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In Search of Evidence in the Era of Social Media Misinformation

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Social media forums have long been subject to a variety of criticism related to trustworthiness, reliability, and commercialization of content. However, in recent years the spread of misinformation has been steadily increasing in disproportionate amounts as compared to the objective consumption of evidence. Facebook, for example, has long been criticized, for the ease with which its members can actively promote and rampantly encourage the spread of misinformation on its platform.

To illustrate, one study found that “from August 2020 to January 2021, misinformation got six times more clicks on Facebook than posts containing factual news. Misinformation also accounted for the vast majority of engagement with far-right posts — 68% — compared to 36% of posts coming from the far-left.” Facebook has even admitted in the past that its platform is actually hardwired for misinformation. Nowhere is it easier to spread misinformation than in Facebook groups. In contrast to someone’s personal account, a dubious claim made even in a relatively small group has a far wider audience than a claim made from one’s personal account. In the words of Nina Jankowicz, the disinformation fellow at the Wilson Center, “Facebook groups are ripe targets for bad actors, for people who want to spread misleading, wrong or dangerous information.

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Dear SLPs, Don’t Base Your Language Intervention on Subtests Results

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For years, I have been seeing a variation of the following questions from SLPs on social media on a weekly if not daily basis:

  • “My student has slow processing/working memory and did poorly on the (insert standardized test here), what goals should I target?”
  • “Do you have sample language/literacy goals for students who have the following subtest scores on the (insert standardized test here)?”
  • “What goals should I create for my student who has the following subtest scores on the (insert standardized test here)?”

Let me be frank, these questions show a fundamental lack of understanding regarding the purpose of standardized tests, the knowledge of developmental norms for students of various ages, as well as how to effectively tailor and prioritize language intervention to the students’ needs.

So today, I wanted to address this subject from an evidence-based lens in order to assist SLPs with effective intervention planning with the consideration of testing results but not actually based on subtest results. So what do I mean by this seemingly confusing statement? Before I begin let us briefly discuss several highly common standardized assessment subtests:

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The Science of Reading Literacy Certificate for SLPs: FAQs

In August 2021, the CEU Smart Hub (Powered by the Lavi Institute) has launched a new certificate program: The Science of Reading (SOR) Literacy Certificate for SLPs.  Because of the multitude of questions we have received in advance of the certificate rollout (Financial Disclosure: I am a 50% partner in the CEU Smart Hub/Power Up Conferences), I am writing this post today in an attempt to answer some of the commonly asked questions regarding this certification.

Who is the certificate for? The certificate is open to SLPs who are interested in gaining in-depth knowledge in the areas of assessment and treatment of children with language and literacy disorders. This certification offers not just continuing education hours in the advanced practices pertaining to the assessment and treatment of literacy but also a final examination and 2 lengthy in-depth projects requiring professionals to appropriately and comprehensively design assessment plans and treatment goals to work with literacy impaired clients. Continue reading The Science of Reading Literacy Certificate for SLPs: FAQs

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Review of Wordtivities by SPELL-Links

Image result for wordtivities"Today I am reviewing a newly released (2019) kit (instructional guide and cards) from the Learning By Design, Inc. entitled Wordtivities: Word Study Instruction for Spelling, Vocabulary, and Reading.

The 101-page instructional guide was created to address the students’ phonological awareness, spelling, reading, vocabulary, and syntax skills by having them engage with sounds, letters, and meanings of words. The lessons in the book can be used by a variety of instructional personnel (teachers, SLPs, reading specialists, etc.) and even parents as a stand-alone word study program or in conjunction with SPELL-Links to Reading & Writing Word Study Curriculum.

