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ADD and Dyslexia Case Studies Presented at the Kennesaw State University

The following report was prepared by two elementary school teachers with many years of experience. These teachers presented this report to their colleagues at Kennesaw State University, where each was a candidate for the Ed.D. degree. The teachers are Peggy Anderson and Carole Derrick.

NOTE: Audiblox is our previous learning program and has been upgraded and updated to
Edublox Online Tutor.

The duration of intervention in this report is six weeks. As you will see in this report, six weeks is usually sufficient to start seeing results. However, it is certainly not sufficient to solve a learning difficulty, and if one discontinues the program after only six weeks, a relapse is bound to occur. Results will only be permanent if one continues with Audiblox long enough for the skills foundational to learning to become automatic. The same applies to other Edublox programs, such as Edublox Online Tutor.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the Audiblox Learning Program and determine its effectiveness on ADD and dyslexic students.

Background: Audiblox is a comprehensive program, suitable for all ages, for the development of learning skills. The program is based on scientific learning and reading principles. Audiblox improves reading and spelling ability, sharpens concentration, develops perception and memory, and enhances logical thinking. Research has shown that spending one session of a half-hour per day, five days a week is beneficial to most students. This program is not only intended for learning disabilities, but can be used to improve the cognitive abilities of children and adults, who do not experience learning problems.

Setting 1: The project was conducted in a learning disabilities resource room. Because of scheduling conflicts, the project was done after school for thirty minutes. Half of the study was done in the Douglas County School System. The facility used was an intermediate elementary school consisting of nine third grades, nine fourth grades, and nine fifth grades. The school has an enrollment of about 600 with a 20% special education enrollment.

Setting 2: The other study was conducted in an elementary school, K-5, in Cobb County School System. The resource teacher worked with the student in her classroom — a portable unit — with which the student is very familiar. Some of the sessions were done after school while others were at the end of the school day during her planning time. During a holiday break, the parent, who was trained, took over the daily 30 minute session. No sessions were held on the weekend.

Subject 1: The subject, Bob, is a ten year old fifth grader. He was referred to special education when he was in the first grade. His teacher was concerned because he was unable to work independently. He was first tested in November 1992. On the WISC-III, his verbal score was 85, his performance score was 71, and the full scale score was 76. The verbal score was used and Bob was eligible for learning disabilities. He was served in basic reading, reading comprehension, and math. He was served in a resource program. In 1994, written expression was added. Bob was reevaluated in the fall of 1995, his scores were:

V 83, P 65, FS 72 Listening 85 2.0
Wd knowledge 70 1.7
Rd comp 80 1.7
WRMT Writing comp 85 2.4
62 Math reas 75 1.2
Math cal 85 2.4
Wd Id 62 1.8

Bob’s strength is in auditory memory. Remote memory and visual perception are his weaknesses.

The verbal score was used because it was a better indicator of Bob’s ability. After the reevaluation was done, Bob only qualified for basic reading. He is presently being served in a resource room ten hours per week for language arts. He spends 20 hours per week in the regular classroom. He is having difficulty in regular education math. Science and social studies are influenced by his low reading.

Bob is easily distracted and is off task frequently. He is unable to stay focused. He has many of the ADD characteristics but has not been diagnosed by a physician. The mother is very supportive but has never taken Bob to be evaluated. The ADD checklists have been done and indicate that he has an attention deficit. The father has indicated that he will not put Bob on medication. This may be why the mother has not pursued the ADD diagnosis.

Bob lives in Douglasville with both his parents. His father is a firefighter and his mother is a homemaker. He is the younger of two sons. His brother is in the sixth grade and has no learning problems.

Subject 2: Allen is an 11 year old male in the fifth grade. He has been retained one year. In February of his 4th grade year, he was diagnosed learning disabled and has been served in a resource class for three hours daily. One hour of his time in resource is in an inclusion class with both the regular education and special education teachers collaborating. Allen is functionally dyslexic. Not only does he write individual letters and numbers in a mirror image but he also reverses 2 and 3 letter words and numbers (saw becomes was; on, no; 135, 531).

