Seton Hall Program Helps Children with Disabilities Learn
Dr. Ruth Segal and Dr. Vikram Dayalu serve as Project Directors for "Write to Learn," a Federal grant-funded initiative at Seton Hall University's School of Health and Medical Services. This program trains students in occupational therapy and speech-language pathology to collaborate and support the enhance learning for elementary school children with a Specific Learning Disability.
"Welcome to Life & Living. I'm Joanna Gagis. I'm joined right now by the Co-Project Directors of Write to Learn, a program at Seton Hall University that's helping kids with disabilities succeed. They are Ruth Segal and Vikram Dayalu. Welcome to the program, both of you. Thanks so much for having us. Thank you. So Vikram, I want to start with you. What is Project Write to Learn? And that's "write" - W-R-I-T-E, right? Mm hmm. So as a speech-language pathologist and as an occupational therapist, our key attempt is to really work with children with specific learning disabilities. It's an... What are...? I'm gonna stop you right there. Sure. What are specific learning disabilities? It's an umbrella term. A term that would encompass children with reading, writing, math, attentional related issues. So you're talking about a child who has a lot of needs, who receives intervention early on, or who receives therapy early on, would benefit tremendously later on in academic life. What constitutes early on? At what age group do you want to catch this to have optimal results? Optimal success? I would say kindergarten, or even earlier. There's a lot of prerequisite skills, skills that children need to have to be good at school, to be good at doing things that's related to schoolwork, and this would be paying attention, being motivated, understanding that a letter and a sound coexist, and you put them together, and that's what forms words. So I think it's that general sense of using language to communicate, is what kids learn very early on. And I think that's where we come in. So that's really...? That's the speech language pathology part of it, right? Yeah. And then, Ruth, talk about occupational therapy, and what you're doing in that program. The occupational therapists really look at the actual activity of writing. What comes into it. I mean, take the... you know, the children have to understand that... all that speech language, but they have to transcribe it into writing. They have to be able to look at the board... blackboard, and copy it. Sometimes they have the visual issues that prevent them. Sometimes they don't have the motor skills to write. Sometimes they don't have the sensory skills to hold a pencil. So these are the things that the occupational therapist will look at, and together, we can look at the whole issue and really bring it up, so they can actually do the writing. So there is this partnership between the two of you that really is breaking ground. You just received... Seton Hall University's..."