The activity book is divided into two sections. The first section offers K-12 student activities for large groups and classrooms. The second section has picture card activities and is intended for 1:1 and small group instruction. Both sections focus on reinforcing 14 SPELL-Links strategies for reading and spelling to stimulate the associations between sounds, letters, and meanings of words. Continue reading Review of Wordtivities by SPELL-Links

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Comprehending Reading Comprehension

Image of three books open on a table with stacks of books in the background.How many parents and professionals have experienced the following scenario? The child in question is reading very fluently (Landi & Ryherd, 2017) but comprehending very little of what s/he is reading.  Attempts at remediation follow (oftentimes without the administration of a comprehensive assessment) with a focus on reading texts and answering text-related questions. However, much to everyone’s dismay the problem persists and worsens over time. The child’s mental health suffers as a result since numerous studies show that reading deficits including dyslexia are associated with depression, anxiety, attention, as well as behavioral problems (Arnold et al., 2005; Knivsberg & Andreassen, 2008; Huc-Chabrolle, et al, 2010; Kempe, Gustafson, & Samuelsson, 2011Boyes, et al, 2016;   Livingston et al, 2018). Continue reading Comprehending Reading Comprehension

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On the Value of Social Pragmatic Interventions via Video Analysis

As a speech-language pathologist (SLP) working in a psychiatric setting, I routinely address social pragmatic language goals as part of my clinical practice. Finding the right approach to the treatment of social pragmatic language disorders has been challenging to say the least. That is because the efficacy of social communication interventions continues to be quite limited. Studies to date continue to show questionable results and limited carryover, while measurements of improvement are frequently subjective, biased, and subject to a placebo effect, maturation effect, and regression to the mean. However, despite the significant challenges to clinical practice in this area, the usage of videos for treatment purposes shows an emergent promise. Continue reading On the Value of Social Pragmatic Interventions via Video Analysis

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Test Review: (OPUS) Oral Passage Understanding Scale

Today I am reviewing a listening comprehension assessment for students 5-21 years of age, entitled the Oral Passage Understanding Scale (OPUS) created by Elizabeth Carrow-Woolfolk, PhD, and Amber M. Klein, PhD, which is available via WPS.

The OPUS is a test of listening comprehension which assesses the following forms of knowledge: lexical/semantic (knowledge and use of words and word combinations), syntactic (knowledge and use of grammar, as well as supralinguistic (knowledge and use of indirect/complex language). Continue reading Test Review: (OPUS) Oral Passage Understanding Scale

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Therapy Fun with Ready Made Fall and Halloween Bingo

There are many fun yet highly educational therapy activities we can do with our preschool and school-aged clients in the fall. One of my personal favorites is bingo. Boggles World, an online ESL teacher resource actually has a number of ready-made materials, flashcards, and worksheets that can be adapted for speech-language therapy purposes. For example, their Fall and Halloween Bingo comes with both call out cards and a 3×3 and a 4×4 (as well as 3×3) card generator/boards. Clicking the refresh button will generate as many cards as you need, so the supply is endless! You can copy and paste the entire bingo board into a word document resize it and then print it out on reinforced paper or just laminate it. Continue reading Therapy Fun with Ready Made Fall and Halloween Bingo

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Comprehensive Assessment of Elementary Aged Children with Subtle Language and Literacy Deficits

Image result for confused childrenLately, I’ve been seeing more and more posts on social media asking for testing suggestions for students who exhibit subtle language-based difficulties. Many of these children are typically referred for initial assessments or reassessments as part of advocate/attorney involved cases, while others are being assessed due to the parental insistence that something “is not quite right” with their language and literacy abilities, even in the presence of “good grades.” Continue reading Comprehensive Assessment of Elementary Aged Children with Subtle Language and Literacy Deficits

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Clinical Assessment of Reading Abilities of Elementary Aged Children

Image result for kid readingSeveral years ago I wrote a post about how to perform clinical reading assessments of adolescent students. Today I am writing a follow-up post with a focus on the clinical reading assessment of elementary-aged students. For this purpose, I often use the books from the Continental Press series entitled: Content Reading for Geography, Social Studies, & Science.   Texts for grades 2-7 of the series are perfect for assessment of struggling elementary-aged readers. Continue reading Clinical Assessment of Reading Abilities of Elementary Aged Children