Executive Functioning and Dyslexia Symptoms
Research has shown strong correlations between
dyslexia symptoms and deficits in short-term memory and executive functioning.
It is undisputed that children with specific reading disabilities have deficits
in phonological processing and storage, and there is evidence to suggest that they
also experience deficits in central executive functioning.
(Pickering, 2006b; Swanson, 2006; Vellutino et al., 2004) and (Landerl, Bevan, &
Butterworth, 2004; Palmer, 2000; Siegel & Ryan, 1989; Swanson, 1993, 1999)
"The term executive function describes a set of cognitive abilities that
control and regulate other abilities and behaviors. Executive functions are necessary
for goal-directed behavior. They include the ability to initiate
and stop actions, to monitor and change behavior as needed, and to plan future behavior
when faced with novel tasks and situations. Executive functions allow us to
anticipate outcomes and adapt to changing situations.
The ability to form concepts and think abstractly
are often considered components of executive function"
("Executive Function", Danielle Barry, M.S.,
Executive functioning is vital for successful adaptation and
performance in real-life situations. Executive functioning oversees
the "slave" process of working, or short-term, memory. The executive functions help
to organize and apply what is in the working memory. That being said, if there is
a weakness in the executive functioning, along with difficulties with short-term
memory in relation to storing and retrieving information, then the ability to connect
the visual and auditory representation of the phoneme and grapheme is further impeded
by knowing how to apply that information in sequence and in relation to reading.
It becomes very important, since the information comes into the senses first and
second to working memory, that all of the senses be used to help
store the initial input of information.
"Children develop their abilities from the bottom up, with the wiring together of
sensory stimuli. Those that fire together are more likely to wire together into
efficient neural representations. This linkage is enhanced with repetition, and
representations are mapped into functional modules in a distinct fine-grained fashion.
The more perceptually salient, consistent, frequent, multisensory, and emotionally
reinforcing the input, the stronger the map becomes". This is the main reason
that any remediation given to someone with dyslexia symptoms must be a multi-sensory, sequential approach.
("Current Status of Treatments for Dyslexia: Diagnosis and Treatment of the Child
Once the information has made it into short-term memory, then those with executive-functioning
issues will need to be given some clear, sequential steps to be
able to apply the information to functions like reading and spelling. Discover Intensive
Phonics teaches in a sequential,
multi-sensory fashion with simple strategies given to help apply the information
learned. All of these components are so important for effective reading remediation
and long-term success.
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How Our Reading Program Works to Improve Reading Skills-
Learn how the Reading Horizons program provides sequential, multi-sensory instruction
to help with Dyslexia symptoms and other learning disorders.
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