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Some learning difficulties shouldn’t be left unattended, because they worsen over time.
Mary Ruth Coleman, Margaret Gillis and Tracey West have written an article on ELORS, the Early Learning Observation & Rating Scale.
Published in the most recent issue of “Perspective on Language and Literacy,” the publication of the International Dyslexia Association, the article is subtitled “Honoring Parent and Teacher Concerns.”
The authors contend that using the ELORS rating scale allows parents and educators to provide young children with a deliberate program of
carefully targeted opportunities for guided play and exploration, intentional teaching, and appropriate support… The earlier we recognize that a child is having difficulty, the sooner we can provide appropriate support.
The earlier support is provided, the more likely the child will overcome these difficulties, as well as avoiding secondary problems.
The Early Learning Observation & Rating Scale was designed to make it possible for parents and teachers to gather information and document their levels of concern across seven developmental domains.
The ELORS scale was developed in partnership with NCLD, the National Center for Learning Disabilities.
It is based on systematic observations of children in natural settings. Using ELORS, teachers and parents are able recognize early signs of learning disabilities.
The seven domains are Perceptual/Motor, Self Management, Social/Emotional, Early Math, Early Literacy, Receptive Language, and Expressive Language.
By circling a number from one to four, a parent or teacher scores associated behaviors and skills in each domain.
By circling the number 1, the parent or teacher indicates “little or no concern.” But circling the number 4 registers “great concern.”
The following are the related behaviors and skills associated with each domain, as shown in the article. Adults, as they observe the child, would rate each of the listed behaviors on that scale of 1-2-3-4 levels of concern.
- Perceptual Motor — fine and gross motor skills, coordination, integrating motor skills and vision (e.g. hand-eye coordination), sensory integration, visual memory, and tactile defensiveness (e.g. reluctance in exploring materials with different textures).
- Self-Management — self-regulation skills (e.g.paying attention), delayed gratification, impulsivity, understanding consequences of actions, self-help skills, remembering routines, seeking help, and work habits (e.g. organization, distractibility, perseverance).
- Social and Emotional — social interactions, friendships and play, turn-taking, reciprocal play, self-expression and emotions, interpreting emotions of others, cooperation, and participating in group activities.
- Early Math — understanding quantity comparisons (e.g. more-less-equal),one-to-one correspondence, concept of attribute (e.g. large-small), recognition of simple patterns and sequences, spatial orientation (e.g. up-down-beside), concept of time (e.g. yesterday-today-tomorrow), counting, concept of number, number recognition and naming.
- Early Literacy — literacy skills related to awareness of letter sounds, syllables, rhymes, alphabet knowledge, interest in and knowledge of books and print, pre-writing skills, decoding (e.g. letter sound relationships), and work recognition.
- Receptive Language — skills in hearing and understanding sounds (e.g. recognizing common sounds), listening comprehension, recognizing and discriminating environmental sounds, completing sound patterns (repetitive books or rhymes), shifting auditory attention, and auditory sequencing tasks.
- Expressive Language — skills in talking and conversation including vocabulary, syntax (e.g. using correct word order in sentences), pragmatics (e.g. using language for different purposes and making adjustments for different listeners), articulation, verbal memory, word retrieval, and spoken communication.
A primary use of ELORS is to inform the conversations parents, teachers and concerned professionals have as they collaborate to prepare a student’s educational plan.
According to Coleman, Gillis and West,
The ELORS facilitates problem-solving because it anchors the conversation in shared observations of actual behaviors in naturalistic settings. To be most useful, parents must take an active role in the problem-solving process by contributing information that is critical to addressing their child’s needs. The ELORS can help to organize and focus the parent’s concerns during these conversations.
Visit www.LD.org for more information from the National Center for Learning Disabilities.
Author Mary Ruth Coleman, Ph.D, is a Senior Scientist at the FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina and directs Project U-STAR-PLUS . Her numerous publications include the textbook “Educating Exceptional Children.” She was president of the Council for Exceptional Children in 2007.
Margaret Gillis, Ed.M., is a doctoral candidate and visiting instructor at the University of North Carolina. She is one of the developers of ELORS.
Tracey West, PhD., is an investigator at the FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina, and coordinator of the National Professional Development Center in Inclusion.
sole source for this post is the article by Mary Ruth Coleman, Margaret Gillis and Tracey West in the Summer 2011 “Perspectives on Language and Literacy,” the quarterly publication of the International Dyslexia Association. Visit that site at www.interdys.org .
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