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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
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Posted Mar 14, 2001 at 12:00:01 AM
Subject: processing speed

Does anyone know of exercise, activities, or programs that help improve processing speed? I am providng PACE, which addresses this issue, with my 10 year old son. But I was wondering if there is any other way to improve processing speed. We have done Interactive Metronome which has also improve his processing speed but still he is weak in this area.Also, I would appreciate it if someone could explain what is involved when processing speed is a problem so that I understand it better. Is it a problem obtaining this information in the brain? Is it a problem with storing this information? Is it a sensory intergration problem? We were doing a task with PACE where my son was to circle two key letters on a page filled with random letters in beat to the metronome while he was counting. He stuggled with this for a very long time. All of a sudden one day while doing it, he said, &quot;Mom, it's easier now. I can just doing it without thinking so hard about it&quot;. And he was finally able to pass that level within the time frame recommended. This leads me to believe that now he is using a more effecient method to perform this task. But how can I develop this and how can I get that transfered into reading? I appreciate your comments.Donna

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 14, 2001 12:00:01 AM

Hi Donna!You are referring to visual processing versus auditory processing, aren't you? Are you referring to the DSL activity?Blessings, momo

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Posted:Mar 14, 2001 12:00:01 AM

Processing speed is the rapid processing of routine visual information, ususally abstract symbols like letters and numbers. Folks with weaknesses in this area may be prone to errors caused by having to work too fast. In reading, it may mean that they read a bit more slowly, so that they can pay proper attention to all the letters. In math, activities like timed tests are hard, especially those that have two or more operations on them.The conventional wisdom from research, as I understand it, is that training cognitive processes like processing speed in isolation is not going to improve academic performance, unless solid therapeutic remediation is also happening. The jury is out on whether it helps at all. The anecdotal evidence from people who use programs like PACE and Brainbuilder indicates that it may help. There are a lot of folks on these boards who are very positive about the programs. i respect their opinions. However, in order to see gains in academic areas, remediation needs to happen in those academic areas.From a research standpoint, evaluating the effectiveness of programs like PACE is quite difficult I think, since it works best with good remediation. Thus, you have a &quot;casserole effect&quot; where it is the combination that works - not necessarily the individual ingredients alone and it is difficult to sort out which has what effect. Rather than spend my effort in finding more ways to increase a single cognitive factor, I would look for good academic remediation in the areas my child was weak in. If reading fluency is an issues, for example, and it might be with weak processing speed, then that is where I would focus my efforts.Robin

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Posted:Mar 14, 2001 12:00:01 AM

PASSWORD>aaI221mi7wL3I: Does anyone know of exercise, activities, or programs that help
: improve processing speed? A slow processing speed can also be indicative of ADD. Processing speed for reading is very complex because it encompasses rapid naming in regards to association of sounds and symbols. I work at a clinic that uses PACE. The circle the 'e' exercise that you mentioned is a good one to help with visual discrimination. I would also look into the Rapid Automatic Naming charts, I belive Linqui Systems sells those that are used to increase rapid automatic naming. There are current studies being done about rapid automatic naming and how having difficulty in this area will impact reading. How did he score on the pre-test before you started PACE? What were his weakest areas?When you got training in PACE did you do Master the Code? Perhaps after PACE you can move into Master the Code.

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Posted:Mar 14, 2001 12:00:01 AM

EMAILNOTICES>noThat's what I've believed all along. I feel it's best to do the two types of remediation (processing and academic) together, not just one or the other.Kathy G.

