanations about things (e.g. answering children’s “why” questions) is also helpful at this age.
Rowe concluded that “quantity…is not the whole story” and that these other influences also have an impact on children’s vocabulary [2, p. 1771]. This is important information, as much literature that advises parents about children’s speech and language development encourages parents to talk to young children as much as possible (quantity). But Rowe’s study highlights the importance of quality, especially for children aged 24-48 months. Parents should try to keep one step ahead of their child – modelling words and concepts that are slightly beyond their child’s level to help his vocabulary grow.
How to help your child learn new words
From Rowe’s study, we know that:
• young children (12-24 month olds) benefit from exposure to lots of words (quantity)
• toddlers (24-36 months) benefit from hearing a variety of sophisticated words
• preschool children (36-48 months) benefit from conversations about past and future events as well as explanations
This tells us what to say, but what about how to say it?
Here are some tips to keep in mind when modeling new vocabulary for your child:
• Follow your child’s lead – This means emphasizing words that come up during everyday conversations and interactions with your child. If you talk about what interests your child, it is more likely your child will pay attention and learn a new word. If your child is interested in playing with cars, you can model words like “push”, “beep beep”, or “fast” with a young child or more complicated words like “mechanic”, “speed”, or “traffic” with a toddler. You can provide explanations for preschoolers like “he needs to get a new tire because his tire is flat”, talk about events in the past such as “remember when we had to take our car in to be repaired?”, or events that will happen in the future such as “Our car is dirty. Maybe we should go to the car wash.”

• Children need to hear a word several times before they start to use it – This means that you might use a word with your child many times before your child actually says the word himself. Children’s understanding of words precedes their use of words. So, they will understand far more words than they can actually say. If you repeat words for your child on different occasions, it will give him more opportunities to hear and learn new words.

• Don’t bombard your child with words – Just because quantity is important at some stages of development, this doesn’t mean that you should shower your child with constant talk. You should aim for a balanced conversation between you and your child – you say something, then your child says or does something, and so on. It is important to wait after you say something so you give your child a chance to respond in his own way.

• Help your child understand what a new word means – By giving details about new words or explaining what words means, you build your child’s understanding of new words. For example, if you are playing with cars and introduce the word “passenger”, you might say something like “a passenger is someone who rides in a car or a bus or a train. A passenger goes for the ride but doesn’t drive the car or the bus.” Relating new words to your child’s personal experiences also helps him connect with new words. For example, if you are talking about the word “nervous,” you might say something like “Remember when you started preschool – you felt nervous. But eventually when you were more comfortable there, you didn’t feel nervous anymore.”

• Actions can speak louder than words – If you accompany your words with actions, gestures, or facial expressions, it will help your child understand the meaning of the words. For example, when modeling the word “weary”, you could do a sleeping action (hands under your head) or yawn so that your child understands what the word means. Your voice can also add meaning to a word. For example, if you say the word “frightened” or “terrified” with a shaky voice that sounds like you are scared, it will help your child understand what you mean.

The bottom line… it’s not just how much you say, but also what you say and how you say it that makes a difference for your child’s vocabulary growth….
References
1. Weitzman, E. & Greenberg, J. (2010). ABC and Beyond: Building Emergent Literacy in Early Childhood Settings. The Hanen Centre: Toronto.
2. Rowe, M. (2012). A Longitudinal Investigation of the Role of Quantity and Quality of Child-Directed Speech in Vocabulary Development. Child Development: 83(5), 1762-1774.
3. Hart, B. & Risley, T.R. (1995). Meaningful differences in the everyday experiences of young American children. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
The Hanen Centre is a Canadian not-for-profit http://www.hanen.org/Helpful-Info/Articles/Build-your-childs-vocabulary.aspx#.UrykA9eToC8.email

There are still more suggestions from Deanna Swallow in a North Shore Pediatric Therapy article.

Swallow wrote in 10 Ways to Build Your Child’s Vocabulary:

1. Create language-rich environments to encourage new vocabulary. This might include a trip to the zoo, a seasonal craft, or a fun picture-book. Introduce age-appropriate vocabulary to your child through a fun and memorable experience.
2. Use kid-friendly terms to explain new words. For example, if you are teaching your child what ”zebra” means, avoid a dictionary definition such as: a horse-like African mammal of the genus Equus . Instead, try a simple explanation: a zebra is an animal. It looks like a horse. Zebras have black and white stripes.
3. Encourage your child to brainstorm their own examples of new vocabulary words. For example, if the new word is “little”, you might encourage your child by saying “Can you think of a little animal?”
4. Practice sorting new vocabulary. Encourage your child to describe, sort and categorize vocabulary based on various features. You might think of “3 cold things”, “3 animals” or “3 things that take you places.”
5. Think of synonyms and antonyms. Encourage your child to think of substitute words (e.g. “can you think of another word for enormous?… big!”) or opposite words (e.g. “What is the opposite of hot?… cold!”).
6. Give your child opportunities to practice their new vocabulary words. If you recently enjoyed an outing at the zoo, you might print out digital pictures from the trip. Throughout the following week, enjoy looking at the pictures with your child and remembering what animals you saw. You might also read a picture-book about animals or zoos (“What is this animal called?” or “Can you find a tiger in this picture?”).
7. Introduce new vocabulary words ahead of time. Holidays, seasons, and special outings are all excellent occasions to introduce new words. For example, as Fall approaches you might choose 10 new words about Fall (e.g. pumpkin, Autumn, cool, leaves, apples, jacket, etc). Plan a fun craft that incorporates those new words. You might make play-doh shapes using vocabulary words, draw new words with sidewalk chalk, or search for words in a picture book or magazine.
8. Tap into other senses. Children learn best when information is presented through multiple senses (e.g. touch, sight, sound, smell). To tap into the various, you might have your child stomp to each syllable of new vocabulary words (el-a-phant), draw a picture of the word, or act out the meaning.
9. Encourage older kids to use strategies to remember new vocabulary. They might keep a “vocabulary flashcard box” that includes challenging words from chapter-books, their school curriculum, or new concepts encountered in their environment. Encourage your child to define vocabulary in their own words, and draw a picture to represent it. You might also brainstorm root words or word derivations (e.g. run, running).
10. Avoid vocabulary over-load. Try not to teach too many new words at one time. For example, if you are reading a book with your child, avoid explaining every unfamiliar vocabulary word. Instead, just stick with a few important words. As much as possible, learning should be motivating and stimulate curiosity. Follow your child’s lead, and explore concepts or words that they find interesting. Look for cues that they might feel overwhelmed or frustrated…. http://nspt4kids.com/parenting/10-ways-to-build-your-childs-vocabulary/

Parents must spend time with their children preparing them for beginning their education.
All About Learning Press has a checklist to help parents focus on issues which prepare their child.

