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  • Part II. Eric
    Task 4.
    Read the text and give your scheme of Eric's development.
    Eric, age 14, attended preschool for 3 years and appeared to demonstrate readiness for reading and writing along with average intelligence when he entered first grade, although teachers' notes show that he stood out in class because he volunteered irrelevant comments or questions at inappropriate times, interrupted teachers, and was generally loud, boisterous and off-task though neither noncompliant nor aggressive toward other students. Between grades two through four he fell behind peers in all language arts competencies. When his fourth-grade teacher noticed that he was omitting word endings and some verb forms in his speech, did not produce known words on demand, and omitted entire syllables in spelling words he could read, she referred Eric for evaluation. But test comparisons showed he scored just above the oral language and reading discrepancies that would have permitted service delivery under special education; the evaluation team determined that he did not demonstrate a covered handicapping condition. Unable to maintain classwork or homework in fifth grade, Eric was required to drop out of after-school sports programs in which he excelled to make time for daily tutoring provided by his family. A team reevaluated Eric in grade six and determined that he now met discrepancy criteria for learning disabilities services in reading and writing. He also demonstrated a mild central hearing loss, a syntax disorder, and a word-retrieval problem. Eric could not use textbooks in his regular class without one-to-one help, produced fragments and run-ons full of misspelled words when asked to write a paragraph, and had withdrawn from school to the extent of inventing illnesses so he could stay home.
    Intensive holistic language instruction delivered by the SLP, the sixth- grade teacher, and the reading specialist allowed Eric to focus for the remainder of the year on a selected 500-word subject-matter and survival vocabulary for concept building, reading, spelling, oral and written sentence formulation, and ultimately, paragraph construction. With preferential classroom seating, class text materials read onto tapes so he could play them repeatedly, intensive training in a learning strategy that taught him to preview and organize class texts to make comprehension more accessible, daily instruction in putting together word strips to form modeled syntactic patterns, and flexible oral question-and-answer sessions to avoid laborious spelling demands, Eric began to improve oral communication and reading.
    He was then willing to enter a group social-skills training program centered on pragmatic language competencies and delivered by the SLP and one of the school counselors. With the same type of team instruction in grade seven, he improved to the point that his present eighth-grade program is predominantly in mainstream core classes, with 1 hour a day in resource programs for oral and written language supplementary instruction in addition to a regular remedial English class. As soon as he had an individualized language program during school hours, Eric resumed after-school sports, and he has begun to apply his new social skills to making afterschool friends. Eric is doing well but has lost time from intensive language instruction because his was a subtle, difficult-to-identify set of communication problems.

    Task 5.
    1. Why would Eric have appeared to teachers to be ready for reading and
    2. When did have a hearing loss, a syntax problem and a word-retrieval
    3. What strengths were teachers apparently responding to?
    4. If Eric could not read textbooks in his regular fourth- and fifth-grade
    classrooms, how could teachers have modified this task to enable Eric to learn
    content material even though he was not eligible for special services?
    5. Faced with a choice between a sports program in which Eric excelled
    or after- school tutoring in basic language competencies of reading and writing
    in which he constantly failed, what reasoning could a teacher follow to advise
    his parents?
    6. Why would Eric's cluster of communication problems respond better
    to a team approach (involving the SLP, the 6th-grade teacher, and the reading
    specialist) than to individual therapies from the same staff?
    Discuss the cases of Lisa and Eric in the form of a dialogue. Imagine
    you re a speech pathologist or a psychologist. Suggest your ideal how to com-
    municate with such paliets.