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 14, 2001 12:00:01 AM

I'm another PACE person, and we are getting very good results.That aside, what recommendations do you have for increasing fluency. That is my son's major reading problem, and I would like to help him in that area in any way I can. Thanks for any ideas.
: Processing speed is the rapid processing of routine visual
: information, ususally abstract symbols like letters and numbers.
: Folks with weaknesses in this area may be prone to errors caused
: by having to work too fast. In reading, it may mean that they read
: a bit more slowly, so that they can pay proper attention to all
: the letters. In math, activities like timed tests are hard,
: especially those that have two or more operations on them.: The conventional wisdom from research, as I understand it, is that
: training cognitive processes like processing speed in isolation is
: not going to improve academic performance, unless solid
: therapeutic remediation is also happening. The jury is out on
: whether it helps at all. The anecdotal evidence from people who
: use programs like PACE and Brainbuilder indicates that it may
: help. There are a lot of folks on these boards who are very
: positive about the programs. i respect their opinions. However, in
: order to see gains in academic areas, remediation needs to happen
: in those academic areas.: From a research standpoint, evaluating the effectiveness of programs
: like PACE is quite difficult I think, since it works best with
: good remediation. Thus, you have a &quot;casserole effect&quot;
: where it is the combination that works - not necessarily the
: individual ingredients alone and it is difficult to sort out which
: has what effect. Rather than spend my effort in finding more ways
: to increase a single cognitive factor, I would look for good
: academic remediation in the areas my child was weak in. If reading
: fluency is an issues, for example, and it might be with weak
: processing speed, then that is where I would focus my efforts.: Robin

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 14, 2001 12:00:01 AM

It seems to me what you are describing with your son's break-through involving the PACE exercise is development of automaticity. With enough practice, he was able to push one part of the activity (probably counting out loud to the metronome) to a less conscious level.I think Robin's comments provide a handle on getting this to transfer to reading. Aside from general processing speed, there are specific applications that require specific training to develop speed. For example, PACE wouldn't necessarily help a person to play the piano with greater speed -- unless that person were also taking piano lessons and practicing piano. This is because music has specific patterns that need to be learned to automaticity before speed and fluency can develop.There are a number of different ways of looking at the problem too. For example, slow reading could be caused by un-automated (i.e., weak) decoding skills. Or it could be caused by slow visual processing, or slow visual processing of the symbols of language (which seems to be a feature of dyslexia), or slow auditory processing of the symbols of language (which is another theory of dyslexia).Or, and I think this is the way you are looking at it, slow reading could be caused by difficulties handling multiple tasks efficiently. Perhaps reading, for your son, is slow for him because he has to decode, keep his eye placement in the test, and comprehend -- all on a conscious level. He might be able to do each of these tasks well individually, but not in combination. As with the PACE exercise, he may need lots of practice in order to develop automaticity. Actually reading text is a different sort of activity than decoding isolated words.Practicing activities which require divided attention increases the ability to handle these activities with speed and accuracy. So, I would expect that a lot of practice reading text is one key to developing speed. Repetitious reading (read a chapter timed, practice reading same chapter several times, then read same chapter again timed) might help.My hunch is that there is carry-over (in the ability to handle multiple tasks efficiently) from reading to keyboarding and vice versa. So, another approach to develop processing speed could engaging your son in activities that require development of efficient multi-tasking -- piano lessons, gymnastics, dancing come to mind.I am currently reading &quot;Words Their Way&quot; and &quot;Multisensory Teaching of Basic Language Skills&quot;, which offer another dimension for development of skilled reading -- language study. One of the theories in the Multisensory book is that dyslexics have difficulty handling multiple layers of language. Thoroughly learning language patterns is probably another extremely useful approach to developing reading skills.Mary: Does anyone know of exercise, activities, or programs that help
: improve processing speed? I am providng PACE, which addresses this
: issue, with my 10 year old son. But I was wondering if there is
: any other way to improve processing speed. We have done
: Interactive Metronome which has also improve his processing speed
: but still he is weak in this area.: Also, I would appreciate it if someone could explain what is involved
: when processing speed is a problem so that I understand it better.
: Is it a problem obtaining this information in the brain? Is it a
: problem with storing this information? Is it a sensory
: intergration problem? We were doing a task with PACE where my son
: was to circle two key letters on a page filled with random letters
: in beat to the metronome while he was counting. He stuggled with
: this for a very long time. All of a sudden one day while doing it,
: he said, &quot;Mom, it's easier now. I can just doing it without
: thinking so hard about it&quot;. And he was finally able to pass
: that level within the time frame recommended. This leads me to
: believe that now he is using a more effecient method to perform
: this task. But how can I develop this and how can I get that
: transfered into reading? I appreciate your comments.: Donna

