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4 year old with language and auditory processing delays

Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2003 2:08 am
by Janis
I am a special education teacher in the US who normally does remedial reading work. I have been using **. However, the parents of a 4 year old called me last night to ask for guidance regarding their child who is very bright but has some auditory processing and language delays. I expressed that they would definitely need to seek private reading instruction as out public schools here (US) do not know how to properly teach a child like this.

In the event I am asked to tutor this child, I am deliberating about which synthetic phonics program to use. I need one which is very multi-sensory and will provide adequate practice work. I would only be working with the child about 2 hours a week, so I need a program that is adaptable to that amount of time. I have heard Jolly Phonics is very good but didn't know if it would be appropriate for my situation. I certainly think the materials look interesting and appealing.

This child will be 5 next September. Should I wait until then to start or begin sooner?

(I also posted this on the JP board, but it looks as though that board does not get many responses)

Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2003 3:36 pm
by john walker
Dear Janis,
I don't know what the nature of this child's auditory processing problems and language delay is but if the child isn't even five until next September, why on earth would anyone be wanting her to learn to read yet?
If these problems are serious, the parents should seek professional help. If not, then the problems might very well resolve themselves over the next year or so. With almost all children there are discontinuities in the processes of learnng and development. What the parents will want to know are whether the discrepancies between this child and other children of her age are sufficient to warrant a closer look. Any experienced nursery teacher would probably be able to give good advice on this.
in the meantime, the child's parents should be reading to the child, singing sings, and learning nursery rhymes and poems for fun.
Later on, when the child is a year or so older, as you are in the US, what's wong with **? P-G should serve the child very well.
In the meantime, get the parents to buy: A Year Full of Stories, (1997), by Georgie Adams and Selina Young, Orion Childrens Books. It's fantastic for young children - I've been round it three times with my six year old!
John Walker

Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2003 8:42 pm
by Guest
Thank you for your reply, John. The child comes from a very good home where she is read to very often and she goes to a morning pre-school. She had a speech-language evaluation which indicated a delay in language development and some probable auditory processing issues. She is too young to formally test auditory processing. The parents were not calling to begin reading instruction now, they were just trying to find out what they should do next. And I explained that they needed to plan very carefully to be sure she gets proper reading instruction as most of our schools here do not use a synthetic phonics approach.

My hesitation about ** is that it has no emphasis whatsoever on letter formation, and I feel that should be incorporated into first time phonics instruction. However, if need be, then I will just make some pages to add this instruction to my PG materials. PG also does not have adequate decodable readers, and that has to be added as well. I just thought Jolly Phonics looked much more appealing for a young child, plus it seems to include the features PG lacks.


Posted: Fri Dec 12, 2003 9:27 pm
by Debbie Hepplewhite
Dear Janis,

Jolly Phonics is extremely child and parent friendly. The Phonics Handbook is excellent value for money as it is straightforward to read and contains all the resources and ideas needed to get any young child off to the best start in decoding and spelling and writing - either at home or school.

I would have no hesitation in recommending this programme for a four year old, but would say equally that a four year old who does not show an interest, or seem ready in any way, should not be pushed.

It could be that raising the child's awareness of sounds in words will help with speech and auditory processing.

I don't necesarily agree with people who almost 'avoid' starting to draw attention to sounds in speech and letters in words with young children. I could be a devil's advocate and suggest that a diet of lots of reading books with mum, dad or grandparents with an observant child to the exclusion of some early phonics could go in the direction of the child learning words as wholes and guessing words from pictures and context - aspects which can be damaging to children.

Bear in mind also, that programmes such as Jolly Phonics are lots of fun and the huge success of Jolly Phonics with young children surely suggests that it is the right route to take and does not need to be avoided because of a child's age.

Of course I am not in a position to advise on the particular child that you have mentioned and my comments can only be taken as generalisations.
Hope they are helpful nevertheless.

Best wishes,


Posted: Sat Dec 13, 2003 5:52 am
by Janis
Dear Debbie,

I am very happy that you feel that Jolly Phonics might be appropriate! I did order The Phonics Handbook yesterday. I can order other components later if the parents decide to have me tutor the child.

You are very perceptive in your comments about parents reading to children. This father told me his daughter has already memorized some books that they have read over and over again. So she is definitely off to a bad start memorizing whole words. And I completely agree that good phonemic awareness/phonics training can result in improved articulation of phonemes as well as auditory discrimination.

So at this point, I am feeling as though it might be beneficial to work with this child before the school uses a totally ineffective program with her next fall. But I will have to convince her parents first!

Thanks for your reply!

Posted: Sat Dec 13, 2003 4:49 pm
by Janis
No, I have not seen the child yet. They are still awaiting the written report from her language evaluation and will contact me again when that arrives. I do think it is possible that she could be memorizing the books auditorially, but the father also told me that she was 'reading' words off of store signs, etc. For example, he said that there is a grocery store named Food Lion, and the little girl can recognize the word 'food' when she sees it in other locations. So from that, I knew she was doing some whole word sight memorization. But it could be both auditory and visual memorization, definitely.


Posted: Sat Dec 13, 2003 8:02 pm
by quipg.
Janis -Just to add a little - Diane McGuinnesses book 'Growing a Reader from Birth' is due for publication in the States next month.

JP is carefully and professionally produced and child-friendly, and is most reasonably priced especially when compared with some of the others. But if this boy still has some speech difficulty when starting school I think I'd choose PG as it gives such good phonological training, or if very severe, Lindamood-Bell (though have not used it). You might also be interested in the speech pathology section of TAD website (Texas Alternative Document) - the rest of the document I found over-elaborate - but this section v. helpful for children with slight speech delay,i.e. confusion between/th/ and /f /.
And don't forget the U.S. published Bob Books - they make excellent decodable books for beginners! Hope this doesn't confuse the issue further.

Posted: Sat Dec 13, 2003 9:27 pm
by Janis
I certainly look forward to Diane McG.'s new book!

I appreciate all those suggestions! I have already taken three Lindamood-Bell trainings and intend to take the last one in the next several months. I do believe I can incorporate those methods into whatever reading program I use. I also have the first two sets of Bob books.

I just think the JP materials are so visually appealing, and I would think that would make the lessons a little more enjoyable for a young child.
If I could just use that as my base and then add extra phonemic awareness exercises as needed from my other programs, hopefully it would work out well.