All About Learning Press makes several suggestions in Checklist: Is Your Child Ready to Learn to Read?

Perhaps your child already knows the alphabet and loves read-aloud time—but how can you tell if your child is ready to begin formal reading instruction? Fill out the checklist below and evaluate your child’s reading readiness!
Letter Knowledge
[ ] Your child can recite the alphabet song.
[ ] Your child recognizes the capital letters. If you ask your child to point to an m, he can do it.
[ ] Your child recognizes the lowercase letters.
Print Awareness
[ ] Your child knows the proper way to hold a book.
[ ] Your child understands that books are read from cover to back.
[ ] Your child understands that sentences are read from left to right.
[ ] Your child knows that words on the page can be read.
Listening Comprehension
[ ] Your child is able to retell a familiar story in his own words.
[ ] Your child can answer simple questions about a story.
[ ] Your child asks questions (Why did the elephant laugh?) during read-alouds.
Phonological Awareness
[ ] Your child can rhyme. If you say bat, your child can come up with a rhyming word like hat.
[ ] Your child understands word boundaries. If you say the sentence Don’t let the cat out, your child is able to separate the sentence into five individual words.
[ ] Your child can clap syllables. If you say dog, your child knows to clap once. If you say umbrella, your child knows to clap three times.
[ ] Your child can blend sounds to make a word. If you say the sounds sh…eep, your child responds with the word sheep.
[ ] Your child can identify the beginning sound in a word. If you ask your child to say the first sound in pig, your child is able to respond with the sound /p/.
[ ] Your child can identify the ending sound in a word. If you ask your child to say the last sound in the word jam, your child is able to respond with the sound /m/.
Motivation to Read
Use your intuition to understand if your child is motivated to begin reading. The following are all signs that your child is motivated to read and has achieved the understanding that reading is fun.
[ ] Does your child enjoy being read to, at least for short periods of time?
[ ] Does your child pretend to read or write?
[ ] Does your child frequently request read-aloud time and show a general enthusiasm for books?
http://www.allaboutlearningpress.com/is-your-child-ready-to-learn-to-read

Education is a partnership between the student, the teacher(s) and parent(s). All parties in the partnership must share the load. The student has to arrive at school ready to learn. The parent has to set boundaries, encourage, and provide support. Teachers must be knowledgeable in their subject area and proficient in transmitting that knowledge to students. All must participate and fulfill their role in the education process.

Resources:

Reading Rockets http://www.readingrockets.org/helping/target/vocabulary

For the Love of Words http://www.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=8100

Raising Readers: Tips for Parents
http://www.cedu.niu.edu/ltcy/literacyclinic/raisingReaders/ReadingVocabulary.pdf

School-age Readers http://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/learning/reading_schoolage.html

Ready to Learn http://pbskids.org/readytolearn/

Related:

Baby sign language https://drwilda.com/2013/07/28/baby-sign-language/

The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum https://drwilda.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/

The slow reading movement https://drwilda.com/2012/01/31/the-slow-reading-movement/

Why libraries in K-12 schools are important https://drwilda.com/2012/12/26/why-libraries-in-k-12-schools-are-important/

University of Iowa study: Variation in words may help early learners read better https://drwilda.com/2013/01/16/university-of-iowa-study-variation-in-words-may-help-early-learners-read-better/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com
Dr. Wilda says this about that ©
Blogs by Dr. Wilda:
COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/
Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/
Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

Stanford University study: Affluent children have better vocabulary and language skills

22 Oct

Educators have long recognized the importance of vocabulary in reading and learning. Francie Alexander writes in the Scholastic article, Understanding Vocabulary:

Why is vocabulary s-o-o important?
Vocabulary is critical to reading success for three reasons:
1. Comprehension improves when you know what the words mean. Since comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading, you cannot overestimate the importance of vocabulary development.
2. Words are the currency of communication. A robust vocabulary improves all areas of communication — listening, speaking, reading and writing.
3. How many times have you asked your students or your own children to “use your words”? When children and adolescents improve their vocabulary, their academic and social confidence and competence improve, too.http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/understanding-vocabulary

A University of Chicago study, “Quality of early parent input predicts child vocabulary three years later,” published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlights the importance of parental involvement at an early stage of learning. See more at: http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2013/06/24/giving-children-non-verbal-clues-about-words-boosts-vocabularies#sthash.V4f1L1Vb.dpuf

Motoko Rich reported in the New York Times article, Language-Gap Study Bolsters a Push for Pre-K:

