Episode 38 - DLD, Language, and Systemic Change in Reading – Dr. Tiffany Hogan Returns!

Episode Summary

Tiffany Hogan, PhD, CCC-SLP returns to the READ Podcast for a timely and important discussion on addressing reading and language development for all children. She explains how school disruptions during the pandemic impacted literacy and language development – highlighting the disparate consequences on children in vulnerable populations. Dr. Hogan, a researcher and advocate for people with developmental language disorder (DLD), explains how we all can support children with DLD through a systems lens. Dr. Hogan expresses the urgency to address the needs of the countless children struggling with language and reading, demonstrating that we can all take actionable steps today to drive this change.

Top READ Bookmarks
Each episode, host Danielle Scorrano identifies key takeaways or “READ bookmarks.”

1. Addressing COVID reading loss
Listen to 10:48 – 16:00 to learn more.

Emerging data shows learning loss in reading as a result of school disruptions during the pandemic.

"What we are seeing is children with unique learning needs that were not being met during the pandemic. We saw families who had spent years developing their communities that supported their children, and that was gone. That web of support was just lost."

The pandemic continues to impact childhood literacy and disparately effects children in vulnerable populations such as those diagnosed with learning disabilities.

"During the pandemic, I had a lot of parents tell me, 'I knew he struggled. I didn't realize how hard he worked, and he's still struggled.' I think this has created a new set of stakeholders in the [implementation] work we’re doing."

2. Prioritizing change and advocacy for children with DLD from the self to the system
Listen to 23:02 – 37:00 to learn more.

We all have the responsibility to support and advocate for children with developmental language disorder (DLD) and dyslexia at each level of society. Dr. Hogan outlines actions we can take at the individual, community, and systems levels.

Listen to 23:02 – 30:39 to learn more.

  • Learn about and advocate for neurodiversity and understand the unique differences that our children present in all areas of their life.
  • DLD and dyslexia occur across a continuum. Be aware of the language you use to describe children with language disorders and avoid use of labels or over-generalizations. 

"Our children are doing the best they can with what they have. Our job is to try and meet them where they are."

Communities of Learning Environments:
Listen to 30:39 – 37:00 to learn more.

  • Bring awareness about the characteristics and experiences of children with DLD.
  • Create language-rich learning environments at home and in school. For example, parents and caregivers can establish language-rich routines around everyday tasks.

"Creating a language-rich environment doesn't have to be arduous for parents and caregivers. It really can be around everyday routines."

Systems of Change:
Listen to 32:30 – 34:00 to learn more.

  • Prioritize policy and implementation of universal screening of DLD and dyslexia as well as high quality instruction and interventions.

"All children can benefit from instruction that is supportive for children with dyslexia or developmental language disorder."

3. A focus on implementation science
Listen to 37:00 – 41:29 to learn more.

"Through the pandemic, I tried to focus on implementation. How do I bridge the gap between research and practice, but also between practice and research?"

Did you know? It takes 17 years for only 14% of research to be implemented.

Implementation science creates a framework for bringing research into practice by emphasizing the context, systems, and stakeholders needed for implementation.

"Implementation science gives us a roadmap for how to integrate components of a system toward making system-wide change."

Implementation science operationalizes a deliberate and cyclical process through

  • Pre-implementation: exploration of facilitators and barrier to implementation, understanding of systems and stakeholders, consideration of “de-implementation” based on what already exists
  • Implementation: continuation of collaborative partnership work, collection of data
  • Sustainability: evaluation of program success and mechanisms of sustainability and scalability

Read about how implementation science provided a lens for understanding the barriers and facilitators for enacting screening for dyslexia and DLD:

Educators’ perceptions of barriers and facilitators to the implementation of screeners for developmental language disorder and dyslexia 
(Komesidou, et al., 2022)
Journal of Research in Reading, pp. 1-22

"There has been such a movement around the Science of Reading, but now I think that there is an urgency there. I think the [Science of Reading] has the moment and spotlight now… and we should use it wisely."

Learn more from Dr. Hogan and other language experts in past READ Episodes:



Dr. Hogan at MGH Institute   SeeHearSpeak Podcast   DLD and MeLearn more about Implementation Science with Dr. Hogan and Dr. Komesidou

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READ Podcast is produced by The Windward School and The Windward Institute. READ is hosted by Danielle Scorrano.

About READ: READ, the Research Education ADvocacy Podcast connects you with prominent researchers, thought leaders, and educators who share their work, insights, and expertise about current research and best practices in fields of education and child development.

Note: All information and insights shared demonstrate the expertise and views of our guests and does not constitute an endorsement by The Windward Institute or The Windward School.