Cognitive testing (WISC-III) indicates Allen is functioning below average (FS-84). He showed significant discrepancies in the areas of Written Expression (W-J 63), Basic Reading (W-J 60), and Reading Comprehension (W-J 59). An Eckwall Informal Reading Inventory done prior to entering the Audiblox Program, indicated frustration level at first grade in reading sight words and in reading comprehension.

Allen is the second of 4 children in middle class family. His mother is paraprofessional in a kindergarten at another school; his father is in a management position.

He entered his current school at the beginning of his fifth grade year. Both his classroom and his resource teachers expressed concerns at him being able to function in a fifth grade classroom. Allen has a cooperative, positive attitude toward school, a definite strength among academic weaknesses. Both teachers and parents indicated a low self-esteem in that he would cry when becoming frustrated in class and at home. In the classroom he became easily distracted and indifferent at what the rest of the class was doing. He demonstrated difficulties in independent work that was even on his level.

Discussion 1: Bob comes in for our sessions immediately after school. He seems eager to begin the session but usually it takes several minutes for him to settle down enough to start. He is affected by the events of the day and wants to talk about them. We start with the sequencing activity everyday. Bob always misses the first pattern of the day. The number of blocks in the sequence does not matter, he will miss with four or ten blocks. Usually by the second sequence, he is able to attend to the exercise. In the five weeks that we have been working, Bob has gotten to twenty-four blocks.

Bob is easy distracted from his work. The classroom is close to the gym and this affects his concentration. He is also distracted by the blocks. The blocks are open on one side and Bob is obsessed with getting the hole on the bottom. He will turn the block over and over until he finds the bottom. This has to have an effect on his concentration. If Bob is not closely monitored, he will play with the materials in the Audiblox kit. He loves to put the blocks on the end of his fingers.

The transition exercises are good for Bob, he needs to get up and move around after the longer exercises. Patterning is also difficult for Bob. He seldom can get any of the four block cards exact. He knows the correct colors but cannot put them in the appropriate position. He does better on the five and six cards if the pattern does not include the four tile pattern.

There is never enough time to do all that is required in thirty minutes. He works at his own pace and it is impossible to speed him up. If I spend as much time on each activity as I wanted, the sessions would last over an hour. We are really rushed some days to get the reading done. I don’t want to skimp on the reading because I see his greatest improvement in this area.

Bob enjoys the reading activities. This is where I can see the most improvement. He seldom misses any of the vocabulary words so he is reading a new paragraph everyday. He always wants to read more. I have taped his reading and he wanted to share the tape with his reading class. He read two pages of the story to his mother and it was obvious from the smile on his face how proud he was of his accomplishments.

Bob’s homeroom teacher has indicated that she has not seen any improvement in Bob this school year. I have seen improvement over last year. Only twice has Bob failed to complete an assignment, last year he would not do any work that involved using pencil and paper. It is obvious that he has more confidence in his reading and spelling. This confidence hasn’t carried over to his writing or socialization skills.

I have been working with Bob in the Audiblox program for approximately five and a half weeks. In that time, I have seen an improvement in reading skills and in his confidence level. Bob was reevaluated in March 1996; his reading level was estimated at 1.7. On a reading inventory given this week, his oral reading and reading comprehension level was second grade. Green Brigance scores indicated that he is reading and comprehending at a second grade, second semester level. There was a significant improvement on the Woodcock-Johnson word identification test.

Discussion 2: Allen was eager for our daily sessions and anxious that they continue during the school holidays. He tried very hard and demonstrated much concentration when working with the program. He seemed to be the perfect student for the Audiblox Program in that he was ready to learn and frustrated at his inability to keep up with his peers.

After working for 6 weeks with Allen who is functioning at a non-reader level with a fragile self-esteem, I have witnessed academic progress as well as a boost in self-confidence. Allen has shown improvement in working independently. Periods of inactivity and off-task behavior have decreased. In other subject areas such as math and social studies, Allen’s grades have improved dramatically. He passed his first social studies test this school year, scoring 85%. His classroom teacher has noted improvement in his reading skills. Perhaps the most rewarding progress has been in the area of self-esteem. Allen has shown confidence in oral reading with resource peers out of third grade level material. Parents have noted a decrease in tears and frustration at home when homework is involved. His mother has even noticed Allen wanting to read other materials independently.