Nearly two decades ago, a landmark study found that by age 3, the children of wealthier professionals have heard words millions more times than those of less educated parents, giving them a distinct advantage in school and suggesting the need for increased investment in prekindergarten programs.
Now a follow-up study has found a language gap as early as 18 months, heightening the policy debate.
The new research by Anne Fernald, a psychologist at Stanford University, which was published in Developmental Science this year, showed that at 18 months children from wealthier homes could identify pictures of simple words they knew — “dog” or “ball” — much faster than children from low-income families. By age 2, the study found, affluent children had learned 30 percent more words in the intervening months than the children from low-income homes.
The new findings, although based on a small sample, reinforced the earlier research showing that because professional parents speak so much more to their children, the children hear 30 million more words by age 3 than children from low-income households, early literacy experts, preschool directors and pediatricians said. In the new study, the children of affluent households came from communities where the median income was $69,000; the low-income children came from communities with a median income of $23,900.
Since oral language and vocabulary are so connected to reading comprehension, the most disadvantaged children face increased challenges once they enter school and start learning to read.
“That gap just gets bigger and bigger,” said Kris Perry, executive director of the First Five Years Fund, an advocate of early education for low-income children. “That gap is very real and very hard to undo….”
But at a time when a majority of public schoolchildren in about a third of the states come from low-income families, according to the Southern Education Foundation, those who are pushing for higher preschool enrollment say that investing in the youngest children could save public spending later on.
In the latest data available from the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University, 28 percent of all 4-year-olds in the United States were enrolled in state-financed preschool in the 2010-11 school year, and just 4 percent of 3-year-olds.
The National Governors Association, in a report this month calling on states to ensure that all children can read proficiently by third grade, urges lawmakers to increase access to high-quality child care and prekindergarten classes and to invest in programs for children from birth through age 5. In New York, the Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio has said he would tax high-income earners to pay for universal prekindergarten in the city.
“A lot of states are saying, ‘Let’s get to the early care providers and get more of them having kids come into kindergarten ready,’ ” said Richard Laine, director of education for the National Governors Association. That way, he said, “we’re not waiting until third grade and saying, ‘Oh my gosh, we have so many kids overwhelming our remediation system.’ ”
Currently, 17 states and the District of Columbia have policies requiring that third graders be held back if they do not meet state reading proficiency standards, according to theEducation Commission of the States.
Now, with the advent of the Common Core, a set of rigorous reading and math standards for students in kindergarten through 12th grade that has been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia, educators say the pressure to prepare young children is growing more intense.
Literacy experts have previously documented a connection between a child’s early vocabulary and later success in reading comprehension. In a study tracking children from age 3 through middle school, David Dickinson, now a professor of education at Vanderbilt University, and Catherine Snow, an education professor at Harvard University, found that a child’s score on a vocabulary test in kindergarten could predict reading comprehension scores in later grades.
Mr. Dickinson said he feared that some preschool teachers or parents might extract the message about the importance of vocabulary and pervert it. “The worst thing that could come out of all this interest in vocabulary,” he said, “is flash cards with pictures making kids memorize a thousand words.”
Instead, literacy experts emphasize the importance of natural conversations with children, asking questions while reading books, and helping children identify words during playtime.
Even these simple principles may be hard to implement, some educators say, because preschool instructors are often paid far less than public schoolteachers and receive scant training. In one study, Robert Pianta, dean of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, found that in observations of 700 preschool classrooms across 11 states, teachers in less than 15 percent of the classes demonstrated “effective teacher-student interactions.”
“There is a lot of wishful thinking about how easy it is, that if you just put kids in any kind of program that this will just happen,” said W. Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, referring to the development of strong vocabularies and other preliteracy skills.
Literacy experts and publishing companies are rushing to develop materials for teachers. Scholastic Inc., the children’s book publisher, for example, began selling the Big Day for Pre-K program to preschools three years ago. Collections of books come with specific question prompts like “I see a yellow taxi. What do you see?”
Educators and policy makers say they also must focus increasingly on parents……
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/22/us/language-gap-study-bolsters-a-push-for-pre-k.html?ref=education&_r=0

Here is the Stanford University press release:

Stanford Report, September 25, 2013
Language gap between rich and poor children begins in infancy, Stanford psychologists find
Research by Stanford psychologists reveals that 2-year-old children of lower-income families may already be six months behind in language development. Future work aims to devise intervention methods.
BY BJORN CAREY
Fifty years of research has revealed the sad truth that the children of lower-income, less-educated parents typically enter school with poorer language skills than their more privileged counterparts. By some measures, 5-year-old children of lower socioeconomic status score more than two years behind on standardized language development tests by the time they enter school.
Stanford researchers have now found that these socioeconomic status (SES) differences begin to emerge much earlier in life: By 18 months of age, toddlers from disadvantaged families are already several months behind more advantaged children in language proficiency.
The study, published in Developmental Science, is the first to identify an “achievement gap” in language processing skill at such a young age and could inform strategies to intervene and bring children up to speed.
In an experiment designed to investigate children’s vocabulary and language processing speed,Anne Fernald, a Stanford associate professor of psychology, enrolled 20 children, 18 months old, who lived near the Stanford campus, and tested how quickly and accurately they identified objects based on simple verbal cues. Follow-up tests six months later measured how these skills developed.
Research conducted in university laboratories commonly relies on a “convenience sample” of local participants who are usually affluent and highly educated. Since children in these higher SES families have many other advantages as well, the results of such research do not represent the majority of children living in less privileged circumstances in the United States.
To include a broader range of children in her research, Fernald took her lab on the road. She duplicated the experimental setup of her Stanford-based lab in a 30-feet-long RV and drove to a city a few hours north of campus, where the median household income and education levels are much lower on average than in the Bay Area.
The researchers recruited another 28 toddlers, aged roughly 18 months, from this lower SES population and performed the same experiments as they had on campus. Then they retested the children six months later when they turned 2 years old to see how they had progressed.
The beginning of the language gap
Fernald has devised an elegant test for measuring toddlers’ language processing speed. Sitting on their mother’s lap, the kids are shown two images; for example, a dog and a ball. A recorded voice then instructs the toddler to “look at the ball” while a high-definition video camera records the child’s reaction.
Trained “coders” then review the video frame by frame and note the exact moment that a child’s gaze begins to shift toward the target object. In this way, toddlers’ efficiency in language understanding can be measured with millisecond-level precision.
At 18 months, toddlers in the higher SES group could identify the correct object in about 750 milliseconds, while the lower SES toddlers were 200 milliseconds slower to respond.
“A 200-millisecond difference in response time at 18 months may not sound like much, but it’s huge in terms of mental processing speed,” Fernald said.
Both groups of children got faster with age, but at 24 months the lower SES children just barely reached the level of processing efficiency that the higher SES children had achieved at 18 months.
The researchers also asked parents to report on their children’s vocabularies at these age points. Between 18 and 24 months, the higher SES children added more than 260 new words to their vocabulary, while the lower SES children learned 30 percent fewer new words over this period.
“By 2 years of age, these disparities are equivalent to a six-month gap between infants from rich and poor families in both language processing skills and vocabulary knowledge,” Fernald said. “What we’re seeing here is the beginning of a developmental cascade, a growing disparity between kids that has enormous implications for their later educational success and career opportunities.”
Kids learn from context
Fernald suggests that slower processing rates are partly responsible for slower vocabulary growth in the early years. Toddlers learn new vocabulary from context, and the faster a child can get at the words she knows, the more able she is to attend to the next word in the sentence and to learn any new words that follow.
“If you say ‘the dog is on the sofa,’ and the baby at 18 months is slow to process ‘dog,’ they’re not open for business when ‘sofa’ comes along,” Fernald said. “If they’re quick on ‘dog’ and understand that the dog is on something, but don’t know what it is, the faster kids are more likely to learn ‘sofa’ from the context.”
This link between early processing speed and language learning is supported by other results from Fernald’s research group. In studies following both English- and Spanish-learning toddlers over several years, they found that children who are faster at recognizing familiar words at 18 months have larger vocabularies at age 2 years and score higher on standardized tests of language and cognition in kindergarten and elementary school.
Seeking a solution
Where do such early differences among children come from? One critical factor is that parents differ in the amount of language stimulation they provide to their infants. Several studies show that parents who talk more with their children in an engaging and supportive way have kids who are more likely to develop their full intellectual potential than kids who hear very little child-directed speech.
“For lots of reasons, there is generally less supportive talk to children in families living in poverty, which could partially explain the SES differences we found in children’s early processing skill and vocabulary learning,” Fernald said.
In previous research on caregivers’ speech to Spanish-learning children, Fernald’s group found big differences in levels of parental engagement even within a disadvantaged group of families. Those lower SES kids who heard more child-directed talk got faster in processing and learned language more rapidly.
“It’s clear that SES is not destiny,” Fernald said. “The good news is that regardless of economic circumstances, parents who use more and richer language with their infants can help their child to learn more quickly.” http://news.stanford.edu/news/2013/september/toddler-language-gap-091213.html

