Just like reading, there are many possible areas of difficulty that can lead to a written language delay. Here are some of the most likely possibilities that would affect a child’s literacy development.
Poor letter to sound correspondence and phonological awareness
Once again, an understanding of the link between the letters and their paired sounds or letter to sound correspondence is crucial in writing. This is because the individual needs to be able to sound out each sound within a word, convert it to letters, which form words and sentences in their written work. Phonological awareness or ability to identify individual or groups of sounds is also necessary for this same process to occur. Children who have trouble in this area would benefit from phonological awareness training or The Spalding Program.
Poor verbal production
When writing a passage, a child is expected to not only encode (write each individual sounds to make a word) but also produce each word to make a sentence, which they must then tie together to create an entire story. Underpinning all of this is the child’s ability to produce verbal language. This is because if a child is not able to produce a spoken story then even if they are able to encode the symbols into words, if they are unable to produce coherent verbal sentences, then what they produce is a string of incoherent sentences or a passage that may be ordered incorrectly or make no sense. For these children we recommend specific expressive language therapy, depending on the level where language production has broken down.
Poor planning and structure
When writing a passage, an individual is required to plan ahead of time, what points they wish to make within their writing. This is even more essential when writing than when speaking, as the individual does not always have the opportunity to correct their work later (e.g. during an exam). The individual also needs to have a solid understanding of the different text types such as a persuasive essay vs. a narrative as each text type has its own specific structure, which must be follow, in order to properly convey the message intended.
These are some of the areas a speech pathologist assesses, in order to determine the individuals area of weakness. This allows us to provide the correct intervention that will have the greatest benefit for literacy development.
Contact us for results focused on speech therapy
This article was written by our Speech Pathologist Ashleigh Fattah who is a Speech Pathology Australia member. If you have questions about language activities, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with simple and effective therapy targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.