Frequently Asked Questions from Parents—Part Two

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By Anne R. Fenske; Center Director of Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes in Englewood
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Everyday, a Lindamood-Bell® Learning Center receives phone calls or talks face to face with the parents of potential or current students. These parents all have at least two things in common. They want to help their child be the best that he can be, and they are looking for help. Our goal is to help all individuals reach their potential. Although our instruction is individualized, it embodies an interactive, balanced approach. It is our belief that with the right instruction, students become self-correcting and independent learners. The following is Part Two of a two part series on some of the most common questions we are asked, and their corresponding answers. 

What is the difference between research-based and research-validated literacy programs?

Research-based literacy programs apply rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain valid knowledge relevant to reading development, reading instruction, and reading difficulties.  However, there is may be not be validation of the efficacy of the program that is based on another individual’s work.              

Research-validated literacy programs are more than research-based. In addition to the above, they have been supported on a sound basis. Lindamood-Bell continually analyzes the data generated at our learning centers, schools, and other projects. We partner with researchers to study the psychological, neurological, and cognitive processes involved in reading, spelling, and comprehension. We have an established body of independently reviewed results reflecting our ability to help children and adults meet their learning potential.

What is this all going to cost?  I heard Lindamood-Bell® instruction is expensive. 

The enrollment for Lindamood-Bell instruction is based on the hours of instruction recommended. The hours of instruction recommended are based on the individual’s initial diagnostic evaluation, and it is very prescriptive. Our hourly rate is comparable to the cost of other therapies, such as speech or occupational therapy. While students may receive speech or occupational therapies a couple of days a week over the course of a few years, we deliver instruction in a condensed period of time and in an intensive matter. Some students may be recommended for 2-3 weeks while other students may be recommended for 8-10 weeks. The best way to determine the cost for you/your child is by first starting with a Diagnostic Evaluation—the first step of the process.

We will schedule a consultation to review your/your child’s strengths and weaknesses with regard to the processes that underlie reading and comprehension, and will provide an individualized recommendation for instruction. During the consultation we can also discuss payment options, as we offer weekly or monthly payment plans.  

What exactly is “intensive instruction?” Isn’t that too much for a young child?

Intensive Instruction is simply “daily” instruction—Monday through Friday. The number of hours per day is based on the individualized recommendation and instruction plan. Some of our students receive 2 hours per day, 5 days a week of instruction, but on average, our students receive 4 hours per day, 5 days a week of instruction. 

Most students are used to attending school for 7 hours each day, as one student in a class of 18.  We are asking for 2-4 hours per day in a one-to-one setting. Our instruction model of switching the clinician every hour keeps each session fresh. We also employ a variety of strategies and incentive plans to keep the student engaged each hour.  

Should we do instruction in the summer, right before school starts or during the school year? Which is better? If we do it during school, won’t my child miss out on what the school is teaching?

It depends. The students that we see during the school year may be one of the following:

~ A student struggling in school to a point that parents, even teachers, question how much information is being absorbed in the classroom setting

~ A student who is very aware that he is behind, and school is painfully tough for him (e.g., he is getting “sick” during the school day, self esteem is being affected, homework is taking more than 3 hours per night)

~ Parents do not want to “wait and see,” they want to take action and change their child’s instructional trajectory now [while he is in elementary school and not receiving credits]

If summer is the best period of time where the family can commit to the daily instruction because the school year is too packed with other activities, we are more than happy to work with the student in the summer. 

I keep hearing that “early intervention” is important. What is the earliest age that I should have my child evaluated?

The earliest age we evaluate students is typically 4 years old. There are not many diagnostic protocols normed for students that are younger than 4 years old, as the brain is still in the process of development. 

What happens after my child finishes his instruction? How will I know what to do to help him continue to improve?

There are 3 phases to the Lindamood-Bell process: 

Phase 1- Pre-insruction (to discuss recommendation for instruction)

Phase 2- Differentiated, Intensive Instruction

Phase 3- Post-instruction (diagnostic evaluation and consultation to discuss next steps) 

Each phase is important and connected. The Post-instruction Diagnostic Evaluation will guide us in the next steps that can include:

  • Recommendation for more intensive intervention, or a recommendation for follow-up instruction to connect and apply the processing developed over the course of intensive intervention to content.  Follow-up instruction is not intensive so sessions are, on average, 2-3 days per week for approximately 2 hours per day.
  • A school visit, where we talk to the student’s instructional team to discuss the processing the student developed with Lindamood-Bell.
  • A more specific Tips for Home to continue to exercise the processes we have developed; perhaps more attention spent on paragraph reading for Seeing Stars® students or note-taking for Visualizing and Verbalizing® students. This is the format where we will discuss what you can do on a daily/weekly basis so your child can continue to improve.