Moi wrote about the importance of parental involvement in Missouri program: Parent home visits:
One of the mantras of this blog is that education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be involved. Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well. A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/national/class/OVERVIEW-FINAL.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Class Matters http://www.nytimes.com/national/class/

Teachers and administrators as well as many politicians if they are honest know that children arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Teachers have to teach children at whatever point on the continuum the children are. Jay Matthews reports in the Washington Post article, Try parent visits, not parent takeovers of schools. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/try-parent-visits-not-parent-takeovers-of-schools/2012/05/30/gJQAlDDz2U_story.html
The key ingredient is parental involvement. The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (Council) has a great policy brief on parental involvement. http://www.wccf.org/pdf/parentsaspartners_ece-series.pd
https://drwilda.com/2012/05/30/missouri-program-parent-home-visits/

Related:

Baby sign language https://drwilda.com/2013/07/28/baby-sign-language/

The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum
https://drwilda.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/

The slow reading movement
https://drwilda.com/2012/01/31/the-slow-reading-movement/

Why libraries in K-12 schools are important
https://drwilda.com/2012/12/26/why-libraries-in-k-12-schools-are-important/

University of Iowa study: Variation in words may help early learners read better
https://drwilda.com/2013/01/16/university-of-iowa-study-variation-in-words-may-help-early-learners-read-better/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

University of Chicago study: Giving nonverbal clues can boost a child’s vocabulary

26 Jun

 

Educators have long recognized the importance of vocabulary in reading and learning. Francie Alexander writes in the Scholastic article, Understanding Vocabulary:

 

Why is vocabulary s-o-o important?

 

Vocabulary is critical to reading success for three reasons:

 

  1. Comprehension improves when you know what the words mean. Since comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading, you cannot overestimate the importance of vocabulary development.

  2. Words are the currency of communication. A robust vocabulary improves all areas of communication — listening, speaking, reading and writing.

  3. How many times have you asked your students or your own children to “use your words”? When children and adolescents improve their vocabulary, their academic and social confidence and competence improve, too. http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/understanding-vocabulary

 

A University of Chicago study, “Quality of early parent input predicts child vocabulary three years later,” published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences highlights the importance of parental involvement at an early stage of learning.

 

Alexandra Sifferlin writes in the Time article, Building Kids’ Vocabulary Doesn’t Have to Involve Words:

 

 

The stronger a child’s vocabulary, the more successful she tends to be in school, and new research shows that the word-building can begin before kids start talking.

 

Child development experts have long advised parents to talk to their babies, even if their infants can’t talk back. The more a parent talks to his child, the more words they are likely to learn. Now comes new work suggesting that even non-verbal cues such as pointing to objects can encourage vocabulary building regardless of socioeconomic status. It’s not just the quantity of words spoken, then, that’s important but the quality of the learning environment that may make the greatest difference.

 

To come to this conclusion, researchers from the University of Chicago videotaped the daily interactions of 50 parents and their toddlers over two 90-minute sessions when the kids were 14 months to 18 months. In order to tease apart the parents who used non-verbal cues from those who relied more on verbal communication, the researchers bleeped out a key word from 10 randomly selected 40-second clips of these recordings. They asked another 218 adults to watch these clips and guess which word the parent was saying at the beep.

 

The scientists then defined those situations in which the participants were easily able to determine the word — for example, guessing that the recorded parent was saying “book” if he said it while the child was walking to a bookshelf — as involving non-verbal cues, and classified the environments in which it was harder to guess the missing word as being primarily verbal ones.

 

Most of the parents used non-verbal cues from 5% to 38% of the time. Three years later, about the time the youngsters entered kindergarten, the researchers assessed their vocabularies and found that children with the biggest vocabularies also had parents whose beeped-out words were more easily deduced in the recording clips. Giving new words context with non-verbal cues could explain about 22% of the difference in vocabularies among children whose parents used them v. those who did not….: http://healthland.time.com/2013/06/26/building-kids-vocabulary-doesnt-have-to-involve-words/#ixzz2XOXWqAmF

 

Here is the press release from the University of Chicago:

 

Giving children non-verbal clues about words boosts vocabularies

 

By William Harms

June 24, 2013

The clues that parents give toddlers about words can make a big difference in how deep their vocabularies are when they enter school, new research at the University of Chicago shows.

