Friday, June 18, 2010

Discourse with Dr.Selznick - Part 4 & Lesson 41

Dear Doc,
I understand that yours is not a teaching task.
I understand your tools as well. All my dyslexic students will have no problem with your exercise.
They will get above average results after three months of my lessons. They may have a problem with words from Mike onwards.

I agree with your 'ttt' and not 'tuh' sound. I would have thought that this is only a problem with phonics tuition here. I did not expect it to be a problem in US. Refer my article on this matter.

Note: This may be deviating but, how do you do a diagnostic test on someone if they have not been taught phonics or not taught properly?
Would this not be like giving you a diagnostic test in Tamil and jumping to wrong conclusions?

Luqman Michel


I finally had a few moments to read the post below at your site. I am totally on board with you and agree with your column fully.

Many are teaching phonics and do not have the knowledge/understanding of the sounds as you described. I am also fully on board with the notion that many kids are curriculum or "teaching disabled."

The vast majority of kids on the left side of the bell shaped curve - the ones who are showing some difficulty in reading - are probably not "disabled." They need highly explicit, structured teaching so they can get their minds around the sounds and the blending one step at a time. We start with very small sound units (ip, et, at) and build up systematically from there. Lots of practice and good feedback are crucial.

The true dyslexics, I think, are much farther down the bell shaped curve. We've seen kids struggle terribly even with good structured instruction. They are rarer, though, as I think you point out.

By the way, I cut off the test I sent you somewhat prematurely. There are a few harder items on the test. I think the test is pretty easy for kids older than 8. I still maintain that these diagnostic indicators do suggest a relative weakness in some aspect of the language system

By the way, I also agree with you that with good instruction, as you are obviously providing, they will improve greatly after three months of your lessons. I totally get that.

In simple terms, I tend to think of reading like a sport or music skill. Line up 100 kids for tennis instruction. Give them a simple screening task and put them in different categories. The ones in the low group are not disabled, but I would assume that you would agree they are not naturally wired for tennis like the top group. Can they improve with good, patient instruction over time? Yes, absolutely. Will they likely be as good as the top group? Perhaps some will but not most.

I think it's the same with reading. Why would it be any different? And, by the way, for the awkward and clumsy children, we don't call them "Tennis Disabled," do we?

How old are the kids you are referring to?

Hi again Doc,
When I teach them they are mostly in primary one. Here you go into primary one in the year you attain 7 years old. As such most go into school after their 6th birthday and will become seven in that year. Our school year follows the calendar - January to December. Most of them would have attended at least a year of kindergarten before going to primary one.

There are a few who have come to me when they are in primary 3. I had to start them from the primary one level.

If your question was about kids who have not gone to kindergarten, and you verbally tell them the phonemes of the individual letters of 'c - a' -t ' and ask them to say what sound the word cat will have without the sound 'c/k' I would believe (even though I have not done any such test) that a dyslexic will not be able to get the answer right. He is a visual learner and he will be lost. He can only do this exercise if he has already learnt phonics.

Doc, I hope you are enjoying this discussion as much as I am. I am learning a lot from you.
Luqman Michel


Thanks...I am enjoying...If we keep it up, maybe we'll have enough to publish another book!!!

Keep in mind that the test that I gave you which comes from the CTOPPP is meant to screen for kids that are predisposed to these difficulties. So, there is no assumption about having been taught the skill.

I could give a test like that to four and five year old and have a pretty good prediction as to who will need more attention early. I find the early indicators to be quite powerful as predictors. 90% of the time, I could nail the prediction just based on a couple of those tasks.

As an aside I read your note about the Irlen lenses. I am in total agreement with you. In fact, in the mid 80s I was director of the Eye Institute Learning Center and became trained in Irlen Lenses. I never made a dime off of it because I would not allow myself to perpetrate such a sham of a treatment.

Richard Selznick, Ph.D.
Director: Cooper Learning Center
Department of Pediatrics
Cooper University Hospital
(856) 673 - 4903 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (856) 673 - 4903      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Fax (856) 673 - 4909

For lesson 41 click here:


Heidi said...

Tennis disabled...I love it. I am team sports disabled. So, I quickly learned to avoid all team sports so no one had to depend on me. I ski, run and bike.

I think the sports thing is a great analogy to those who have reading problems. I am also accounting disabled, finance disabled, and not very good at math, even after trying hard for years.

I do think mainly though, that Luqman nailed it when he figured out dyslexics are logical thinkers.

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you Heidi for your comment.You do have a way with words.
I hope to convince more people that dyslexics are logical thinkers.