When Office Depot® sells a pencil on their website the description says, “Brand Basic Wood Pencils, #2 Medium Soft Lead, Pack Of 36”. Now take a look at Nick Offerman’s website and see how he sells a pencil. He’s the actor who famously brought the character of Ron Swanson, a colorful crank, to life in the sitcom Parks and Recreation. First of all, Offerman Wood Shop (OWS) calls it a Mistake Stick and the description says, “Keep an OWS pencil in your beard/bun at all times because you never know when you’ll need to jot down a cut list, bifurcate a compound angle, label your jerky or add a few inches to your scratching reach.” As you can see, language has the capacity to tantalize the curiosity, tease the appetite, tickle the funny bone, or simply transport you to an imaginary place. With a gift of enriched language and mature executive function skills, you can even sell snow to an Eskimo.
On this episode, Dr. Julie Ann Washington from Georgia State University returns to discuss challenges in raising and educating children from low socio-economic backgrounds whose disadvantages are compounded by chronic stress, minimal exposure, and a lack of resources. For these children, specific language impairment and impoverished language can impact the development of written language, general educational trajectory, and overall mastery of executive function.
About Dr. Julie Washington
Dr. Julie Washington is a Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, Special Education and Communication Disorders in the College of Education and Human Development at Georgia State University (GSU) in Atlanta. She is also Director of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program. Dr. Washington is an affiliate faculty of Georgia State University’s Center for Research on the Challenges of Acquiring Language and Literacy Currently, Dr. Washington’s research is focused on understanding the role of cultural dialect in the identification of Learning Disabilities in school-aged African American children and on disentangling the relationship between language production and comprehension on development of reading skills for children growing up in poverty. Dr. Washington’s research program is funded by the National Institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute on Child Health and Human Development.
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