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 14, 2001 12:00:01 AM

The tried and true method for Reading FLuency is repeated oral readings. You can do this on your own with a stopwatch if you like. Take a short passage that they are able to read all the words in- 50 to 100 words depending on the age of your child- and have them read it aloud read it several times until they have a 100% accuracy rate and the speed begins to drop. You can provide speed benchmarks by reading it aloud and timing yourself. I have done this with kids and graphed their results- actually they did the graphing. They enjoyed it once they began to see gains and as I upped the ante on the vocabulary level and sentence structure in the passages, they focused more carefully on making sure they could read all the words without hesitation (didn't want to torpedo their scores). There are programs which address this that work really well also. Great Leaps (greatleaps.com) is one that folks have had good success with and so is Read Naturally (readnaturally.com). Ken Campbell- author of Great Leaps, posts here occasionally.Robin

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Posted:Mar 14, 2001 12:00:01 AM

: Most of my students do have fluency issues. I have one who has really severe rapid naming problems. It used to take him 15-20 minutes to read a full page of print at a level he had the capability to decode. I have had my aide doing Great Leaps with him all year and we are getting some gains. Yesterday he read a 3-4 grade level passage to me, slowly, but with excellent accuracy and enough speed (still slow) to comprehend. I don't think he will ever become a 100+ wpm reader (he was a 25-35 wpm reader). I like Great Leaps in that it is broken down into words (in patterns), phrases and stories. I have ordered some Read Naturally because I understand that program is on tape. The student listens to/reads with the tape and the reading pace is speeded up. At this point I am hoping I can use both programs with students.A final word, if cognitive therapies actually work, that is if the student practices a cognitive skill in a lab setting and if the skill transfers to an actual reading setting, great. My suspicion is that if we can ID severe rapid naming deficits very early, then we stand a better chance of seeing solid, transferrable results of cognitive training programs. And of course, it may come down to just putting in the huge number of hours to train a deficit skill.

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Posted:Mar 14, 2001 12:00:01 AM

: When you got training in PACE did you do Master the Code? Perhaps
: after PACE you can move into Master the Code.Pattim, Yes, I did get trained in MTC and we are on lesson 6 right now. I feel that MTC has already made a big difference with his reading skills. I can't wait to see the results of the test after we finish MTC.My son tested about one year below his age level with &quot;Processing Speed&quot; prior to starting PACE. His lowest score was with the &quot;Visual Auditory Learning&quot; subtest in which he tested 3.7 years behind his peers. &quot;Auditory Anaylsis&quot; was the next lowest at 2.3 years behind. His strength was in &quot;Logic and Reasoning&quot; in which he tested 7.5 years ahead of his peers.Momo. Yes, it was DLS task in PACE that I was refurring to. And now you got me thinking. I think my son has problems processing info in both areas, with auditory and visual info. If I would give him a sheet of paper with 100 math facts vs telling him 100 math fact, I think that he would process both slower than average (even though math is his stongest subject. He just can't come up with the answer quickly even though, if given extra time, he would come up with the correct answer). So, I would say processing speed is a problem in both areas. So, that makes me think that the cognitive skill which supports both system is weak. Now, how can I most efficiently improve that area to improve processing speed in both areas?Thank you to all who have answered my original post! It has been helpful!Donna

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Posted:Mar 14, 2001 12:00:01 AM

: Hi Donna!: You are referring to visual processing versus auditory processing,
: aren't you? Are you referring to the DSL activity?: Blessings, momoHello Momo! Please check my response to Pattim. You got me thinking ;o)!Donna

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Posted:Mar 14, 2001 12:00:01 AM