Before introducing the Audiblox Program to Allen, I questioned his ability to attend to a task for an extended length of time. By the 4th week into the program, he was up to sequencing 30 blocks in that exercise, a remarkable achievement. Allen’s level of concentration, especially when he is “reading” the blocks, is high. Most of his mistakes on the exercises are reversals of 2 blocks.

Another strength that has helped Allen is his visual memory. He remembers and reads the sequences as well as the patterns. We started out with 2 block patterns, and by the 6th week, he was working with 9 block patterns successfully. While his visual memory skills are beneficial to reading, he is also reading the vocabulary words. I can see and hear him sound out words phonetically when he does not instantly recognize the word. Allen’s difficulties with dyslexia has improved. In the first 3 weeks of the program, Allen was reversing letters frequently (b for d; on for no). If such reversals occur during the 6th week, he usually corrects himself.

An Eckwall Reading Inventory done before introducing the Audiblox Program indicated frustration level with sight words for Allen at the 1st grade level. The same inventory was done after 6 weeks into the program. When reading a 1st grade level passage, Allen’s percentage of errors dropped from 32% to 13%. The same passage, that was read in 3 minutes and 50 seconds previously, was completed in 3 minutes the second time.

Reflections 1: I have been working with Bob on the Audiblox Program for approximately five and a half weeks. In the time, I have seen an improvement in reading skills and in his confidence level. Bob was reevaluated in March of 1996 and his reading level was estimated at 1.7. On a reading inventory, given this week, his oral reading and reading comprehension level was second grade. Green Brigance scores indicated that he is reading and comprehending at a second grade second semester level. Since we started the program, he has been excited about reading in the Audiblox book. This excitement has carried over to the classroom. He volunteers to read in class and he did not do this in the past. Last year, Bob was turned off by any activity that required pencil and paper. Today, he copied eight sentences and added correct capitalization and punctuation. Last year, this assignment would never have been started. I have no way of knowing if this is due to the Audiblox Program or to maturity, or previous classroom work. This is Bob’s fourth year in the learning disabilities program and he certainly has not made this much progress in a eight month period.

I do not like working with Bob after school. He is really tired at the end of the day and he does not always have pleasant experiences at school. I can tell what kind of a day he has had by his cooperation level. If his day was bad, it is hard to get him to focus on our work. All of his ADD characteristics seem to be evident at this time. Playing with blocks, talking while he is supposed to be focusing, inability to sit still, and impulsiveness are all behaviors that he exhibits during our time together. These behaviors make it very difficult to finish a session in thirty minutes.

I like the Audiblox Program, I think it has great possibilities. I have several dyslexic students who are going to middle school next year and I think they would really benefit from this program. These students try very hard but are not having much success in school. The modified curriculum is difficult for them. Because of the socio-economic make of our population, it is hard to find parents who can pick their children up after school. I would like to use this as a group activity so several students could benefit in the same amount of time.

Reflections 2: The Audiblox Program has given hope to a child who knew he was different, tried to fit in with his peers, and experienced failures in any aspects of school. His newly found confidence has allowed him to raise his hand in a classroom, dared him to try written material presented to him, and opened a world of “I can” instead of “I can’t” on new material.

Most of the students I teach in a resource classroom have suffered failures in the regular class like Allen — some more than others. I would definitely use this program with other students and, if scheduling permits, in small groups. Research has shown its effectiveness in large groups as well.

There are many beneficial aspects in the Audiblox Program. One of the most obvious is the time spent with the student. Spending 30 minutes daily one-on-one with any child is going to produce positive results. Getting the student to focus at the start of the session with a hands-on activity, using spatial activities, and varying the exercises are all good teaching strategies.

Allen still has a long way to go academically to catch up with his peers. It is to be hoped that he will continue at the pace he has started. Thanks to the Audiblox Program, he now has some tools to help him on this journey and make the trip more pleasant and rewarding.