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Differentiating Biological Factors and Environmental Factors in Child Assessment

Jane Lieberman, Ph.D,CCC-SLP

March 15, 2010

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Question

Why is it helpful to differentiate between biological factors and environmental factors when assessing children for language and/or early literacy disorders and weaknesses?

Answer

The Assessment of Literacy and Language Caregiver Questionnaire provides clinicians with a mechanism to identify biological and/or environmental factors that underlie reading difficulties. Children, who exhibit biological factors associated with reading difficulties, such as decreased working memory, reduced processing speed, or a familial history of reading problems, typically exhibit more severe reading difficulties that require explicit, systematic, and intensive intervention and that may be resistant to change. Children, who exhibit environmental factors associated with reading difficulties, such as impoverished socio-cultural opportunities, limited maternal education, or lack of adequate instruction respond well to early, developmentally appropriate, direct prevention and intervention programming. Most often these children are reading on grade level by grade 3.

This Ask the Expert was taken from the course entitled: "All about ALL: Using the Assessment of Literacy and Language to Screen & Diagnose Young Children" presented by R. Jane Lieberman.

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R. Jane Lieberman, Ph.D., is chair and professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Central Florida. She has taught numerous courses on development and disorders of language and literacy, established a university clinic to evaluate and treat children with literacy difficulties, and co-authored a USDOE personnel preparation grant to educate speech-language pathologists eligible for dual certification in speech-language impairment and reading.


Jane Lieberman, Ph.D,CCC-SLP


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