The following suggestions may help those who have lost the ability to read after an Acquired Brain Injury.
Please remember that every individual’s brain damage is different, so trial and error is necessary until a strategy that works is uncovered.
Reading strategies from the field:
“Sounding out” letters. Individual letters or letter combinations such as B or CH can be presented and the learner is asked to say the corresponding sound, with no concern for the letter NAMES. The sound should be produced.
Begin with a small set of letters to sound out (it is helpful to start with high need words such as the person’s name), and add more letters gradually over many practice sessions until the learner can sound out all the letters of the alphabet plus SH, CH, PH and TH. This approach works because many English words can be read correctly by sounding out the letters and then blending the sounds to make a word. Learning to sound out even the first letter of a word can assist word retrieval during reading.
Naming Letters. Some learners are able to pronounce words that are spelled aloud to them. For example, they are able to say the whole word “boat” if someone first spells it aloud – B-O-A-T. These individuals may learn to spell words aloud to themselves by naming each letter.
Although this is a slow process, it is one way to achieve some functional reading. Learners who are already using this strategy may be able to increase their reading speed by reading a paragraph over and over.
Recognizing and/or understanding whole words. Some learners have particular difficulty reading whole words that cannot be sounded out, such as “yacht” or “island.” For these people, pairing a written word with the corresponding picture may help them recognize the word and understand its meaning.
Focusing visual attention. Some learners have difficulty reading sentences or paragraphs because they can’t focus their visual attention on one word at a time. Visual distraction can be reduced by cutting a “window” in a piece of paper and then moving the window along a line of text so that is can be read one word at a time.
Resources to try:
NORA: Neuro-optometric Rehabilitative Association Reading Problems and Traumatic Brain Injury