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Common Core State Standards for Children with TBI

Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have promoted the importance of expository texts at all grade levels and across subject fields. This may pose challenges for students with language difficulties – a common symptom of traumatic brain injury (TBI) – across all domains of perception, including reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

Learning-disabled children may struggle with the writing and comprehension skills required for school language standards. In fact, children with language difficulties typically have smaller vocabularies and slower lexical access (sound-meaning connection) than their schoolmates, and they tend to produce less complex sentences. These tendencies make factual academic language skills (expository discourse) especially challenging for learning-disabled children.

Furthermore, specific cognitive skills associated with learning disability (such as attention, reasoning, and memory) are typically impaired in children with language difficulties, further hindering their engagement with academic texts. For example, poor working memory can impede a child’s ability to process complex sentence structure and to identify main passage themes.

With the adoption of CCSS, educators and other professionals should be aware of learning-disabled students’ limitations regarding expository discourse. Early identification and intervention is necessary to ensure that these children are not unfairly advantaged by an increasing focus on exposition, and that they benefit from their education as much as their peers.

Source: Lundine JP & McCauley RJ. A tutorial on expository discourse: Structure, development, and discourse in children and adolescents. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. (August 2016.)


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