: Pattim, Yes, I did get trained in MTC and we are on lesson 6 right
: now. I feel that MTC has already made a big difference with his
: reading skills. I can't wait to see the results of the test after
: we finish MTC.: My son tested about one year below his age level with
: &quot;Processing Speed&quot; prior to starting PACE. His lowest
: score was with the &quot;Visual Auditory Learning&quot; subtest in
: which he tested 3.7 years behind his peers. &quot;Auditory
: Anaylsis&quot; was the next lowest at 2.3 years behind. His
: strength was in &quot;Logic and Reasoning&quot; in which he tested
: 7.5 years ahead of his peers.: Momo. Yes, it was DLS task in PACE that I was refurring to. And now
: you got me thinking. I think my son has problems processing info
: in both areas, with auditory and visual info. If I would give him
: a sheet of paper with 100 math facts vs telling him 100 math fact,
: I think that he would process both slower than average (even
: though math is his stongest subject. He just can't come up with
: the answer quickly even though, if given extra time, he would come
: up with the correct answer). So, I would say processing speed is a
: problem in both areas. So, that makes me think that the cognitive
: skill which supports both system is weak. Now, how can I most
: efficiently improve that area to improve processing speed in both
: areas?: Thank you to all who have answered my original post! It has been
: helpful!: Donna

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Posted:Mar 14, 2001 12:00:01 AM

Another road to the same goal -- instead of having the student read the same thing over and over, which can get pretty dull and create resistance, I have them read lots and lots of stuff at the same vocabulary level. This is why I swear by the old Ladybird Key Words program. They introduce vocabulary v-e-r-y slowly in the a book on each level, one or two words a page, with massive repetition of vocabulary; and then they have the b book on the same level, which re-introduces the same darn vocabulary all over again. I start non-fluent readers a level or two below their highest independent level, and read both books at each lower level, developing fluency, before attempting to move higher again. I also collect old textbooks to go to higher grades and have students read three or four books minimum at each grade level before moving on up. Fluency improves steadily with practice at a level where you can succeed, and kids enjoy new stories that they can master every lesson.

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Posted:Mar 14, 2001 12:00:01 AM

I will be interested to hear what you think of Read Naturally when you get it and have a chance to use it. I have used and recommended Great Leaps to a couple of folks here who have taken me up on it and they too are having good results.I am still on the fence about cognitive therapy and stuff like vision therapy. Can you tell? It makes sense to me on an instinctive level but it really isn't a new thing and the bulk of the research doesn't really support it. Granted that research is pretty old... but I am waiting for independent studies that aren't affiliated with the programs I guess. I keep thinking about all those boxes of Ann Arbor Tracking materials that gathered dust on shelves for years because they demonstrate changes. As I check out websites and look for information I keep having the nagging sense that some of these therapies are the same- just on a computer. I guess right now, I still think that the best bet is good,solid instruction with sufficient intesity and frequency. However, I am willing to be convinced otherwise:)Robin

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Posted:Mar 14, 2001 12:00:01 AM

I think I am going to join your Ladybird Crusade:) I miss those books more every time you talk about htem...I first started doing the repeated reading thing in my OG lessons on the text that I wrote. As I generally taught older students, we could fool with pretty advanced vocabulary and sentence structure as long as the words were within their zone. (what I had taught them) I actually never had the boredom problem, I think because the kids could see that the task was challenging and achieveable. They also were competing successfuly against themselves and we never needed to stay with one passage long enough for it to get too old. The coolest thing was when they had enough skills under their belts to spend part of the lesson reading real books- and they could see how much improvement they had made. Maybe I was just lucky? I don't know. My lessons were so controlled in terms of what kind of words the kids worked on that I am not sure I could have done it another way. But I'll tell you- it was great fun to write a passage about using a photomicrograph to take take photos of snowflakes and have my fifth graders read it- and then to see their faces when they realized what they had done and wanted to read it again:)Robin

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Posted:Mar 14, 2001 12:00:01 AM