By using words to reference objects in the visual environment, parents can help young children learn new words, according to the research. It also explores the difficult-to-measure quality of non-verbal clues to word meaning during interactions between parents and children learning to speak. For example, saying, “There goes the zebra” while visiting the zoo helps a child learn the word “zebra” faster than saying, “Let’s go to see the zebra.”

Differences in the quality of parents’ non-verbal clues to toddlers (what children can see when their parents are talking) explain about a quarter (22 percent) of the differences in those same children’s vocabularies when they enter kindergarten, researchers found.

The results are reported in the paper, “Quality of early parent input predicts child vocabulary three years later,” published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.         

Children’s vocabularies vary greatly in size by the time they enter school,” said lead author Erica Cartmill, a postdoctoral scholar at UChicago. “Because preschool vocabulary is a major predictor of subsequent school success, this variability must be taken seriously and its sources understood.”

Scholars have found that the number of words youngsters hear greatly influences their vocabularies. Parents with higher socioeconomic status—those with higher income and more education—typically talk more to their children and accordingly boost their vocabularies, research has shown.

That advantage for higher-income families doesn’t show up in the quality research, however.

What was surprising in this study was that social economic status did not have an impact on quality. Parents of lower social economic status were just as likely to provide high-quality experiences for their children as were parents of higher status,” said co-author Susan Goldin-Meadow, the Beardsley Ruml Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology at UChicago.  

Although scholars have amassed impressive evidence that the number of words children hear—the quantity of their linguistic input—has an impact on vocabulary development, measuring the quality of the verbal environment—including non-verbal clues to word meaning—has proved much more difficult.

To measure quality, the research team reviewed videotapes of everyday interactions between 50 primary caregivers, almost all mothers, and their children (14 to 18 months old). The mothers and children, from a range of social and economic backgrounds, were taped for 90-minute periods as they went about their days, playing and engaging in other activities.

The team then showed 40-second vignettes from these videotapes to 218 adults with the sound track muted. Based on the interaction between the child and parent, the adults were asked to guess what word the parent in each vignette used when a beep was sounded on the tape.

A beep might occur, for instance, in a parent’s silenced speech for the word “book” as a child approaches a bookshelf or brings a book to the mother to start storytime. In this scenario, the word was easy to guess because the mother labeled objects as the child saw and experienced them. In other tapes, viewers were unable to guess the word that was beeped during the conversation, as there were few immediate clues to the meaning of the parent’s words. Vignettes containing words that were easy to guess provided high-quality clues to word meaning.

Although there were no differences in the quality of the interactions based on parents’ backgrounds, the team did find significant individual differences among the parents studied. Some parents provided non-verbal clues about words only 5 percent of the time, while others provided clues 38 percent of the time, the study found.

The study also found that the number of words parents used was not related to the quality of the verbal exchanges. “Early quantity and quality accounted for different aspects of the variance found in the later vocabulary outcome measure,” the authors wrote. In other words, how much parents talk to their children (quantity), and how parents use words in relation to the non-verbal environment (quality) provided different kinds of input into early language development.

However, parents who talk more are, by definition, offering their children more words, and the more words a child hears, the more likely it will be for that child to hear a particular word in a high-quality learning situation,” they added. This suggests that higher-income families’ vocabulary advantage comes from a greater quantity of input, which leads to a greater number of high-quality word-learning opportunities. Making effective use of non-verbal cues may be a good way for parents to get their children started on the road to language.

Joining Cartmill and Goldin-Meadow as authors were University of Pennsylvania scholars Lila Gleitman, professor emerita of psychology; John Trueswell, professor of psychology; Benjamin Armstrong, a research assistant; and Tamara Medina, assistant professor of psychology at Drexel University.

The work was supported by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

– See more at: http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2013/06/24/giving-children-non-verbal-clues-about-words-boosts-vocabularies#sthash.V4f1L1Vb.dpuf

 

Citation:

 

Social Sciences – Psychological and Cognitive Sciences

 

  • Erica A. Cartmill,

  • Benjamin F. Armstrong III,

  • Lila R. Gleitman,

  • Susan Goldin-Meadow,

  • Tamara N. Medina,

  • and John C. Trueswell

 

Quality of early parent input predicts child vocabulary 3 years later PNAS 2013 ; published ahead of print June 24, 2013, doi:10.1073/pnas.1309518110

 

…10.1073/pnas.1309518110 Erica A. Cartmill Benjamin F. Armstrong III Lila…PDF) Supporting Information Cartmill et al. 10.1073/pnas…and working our way down until Cartmill et al. http://www.pnas.org/cgi…

 

 

Moi wrote about the importance of parental involvement in Missouri program: Parent home visits:

 

One of the mantras of this blog is that education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be involved.  Many educators have long recognized that the impact of social class affects both education achievement and life chances after completion of education. There are two impacts from diversity, one is to broaden the life experience of the privileged and to raise the expectations of the disadvantaged. Social class matters in not only other societies, but this one as well. A few years back, the New York Times did a series about social class in America. That series is still relevant. Janny Scott and David Leonhardt’s overview, Shadowy Lines That Still Divide describes the challenges faced by schools trying to overcome the disparity in education. The complete series can be found at Class Matters

 

Teachers and administrators as well as many politicians if they are honest know that children arrive at school at various points on the ready to learn continuum. Teachers have to teach children at whatever point on the continuum the children are. Jay Matthews reports in the Washington Post article, Try parent visits, not parent takeovers of schools. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/try-parent-visits-not-parent-takeovers-of-schools/2012/05/30/gJQAlDDz2U_story.html

 

The key ingredient is parental involvement. The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families (Council) has a great policy brief on parental involvement.http://www.wccf.org/pdf/parentsaspartners_ece-series.pd

 

https://drwilda.com/2012/05/30/missouri-program-parent-home-visits/

 


Related:

 

 

The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum https://drwilda.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/

 

The slow reading movement                                                       https://drwilda.com/2012/01/31/the-slow-reading-movement/

 

Why libraries in K-12 schools are important                              https://drwilda.com/2012/12/26/why-libraries-in-k-12-schools-are-important/

 

University of Iowa study: Variation in words may help early learners read better                                                                                   https://drwilda.com/2013/01/16/university-of-iowa-study-variation-in-words-may-help-early-learners-read-better/

 

 

Where Information Leads to Hope ©     Dr. Wilda.com

 

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

 

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

 

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©                           http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

 

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©                                                http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

 

Dr. Wilda ©                                                                             https://drwilda.com/

 

Survey: Most people don’t know what a learning disability is

2 Sep

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, a significant number of children are characterized with learning disabilities:

Students with disabilities

Question:
How many students with disabilities receive services?

