+ Testing Gives Information: But Which Intervention is Best?

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When a multifactored evaluation (MFE) informs a parent that their child is lacking  strength in a particular cognitive process, we need to understand what the term means. 

But then we need to know how to intervene in order to address that particular weakness.

Here, from an article by Edward Schultz in LDA Newsbriefs May/June 2009,  is a chart to help in planning intervention. 

These are the seven broad basic psychological processes which are commonly measured.  Dr. Schultz hopes that the strategies suggested will be appropriate to use in addressing them.

COGNITIVE PROCESS”  deficit — Refers to mental operations that a person uses when presented with a relatively novel task that cannot be performed automatically.  Includes concept formation problem solving, reorganizing and transforming.

Interventions:  Step-by-step instructions, problem-solving strategies, sequencing skills development, explicit and systematic teaching, categorization skills, and graphic organizers.

“CRYSTALLIZED INTELLIGENCE”  deficit — Refers to the breadth and depth of a person’s general fund of knowledge.  These knowledge stores are acquired through formal school experiences and general life experience.  These stores are primarily language based and include both declarative and procedural knowledge.

Interventions:  Relating new information to prior knowledge, vocabulary strategies and instruction, rich learning experiences (e.g. museums, field trips, and virtual field trips), scaffolded instruction, and incorporating student interests in learning.

“SHORT-TERM MEMORY”  deficit  — Refers to the ability to apprehend and hold information in immediate awareness and then use it within a few seconds.

Interventions:  Short, simple instructions, overlearning, repetition, review, and memory strategies (e.g. chunking, mnemonics, verbal rehearsal).

“VISUAL PROCESSING”  deficit — Refers to the ability to think with visual patterns and stimuli.  Includes the ability to rotate, reverse, and manipulate spatial configurations, and spatial orientation.

Interventions:  Manipulatives, note-taking assistance, graph paper, verbal descriptions of visual stimuli, assist with visual discrimination tasks.

“AUDITORY PROCESSING”  deficit  — Refers to the ability to notice, compare, discriminate, and distinguish distinct and separate sounds.

Interventions:  Provide phonological awareness activities (e.g. rhyming, alliteration, songs, imitations), explicit and systematic phonics instructions, and visual aids.

LONG-TERM STORAGE / RETRIEVAL”  deficit  — Refers to the ability to store and then fluently retrieve new or previously acquired information.

Interventions:  Overlearning, repetition, mnemonic instruction, graphic organizers, cues, additional practice and time.

“PROCESSING SPEED”  deficit — Refers to the ability to fluently and automatically perform cognitive tasks (mental quickness).

Interventions:  Provide additional time, focus on quality and accuracy, note taking assistance, fluency building (e.g. practicing to reduce cognitive demands, flashcards).

(This list of Cognitive Processes has been adapted from Flanagan, ortiz, Alfonzo & Mascolo, 2006; the Intervention Strategies are adapted from mather and Jaffe, 2002.)

source: “SLD Evaluation: Linking Cognitive Assessment Data to Learning Strategies,” by Edward Schultz, in LDA Newsbriefs, May/June 2009.  www.ldaamerica.org.    Dr. Schultz is a professor at Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, TX.  He was a presenter at the 46th annual LDA Conference in Salt Lake City in February.

Tutoring in Columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards   614-579-6021 or email   aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com .


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