We have another new post from someone whose doctor thinks CAPD is a fad, and now a question about cognitive therapies etc. ...Scientific/pragmatic viewpoint: try it and see if it works. Specifically, try a new method **on its intended target group**, and compare that group with a control group who didn't get this method; are they doing any better?We know a thorough oral/aural phonics program with specific skills teaching in segmenting and blending works to teach reading. Heck, my grandmother knew that back in the 1930's, from observation of classrooms and students she taught; but now we have the NIH and hundreds (thousands?) of studies backing us up, too.We have a lot of anecdotal reports on this board from parents whose kids were *not* reading before the auditory and/or vision and/or speed and memory training, even with years of teaching (usually by the same teachers), and who *are* reading after. This is enough for me to believe that these programs have a system that works for teaching children with these specific difficulties.That does NOT mean that I buy into all their theories of brain function, but you don't need to believe the theory to use a good teaching tool effectively!These programs are designed for kids with specific needs, and each sub-group is a small minority of the school/youth population overall. It's difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to do a good controlled scientific study of a proposed intervention, and meanwhile your own child/student's prime learning time is slipping away. So I will use anything I can find or think of, as long as it isn't harmful, and stick with what works. The formal controlled study will come in time.

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Posted:Mar 14, 2001 12:00:01 AM

My son, 9yrs old, 3rd grade has severe rapid naming deficits and is a SLOW reader (though decodes about on grade level).We did parent provided PACE last summer and saw absolutely NO GAINS at all.We have been doing Read Naturally at home since September and do see some progress. We also have Great Leaps and like that program, but Read Naturally has the ability for the child to work independently, so the child is more in control (reading with the tape, charting progress, logging number of times read, etc.) My son's SpEd teacher is so impressed with my son's progress, she is ordering the whole Read Naturally and starting a program for 2-5th graders reading below grade level. I volunteer at these special classes (since I've been using the program) and it is amazing to see not only academic progress but also self esteem improvement. Kathlen

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Posted:Mar 14, 2001 12:00:01 AM

Victoria,Certainly the anecdotal evidence from the folks on these boards is a large part of my fence sitting mind set at this point. And.. I am a pragmatist relative to using what works, or I think I am anyway. On the other hand, there are a lot of therapies and techniques that became very popular on the basis of mostly anecdotal evidence- vision tracking exercises to improve dyslexic reading problems, Reading Recovery, whole language instruction- that were later proved to be remarkably ineffective at addressing the problems they are trying to remediate. My concern is really for the parents and the kids who go into these therapies, some of which are extremely expensive and time consuming, and then don't get appreciable results. We don't hear from a lot of those people on this board- and yet they must be there (in fact, there is a post from one of them in this thread now). The other piece of the puzzle for me is that it seems that the people who get the best results are doing A LOT of different therapies at the same time. It becomes very difficult then, to sort out which therapy is doing what or whether it is the combination that is effective. We know what effective teaching is for most disabled readers. It might be that the cognitive therapies enhance that when they are done in combination. But it might equally well not be. I just don't know, and before I would recommend that someone pursue that avenue, I would like more clarification.Robin

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Posted:Mar 14, 2001 12:00:01 AM

Dear Robin,Agree. I, too, am a pragmatist. I value objective evidence of results more than I value the method used to achieve the results.It has been reported that even the most unqualified job applicant can find three people to write a positive reference. I drop most anecdotal &quot;evidence&quot; regarding reading programs in the same basket with little more than a glance.Parents crave objective, comprehensible evidence of: the need for a specialized reading program, interim progress (or the lack of it), and a report of a child's reading ability at the conclusion of instruction. Let's not debate the therapy. How do we measure reading results? What recommendations do you give them?Peace.: Victoria,: Certainly the anecdotal evidence from the folks on these boards is a
: large part of my fence sitting mind set at this point. And.. I am
: a pragmatist relative to using what works, or I think I am anyway.
: On the other hand, there are a lot of therapies and techniques
: that became very popular on the basis of mostly anecdotal
: evidence- vision tracking exercises to improve dyslexic reading
: problems, Reading Recovery, whole language instruction- that were
: later proved to be remarkably ineffective at addressing the
: problems they are trying to remediate. My concern is really for
: the parents and the kids who go into these therapies, some of
: which are extremely expensive and time consuming, and then don't
: get appreciable results. We don't hear from a lot of those people
: on this board- and yet they must be there (in fact, there is a
: post from one of them in this thread now). The other piece of the
: puzzle for me is that it seems that the people who get the best
: results are doing A LOT of different therapies at the same time.
: It becomes very difficult then, to sort out which therapy is doing
: what or whether it is the combination that is effective. We know
: what effective teaching is for most disabled readers. It might be
: that the cognitive therapies enhance that when they are done in
: combination. But it might equally well not be. I just don't know,
: and before I would recommend that someone pursue that avenue, I
: would like more clarification.: Robin