Response:

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), enacted in 1975, mandates that children and youth ages 3–21 with disabilities be provided a free and appropriate public school education. The overall percentage of public school students being served in programs for those with disabilities decreased between 2003–04 (13.7 percent) and 2008–09 (13.2 percent). However, there were different patterns of change in the percentages served with some specific conditions between 2003–04 and 2008–09. The percentage of children identified as having other health impairments (limited strength, vitality, or alertness due to chronic or acute health problems such as a heart condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, asthma, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia, or diabetes) rose from 1.0 to 1.3 percent of total public school enrollment; the percentage with autism rose from 0.3 to 0.7 percent; and the percentage with developmental delays rose from 0.6 to 0.7 percent. The percentage of children with specific learning disabilities declined from 5.8 percent to 5.0 percent of total public school enrollment during this period.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2011). Digest of Education Statistics, 2010 (NCES 2011-015), Chapter 2.

Children 3 to 21 years old served in federally supported programs for the disabled, by type of disability: Selected years, 1976-77 through 2008-09

Type of Disability

1976-77

1980-81

1990-91

1998-99

2000-01

2002-03

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-081

2008-091

Number served (in thousands)

All disabilities

3,694

4,144

4,710

6,056

6,296

6,523

6,719

6,713

6,686

6,606

6,483

Specific learning disabilities

796

1,462

2,129

2,790

2,868

2,848

2,798

2,735

2,665

2,573

2,476

Speech or language impairments

1,302

1,168

985

1,068

1,409

1,412

1,463

1,468

1,475

1,456

1,426

Intellectual disability

961

830

534

597

624

602

578

556

534

500

478

Emotional disturbance

283

347

389

462

481

485

489

477

464

442

420

Hearing impairments

88

79

58

70

78

78

79

79

80

79

78

Orthopedic impairments

87

58

49

69

83

83

73

71

69

67

70

Other health impairments2

141

98

55

220

303

403

521

570

611

641

659

Visual impairments

38

31

23

26

29

29

29

29

29

29

29

Multiple disabilities

68

96

106

133

138

140

141

142

138

130

Deaf-blindness

3

1

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

2

Autism

53

94

137

191

223

258

296

336

Traumatic brain injury

13

16

22

24

24

25

25

26

Developmental delay

12

178

283

332

339

333

358

354

Preschool disabled3

390

568

Number served as a percent of total enrollment4

All disabilities

8.3

10.1

11.4

13.0

13.3

13.5

13.8

13.7

13.6

13.4

13.2

Specific learning disabilities

1.8

3.6

5.2

6.0

6.1

5.9

5.7

5.6

5.4

5.2

5.0

Speech or language impairments

2.9

2.9

2.4

2.3

3.0

2.9

3.0

3.0

3.0

3.0

2.9

Intellectual disability

2.2

2.0

1.3

1.3

1.3

1.2

1.2

1.1

1.1

1.0

1.0

Emotional disturbance

0.6

0.8

0.9

1.0

1.0

1.0

1.0

1.0

0.9

0.9

0.9

Hearing impairments

0.2

0.2

0.1

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.2

Orthopedic impairments

0.2

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

Other health impairments2

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.5

0.6

0.8

1.1

1.2

1.2

1.3

1.3

Visual impairments

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

Multiple disabilities

0.2

0.2

0.2

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.3

0.3

Deaf-blindness

#

#

#

#

#

#

#

#

#

#

Autism

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5

0.5

0.6

0.7

Traumatic brain injury

#

#

#

#

#

0.1

0.1

0.1

Developmental delay

#

0.4

0.6

0.7

0.7

0.7

0.7

0.7

Preschool disabled3

0.9

1.2

NOTE: Prior to October 1994, children and youth with disabilities were served under Chapter 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as well as under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part B. Data reported in this table for years prior to 1994–95 include children ages 0–21 served under Chapter 1. Data are for the 50 states and the District of Columbia only. Increases since 1987–88 are due in part to new legislation enacted in fall 1986, which added a mandate for public school special education services for 3- to 5-year-old disabled children. Some data have been revised from previously published figures. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=64

Even though many children have learning disabilities, many people don’t understand what a learning disability is.

The National Center for Learning Disabilities reports the results of a survey about learning disabilities:

NCLD’s Survey of Public Perceptions of Learning Disabilities

NCLD collected data from a random sampling of 1,980 adults in the United States, evenly distributed across males and females, via an online survey in August 2012. The sampling is representative of the U.S. population with a margin of error of 4.4 percent.

Twelve percent of the respondents cited having a learning disability, and eight percent of the parents surveyed have a child with a learning disability.

Results reveal the need for more education about the causes, treatments of, and treatments for learning disabilities, and a better understanding of the rights of learning disabled people in the workplace.

