On the Road to Greater Comprehension and Abstract Thinking

Our daughter Ana was diagnosed in kindergarten with expressive and receptive language disorder which, along with being a second language learner, has meant many years of academic challenges. By middle school, it was far more difficult for her to keep up with what was going on in the classroom and get daily homework completed on time. Ana was referred to the Audiology Department of Children’s Hospital – Oakland by psychologist Dr. Leonard-Pagel to rule out a central auditory processing disorder (CAPD) and they confirmed this diagnosis. CAPD refers to poor processing of auditory information by the brain even when the structure and function of the ear is normal. Ana demonstrated classic symptoms of CAPD, including difficulty paying attention, remembering information presented verbally, and difficulty with reading comprehension.

Dr. Leonard-Pagel then referred us to the Oakland RiteCare Childhood Language Center (ORCLC) for help with auditory processing, attention, and working memory skills, the basis for understanding speech, language and reading, and required for effective academic progress and communication.

Since 8th grade, Ana has participated in Interactive Metronome, Fast ForWord, and in one-on-one and group critical thinking therapy. The Language series of Fast ForWord directly addressed auditory processing accuracy and speed and it was incredibly rigorous and challenging for Ana. This program pushed her to discriminate between similar sounds in words, required her to focus attention on small but meaningful differences, and helped improve her ability to hold auditory information in short and long-term memory, foundational for communication and academic success.

Currently, she is working on the Reading series of Fast ForWord, which addresses higher-level language skills that improve her reading comprehension and ability to understand abstract concepts needed in high school. These programs have worked in tandem to have a tremendous impact on Ana’s ability to function at higher cognitive levels. During her critical thinking sessions, Ana is able to practice newly acquired skills and receive instant feedback and support from the Center’s incredible staff.

Ana’s ability to function successfully in school has increased as she continues to improve her reading skills, working memory, vocabulary, and attention, because of the variety of programs offered at ORCLC. Unfortunately, Ana's sessions are coming to an end at ORCLC in a few more weeks. We know and are extremely grateful that the ORCLC programs have helped to rewire Ana’s brain to process sounds much better and to think more effectively. The impact of these changes in Ana's ability to be an effective communicator and critical thinker will be felt for years to come.

Pam, mother of Anamaria, age 16

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