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Posted:Mar 14, 2001 12:00:01 AM

EMAILNOTICES>noPASSWORD>aaOWcYsOBBy/.: On the other hand, there are a lot of therapies and techniques
: that became very popular on the basis of mostly anecdotal
: evidence- vision tracking exercises to improve dyslexic reading
: problems, ..... that were
: later proved to be remarkably ineffective at addressing the
: problems they are trying to remediate.: RobinHi Robin,There are bound to be ineffective vision therapies, but I am convinced that some kids need vision therapy (which may include vision tracking therapies) and that they benefit tremendously from the therapy.I've seen it go both ways. Some kids seem to pick up the Phono-Graphix instruction readily, but have difficulty sustaining their reading for more than a few paragraphs. These I have referred, and in nearly every case they have had a previously undetected vision problem.Going the other way, I have had parents bring me their kids and tell me that their child was way behind in reading before they started vision therapy. In two cases, by the time they got to me they were reading at grade level. However, because of their lack of reading experience, their spelling was terrible, so the parents were still concerned. Nonetheless, the reading problem had been addressed quite well via the vision therapy. This change takes place over such a short period of time (six months to a year) that it is very unlikely that something else caused the rapid, and obvious, improvement (at least to the parent's eyes....I didn't see these kids prior to their vision therapy.)Now, I know that it's always possible that the kids' reading wasn't as poor as the parents' thought (unlikely, but possible...parents are usually the first to figure some of this out) or that at the very same time they were (finally) getting the vision therapy that they needed for the past five years or so, some other effective program or superb teacher intervened and really caused the improvement. It's possible, but after seven or eight experiences keep pointing in the same direction, the mathematician in me starts putting a heavier and heavier weighting on the possibility that it's the vision therapy that's making the difference.I am also quite confident that the vision therapy department that I refer to has competent therapists doing effective therapy. This is not universally true, and I have parents who were very dissatisfied with earlier vision specialists who worked with their children.It's tough sorting all this out, that I'll grant you, but I would not let decades-old research results weigh too heavily in your decision, especially since it's very hard to design an experiment in this area because it's so hard to pick out the kids who actually need the vision therapy. Many, many kids read poorly for reasons unrelated to their visual systems, and a researcher will have a tough time figuring out who's who, and an even tougher time designing an experiment to tease out the effects of vision therapy.To sum up, I am a natural skeptic. I assume that everything is just a sales pitch until I see results myself, or am convinced that someone else has gotten well-documented results. In the case of vision therapy, I've simply seen too many kids benefit from it to ignore it. However, it's definitely an area where a parent should get several positive recommendations before choosing a therapist.....Rod

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Anonymous
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Posted:Mar 14, 2001 12:00:01 AM

: It's tough sorting all this out, that I'll grant you, but I would not
: let decades-old research results weigh too heavily in your
: decision, especially since it's very hard to design an experiment
: in this area because it's so hard to pick out the kids who
: actually need the vision therapy. Many, many kids read poorly for
: reasons unrelated to their visual systems, and a researcher will
: have a tough time figuring out who's who, and an even tougher time
: designing an experiment to tease out the effects of vision
: therapy.Hi Rod-Your experience is the sort of thing that would have me thinking (more than I already am anyway) that something like vision therapy may be worthwhile. I disagree though, that it is hard to tease out who needs it and who doesn't. If the therapist can figure it out well enough to decide who would benefit from the therapy, and then charge people for it- then someone can isolate a group and and perform a study that can be replicated. They just need someone qualified to operationalize the behaviors so they can be measured. I really would like to see this happen... with this and the other cognitive training programs that parents are spending so much money on. n the brighter side, we know so much more now about how the brain behaves when it is learning- maybe that will give us septics some of the information we need. Sigh...Robin

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