General Knowledge about Learning Disabilities

  • Regarding types of learning disabilities, two-thirds of people do not know what dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and dyspraxia are, whereas most people (91%) are familiar with dyslexia.
  • Most people (84%) see learning disabilities as a growing issue in the U.S.
  • Though the following celebrities have spoken publicly about their learning disabilities (LD), one-third of the public does not know about the celebrities’ LD:
    • Whoopi Goldberg
    • Bruce Jenner
    • Anderson Cooper
    • Richard Branson
    • Tommy Hilfiger

Learning Disability Diagnosis, Causes, Treatment

  • Most people (62%) say diagnosing a learning disability is a joint effort between the child’s pediatrician, parent/caregiver, teacher, and school administrator.
  • Learning disabilities are thought to be diagnosed in early schooling. Over half (53%) determined that learning disabilities are diagnosed during grades 1-4, while nearly a quarter (23%) think that they’re diagnosed in kindergarten.
  • Nearly eight in 10 people (76%) correctly say that genetics can cause learning disabilities.
  • Many respondents (43%) wrongly think that learning disabilities are correlated with IQ.
  • Nearly a quarter of respondents (22%) think learning disabilities can be caused by too much time spent watching television;  31% believe a cause is poor diet; 24% believe a cause is childhood vaccinations (none are factors).
  • Over one-third of respondents think that a lack of early childhood parent/teacher involvement can cause a learning disability.
  • People seem a bit unsure about how to treat learning disabilities. Most (83%) say that early intervention can help, but over half incorrectly cite medication and mental health counseling as treatments.
  • Over half of the respondents (55%) wrongly believe that corrective eyewear can treat certain learning disabilities.

Life with a Learning Disability

  • Nearly one-third of people incorrectly think that it is lawful for an employer to ask an interviewee if they have a learning disability.
  • Almost all respondents (90%) know that it is unlawful for an employer to terminate an employee who is found to have a learning disability.
  • It’s generally accepted (84%) that students with learning disabilities deserve individual classroom attention and extra time on tests.
  • Most people (63%) know someone who has a learning disability.
  • Nearly one-third of Americans (30%) admit to making casual jokes about having a learning disability when someone makes a reading, writing, or mathematical mistake.
  • Nearly half of the parents of children with learning disabilities (45%) say that their child has been bullied in the past year.
  • Two-thirds (66%) feel that children with learning disabilities are bullied more than other children.
  • Over a third of parents (37%) say that their child’s school inadequately tests for learning disabilities.
  • Almost two-thirds of parents (64%) say that their child’s school doesn’t provide information on learning disabilities.
  • Some parents of children with learning disabilities (20%) say they’re most comfortable consulting the internet for information regarding their child’s learning disability. However, over two-thirds of parents with children with learning disabilities prefer talking to a teacher (67%) or pediatrician (62%).
  • Most parents of children with learning disabilities (75%) believe they could do more to help their child. http://www.ncld.org/types-learning-disabilities/what-is-ld/survey-executive-summary

See, What’s a Learning Disability, Anyway? Most Americans Confused http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/speced/2012/08/whats_a_learning_disability_mo.html?intc=es

The University of Michigan Health System has a great guide, Learning Disabilities:

What are learning disabilities (LD)?
If your child is not doing as well in school as they have the potential to, they may have a
learning disability. Having a learning disability means having a normal intelligence but a problem in one or more areas of learning.

A learning disability is a neurobiological disorder; people with LD have brains that learn differently because of differences in brain structure and/or function.  If a person learns differently due to visual, hearing or physical handicaps, mental retardation, emotional disturbance, or environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage, we do not call it a learning disability.

Some people with LD also have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD.

LDs can affect many different areas:

  • Spoken language—problems in listening and speaking
  • Reading—difficulties decoding or recognizing words or understanding them
  • Written language—problems with writing, spelling, organizing ideas
  • Math—trouble doing arithmetic or understanding basic concepts
  • Reasoning—problems organizing and putting together thoughts
  • Memory—problems remembering facts and instructions
  • Social behavior—difficulties with social judgment, tolerating frustration and making friends
  • Physical coordination—problems with handwriting, manipulating small objects, running and jumping
  • Organization—trouble with managing time and belongings, carrying out a plan
  • Metacognition (thinking about thinking)—problems with knowing, using and monitoring the use of thinking and learning strategies, and learning from mistakes

Why is early diagnosis and treatment so important?
When LDs are not found and treated early on, they tend to snowball.  As kids get more and more behind in school, they may become more and more frustrated, feeling like a failure. Often, self-esteem problems lead to bad behavior and other problems.  High school dropout rates are much higher for students with LDs than for those without
[1].   These educational differences, in turn, affect the job and earnings prospects for people with LDs.  When LD is not noticed or not treated, it can cause adult literacy problems.   By identifying LDs early, your child will get the help they need to reach their potential.

How common are learning disabilities?
Educators estimate that between 5 and 10 percent of kids between ages 6 and 17 have learning disabilities
[2]. More than half of the kids receiving special education in the United States have LDs [3]. Dyslexia is the most common LD; 80 percent of students with LDs have dyslexia [4].

What causes learning disabilities?
Because there are lots of kinds of learning disabilities, it is hard to diagnose them and pinpoint the causes. LDs seem to be caused by the brain, but the exact causes are not known. Some
risk factors are:

  • Heredity
  • Low birth weight, prematurity, birth trauma or distress
  • Stress before or after birth
  • Treatment for cancer or leukemia
  • Central nervous system infections
  • Severe head injuries
  • Chronic medical illnesses, like diabetes or asthma
  • Poor nutrition

LDs are not caused by environmental factors, like cultural differences, or bad teaching.

When your child is diagnosed with a LD, the most important thing is not to look back and try to figure out if something went wrong. Instead, think about moving forward and finding help. http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/ld.htm

Once a learning disability has been diagnosed there are steps parents can take to advocate for their child.

Scholastic has great advice for parents in the article, Falling Behind With a Learning Disability:

Kids who are struggling can fall way behind. To identify a potential learning disability, ask yourself:

  • Does your child have uneven skills — performing well in some areas, struggling in others? Success in one area shows he has the intelligence and maturity to read, but he might have a learning disability that prevents him from recognizing word sounds and linking them to letters.

  • Can she decode grade-level texts as well as write simple, coherent sentences? At this age, a child should be reading on her own, as well as writing about what she has read, using accurate spelling. If her progress in acquiring these basic skills is slow, she lacks strategies for reading new words, or she stumbles when confronted with multi-syllable words, you need to find out if this is because of a learning disability.

