“The development of all language components during early childhood education involves an essential requirement to obtain reading skills, since oral language serves as a support for written language”.

“This learning process begins when children require a certain linguistic competence. However, learning oral language is not the same as learning written language. Oral language is the product of the interaction between biological preprogramming and a significant social context, while written language is a cultural conquest which must be learned from somebody who purposefully teaches it. Both types of language will help the child to succeed in school-based learning and in obtaining all the social and cultural knowledge needed to successfully adapt to the demands of a social world.”

The University of Salamanca has, for this reason, worked for 20 years in developing an educational, supportive and research-based activity related to the difficulties involved in oral and written language. Notable work has been done in this area by the professionals at the SIADOE (Service for intervention and support with difficulties in oral and written language) Health Centre, located in the School of Education and Tourism in Avila.

The basis underpinning this project is its inclusive and highly specialized character, which not only offers a social and supportive aspective, but also meets two fundamental requirements in the field of academics: teaching and research.

In operation since 1995, the project was initially supported by a group of professors from the Departments of Developmental Psychology and Education and Personality, Psychological Evaluation and Treatment, although there are currently two professors from the Department of Developmental Psychology and Education, and one from the Department of Didactics and School Organisation. Since 2006 it has been one of many services offered by the Department of Social Services at the University of Salamanca.

The assistance provided to the centre is for school aged children as well as university students referred to the Services for Social Affairs due to their difficulties with reading or writing in oral and/or written language.   The SIADOE Health Centre offers comprehensive monitoring of all those who require their services. An evaluation and direct intervention is provided to those with difficulties in oral and written language, tailored to the needs of each person. This is complemented with a psychological evaluation of the families, and coordination activities to be carried out by counselors from the education centres. Finally, the training and research activities play a significant complementary role in the Undergraduate and Master’s programmes at the University of Salamanca in this field.

Last year the Regional Government of Castile and Leon recognized the work carried out by these professionals, converting the unit in a health centre. It is imperative that the University extend its hand to society and continue to support excellence in transfer of knowledge.

This is why the convention that we have just renewed with the County Council of Avila is so important. Not only does it corroborate the work done at the centre, but now, with twice the subsidy, it will make it possible to provide free assistance to the residents of Avila and introduce improvements in the support activities. While the assistance was already freely provided, the larger subsidy can improve the work conditions for the specialists who work directly with the cases, and allow the purchase of material that will improve the support activity.

I would like to acknowledge the work done by my colleagues Isabel, Raquel and Ines, as well as the two graduate students currently involved in the project, Laura and Adela. We must also thank the County Council of Avila for their support, and especially Jesus Manuel, Council President, who is so strongly committed to this project.

  • Professor Isabel Valdunquillo. Departments of Developmental Psychological and Education. Health psychologist.
  •  Professor Raquel de Sixte Herrera. Associate Professor. Departments of Developmental Psychology and Education. Health psychologist.
  •  Professor Inés Rodríguez Martín. Associate Professor. Department of Didactics and School Organisation.
  • Personnel linked to the Project:
  • Laura Rebón Rodríguez. Degree in Psychology. Masters in Difficulties in Learning.
  • Adela Morcillo Cerrato. Degree in Primary Education Teaching, Emphasis in Special Education.

Posted by Juan M. Corchado

Vicerrector de Investigación y Transferencia - Universidad de Salamanca // Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer - University of Salamanca

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