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The Neuropsychology of Written Language Disorders

Developing Evidenced Based Interventions

By: Steven G. Feifer, D.Ed.

This presentation will explore the neuropsychological underpinnings of the written language process, and the use of evidenced based interventions to remediate writing disorders in children. For years, educators have struggled to cultivate more effective writing skills in their students, as well as to identify early signs of written language disorders. The ability to generate and produce written language requires multiple linguistic skills involving both phonological and orthographical functioning (the elementary components of language), efficient word retrieval skills, executive functioning skills to organize and plan our inner thoughts and ideas, and working memory to hold our thoughts in mind long enough for effective motor skills output. A breakdown in these fundamental cognitive, linguistic, or motoric processes can result in various subtypes of written language disorders. The primary objectives of this presentation will include:

  1. Define the term developmental dysgraphia and discuss key warning signs of writing difficulties at all grade levels.
  2. Discuss the neural architecture responsible for written language development in children and learn key brain regions responsible for the organization and production of writing skills.
  3. Discuss three specific subtypes of writing disorders, with particular emphasis on how “frontal lobe” processes such as working memory and executive functioning impact each subtype.
  4. Differentiate between evidenced-based and research-based interventions and strategies pertaining to written language.
  5. Introduce the Feifer Assessment of Writing as a more effective diagnostic tool to determine subtypes of dysgraphia in children, as well as to provide targeted intervention strategies.


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