  • Does he mispronounce long, unfamiliar words? Speech should be fluent. A child who hesitates often, peppering his speech with “ums” and pauses or struggles to retrieve words or respond when asked a question, is sending important clues about a possible learning disability.

  • Does she rely heavily on memorization instead of learning new skills? By 3rd grade, your child should be able to summarize the meaning of a new paragraph she just read, as well as predict what will happen next in the story.

  • Is his handwriting messy, even though he can type rapidly on a keyboard? Misshapen, wobbling handwriting can be a sign that your child is not hearing the sounds of a word correctly, and therefore is unable to write them down.

  • Does she avoid reading for pleasure? And when she does, does she find it exhausting and laborious? This could be a sign of a learning disability.

What to Do

Schedule a conference with your child’s teacher, the school support staff, and your pediatrician to get their perspectives on whether your child has a learning disability. Together, you can decide if your child should be formally evaluated for a learning disability or if other steps can be taken first — perhaps moving him to a smaller class, switching teaching styles, or scheduling one-on-one tutoring or time in the resource room.

Don’t be shy about asking questions: Is your child’s progress within the normal range? Why is he having all this trouble? Should you consult another learning disability specialist (a neurologist, a speech-and-language expert)? Trust your gut. If you’re not getting the answers you need, find someone who can give them to you. Meanwhile, at home:

  • Help your child flourish: She needs to know that you love her no matter what, so put her weaknesses into perspective for her. Empathize with her frustration (remind her of some of your own school difficulties), and reassure her that you’re confident she will learn to deal with it.

  • Focus on what he does right and well: Does he love to paint or play baseball? Make sure he has many opportunities to pursue and succeed in those activities, and let him overhear you tell Grandma how well he played in the last game. Prominently display his trophies or ribbons.

  • Start a folder of all letters, emails, and material related to your child’s education. Include school reports as well as medical exams.

  • Collect samples of your child’s schoolwork that illustrate her strengths as well as her weaknesses.

  • Keep a diary of your observations about your child’s difficulties in and out of school.

  • Help him set up a work area at home as well as the materials he needs to study.

  • Show her how to organize her backpack and how to use a plan book for assignments.

  • Coordinate with teachers so you can practice at home the skills he learns at school.                                                         http://www.scholastic.com/resources/article/learning-disability/

Schools often test children to determine whether a child has a learning disability. Often parents may want to have an independent evaluation for their child.

PBS’ Reading Rockets has great information for parents who want an independent test for their child in the article, Having Your Child Tested for Learning Disabilities Outside of School:

You can find the names of professionals to choose from in local phone books, from a list provided by the school, or from people you know. LD OnLine also lists professionals in its Yellow Pages.

Although you definitely want to work with someone who makes you and your child feel comfortable, that’s not enough. Here are some questions to ask and points to keep in mind when deciding which professional to choose.

Are you licensed or certified?

Many professionals can suspect LD and/or ADHD, but not all of them are licensed or certified to diagnose these disorders.

When you go to a person in private practice (i.e., someone who is not employed by the school system), it’s important to determine if the professional has the needed license to be in private practice and to make the diagnosis of LD or ADHD. Most states require the license of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and lawyers to be in clear view in their offices.

What areas do you specialize in?

Ask the person, “What is your area of expertise?” This could include learning disabilities, ADHD, speech and hearing, legal issues, behavior modification, education, emotional concerns, family counseling, and more. Consider which experience and expertise is most appropriate for your child’s situation.

What age range do you specialize in?

The person could specialize in working with preschoolers, children, adolescents, or adults. It’s important to choose a professional who is used to working with children of your son’s or daughter’s age.

What are your fees?

Ask the person what his or her hourly rate is and how an hour is defined. Some use a 45 or 50 minute hour (this is so they have time to write notes about the session). You may also want to ask whether appointments can be broken up into smaller blocks, what happens if you miss a scheduled appointment, whether there is a sliding fee scale, and if a payment plan can be set up.

Will you accept my insurance or HMO coverage?

Not all professionals will take insurance and not all insurance will pay for the professional’s fee. If money is an issue, you need to know upfront if your insurance or HMO will pay for the professional’s fees and whether the professional will accept your insurance. Also ask if the office will submit bills to the insurance company or if you will need to do so.

Will I get a written report?

If you need a written report for an upcoming meeting with the school, make sure the person will be able to meet your deadline. Determine how long it usually takes to get a written report and whether the cost of the report is included in the estimated charge.

Will you coordinate with the school?

Ask if the person will go to the school for meetings if needed and how that time will be billed. Find out if the person will coordinate the work he or she is doing with your child with what your child’s classroom teacher is doing in school.

What range of services do I need?

Think about whether you need someone to just do testing, whether you need someone who can also work with the school, and whether your child needs a few sessions or many.

What information can I gather to help with the diagnosis?

Look for your child’s school records, work samples, past assessments, and teacher comments, all of which may help the professional gain information on how to assess or help your child.

How should I explain this to my child?

Ask the person for advice on how you can talk to your child about his or her need for testing, counseling, or educational intervention.

Do I want to interview more than one professional to determine the best one for my child’s needs?

Yes. Unless you have a strong recommendation from a close friend or from the school, it is wise to interview more than one person before making a decision.

Related links

For more information about testing for learning disabilities, go to:

To learn to understand and use your child’s test results, go to

http://www.readingrockets.org/article/4529/

Resources:

Early warning signs of a learning disability                          http://www.babycenter.com/0_early-warning-signs-of-a-learning-disability_67978.bc

How to know if your child has a learning disability http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/advice/how-to-know-if-your-child-has-a-learning-disability/2012/05/08/gIQAvzLvAU_story.html

If You Suspect a Child Has a Learning Disability http://www.ncld.org/parents-child-disabilities/ld-testing/if-you-suspect-child-has-learning-disability

Learning Disabilities in Children                                http://www.helpguide.org/mental/learning_disabilities.htm

Learning Disabilities (LD)                                                       http://nichcy.org/disability/specific/ld

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©