Success of Remedial Therapy: from Reading to Writing
By Darshika Shah, Special Educator
Profile of a Primary Grade Special Child
Neil was 3.8 years old when he came for an assessment to Drishti. He was in Nursery at that time. Initial consultation revealed that he was born preterm by 1 month. His motor milestones were delayed. He also exhibited behaviour difficulties in the form of hyperactivity and inattention. His parents reported difficulty remaining seated, following directions, fearfulness and withdrawal from activities. In addition to these, fidgeting and restlessness were also present.
The Remedial Therapy Plan
Neil was enrolled for individual therapy at centre in May 2016. Initially, Neil enrolled for summer program for the duration of 3 weeks where he came for remedial sessions for 2 hours a week. His plan was geared around fine motor, visual perception, reading and writing readiness and receptive- expressive language skills. A lot of emphasis was given on picture talk and object talk. Flash cards, videos and role plays were some techniques used to improve language skills.
Progress in Remedial Therapy
By the end of 3 weeks 94% of the goals were achieved with 90% accuracy in fine motor skills, 85% accuracy in writing readiness and 90% accuracy in reading readiness, 70% in receptive language and 85% in expressive language. Seeing good improvement in the child, parents re -registered for therapy.
His therapy continued for another 3.5 years. Additionally, apart from the above mentioned skills, communication, social development and activities of daily living were added to the repertoire of work to be done with Neil. Gradually as Neil mastered phonics and basic numeracy, we moved on to word reading. I emphasised on sight reading through Schonell’s spelling list and flashcards. Techniques such as circling words, sentence construction from a given word and syllabification of words were used.
From Reading to Writing Skills
The focus from word reading eventually moved on to reading sentences followed by short paragraphs and short stories. I began with oral comprehension, basically asking him all factual questions and recalling details from the story. He could recall the details with clarity. However our biggest challenge came in the form of writing. There was no aversion towards writing but he was not HAPPY writing. I started with colourful pattern writing, coloring books, mazes, dot to dot joining, filling in missing letters…While doing all these activities I could find out that it was not that he didn’t like writing but his work was not neat and that was the reason he did not want to write. I started doing tracing of alphabets, used sand box, used sandpaper cut outs and also started with letter and word game in writing. I used Handwriting Book so that he had some model to copy. This made him confident about writing and his letter formation started improving. Now at this stage he was almost age appropriate with his skills acquisition.
Integrating School Curriculum in Remedial Therapy
He was slowly progressing towards Primary School where I felt the need to include school curriculum in Remedial Therapy. I started working on school curriculum using remedial techniques as my aide to help him crack his curriculum. The new program included a lot of vocabulary goals like spellings, Understanding curricular words, meanings, using them into sentences. Reading & Written Comprehension, answering questions in writing , composition writing and paragraph writing of 3-5 sentences After completion of 3 years of therapy his IEP goals were 100% achieved with 80-90% accuracy in various areas.
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The author, Darshika, likes to be with young children and to explore new places. At the time of writing this story, Darshika was HOD Remedial Education at Drishti