Blog Archives

Orthographic processing and reading comprehension among Arabic speaking mainstream and LD children

Two cohorts of mainstream children (grades 2–5) and one cohort of children with learning disabilities (LD; grades 3–5), all Arabic speaking children in Kuwait, were given measures of reading comprehension fluency and orthographic discrimination to assess the relationship between the two. Additional measures of phonological processing (decoding and awareness), speed of processing (rapid naming) and memory (visual as well as phonological/verbal tasks) were included either because these have been found to be predictive of Arabic literacy or to provide an assessment of alternative interpretations of any influence of the orthographic task. The findings indicated that the orthographic measure predicted variability in the comprehension fluency over-and-above that predicted by the other measures in the study. This was significant in the older mainstream children (grades 4 and 5) when controlling for phonological processing, but was not in the younger grades (2 and 3) where experience text that incorporating short vowel markers is dominant. The LD group showed little evidence of an influence of phonological processing but did of orthographic processing. The findings are discussed in terms of the skills required to process Arabic literacy and potential causes of literacy learning difficulties among Arabic children. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

from Dyslexia

Is learning by observation impaired in children with dyslexia?

Numerous studies have shown that imitating observed actions belongs to the same category of processes involved in planning and executing actions. New competencies may be acquired by actually executing a task or by executing a task after having seen how to do it. The performance of thirty dyslexic children was compared with that of an age- and gender-matched group of thirty normally reading children on tasks of learning a visuo-motor sequence by observation or by trial and error. The children observed an actor detecting a visuo-motor sequence and then performed the task reproducing either the previously observed sequence or a new one (Learning by Observation), or detected a sequence by trial and error (Learning by Doing), or first performed the task by trial and error and then performed it after an observational training (Learning by Observation after Doing). Results demonstrate that the dyslexic children were severely impaired in learning a sequence by observation, were able to detect a sequence by trial and error, and became as efficient as normal readers in reproducing an observed sequence after a task of learning by doing. Thus, the impaired ability to learn by observation could be reversed by agentive experience that supplied dyslexic children with a powerful learning mechanism, which enabled them to efficiently transfer action information across modalities. The beneficial effect of practice on the ability to learn by observation could provide dyslexic children a useful chance to acquire new cognitive abilities through more tuned teaching approach.

from Neuropsychologia

How common are motor problems in children with a developmental disorder: rule or exception?

Conclusions This study indicates that co-morbidity of motor problems with other clinical disorders is not exceptional and developmental deviance is seldom specific to one domain. However, current co-morbidity studies tend to overestimate the number of children with motor problems. In addition, there may be different patterns of symptoms between the genders. These findings stress the importance of assessing motor skills in children with various developmental disorders.

from Child: Care, Health and Development

Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, and Vision

Learning disabilities constitute a diverse group of disorders in which children who generally possess at least average intelligence have problems processing information or generating output. Their etiologies are multifactorial and reflect genetic influences and dysfunction of brain systems. Reading disability, or dyslexia, is the most common learning disability. It is a receptive language-based learning disability that is characterized by difficulties with decoding, fluent word recognition, rapid automatic naming, and/or reading-comprehension skills. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonologic component of language that makes it difficult to use the alphabetic code to decode the written word. Early recognition and referral to qualified professionals for evidence-based evaluations and treatments are necessary to achieve the best possible outcome. Because dyslexia is a language-based disorder, treatment should be directed at this etiology. Remedial programs should include specific instruction in decoding, fluency training, vocabulary, and comprehension. Most programs include daily intensive individualized instruction that explicitly teaches phonemic awareness and the application of phonics. Vision problems can interfere with the process of reading, but children with dyslexia or related learning disabilities have the same visual function and ocular health as children without such conditions. Currently, there is inadequate scientific evidence to support the view that subtle eye or visual problems cause or increase the severity of learning disabilities. Because they are difficult for the public to understand and for educators to treat, learning disabilities have spawned a wide variety of scientifically unsupported vision-based diagnostic and treatment procedures. Scientific evidence does not support the claims that visual training, muscle exercises, ocular pursuit-and-tracking exercises, behavioral/perceptual vision therapy, “training” glasses, prisms, and colored lenses and filters are effective direct or indirect treatments for learning disabilities. There is no valid evidence that children who participate in vision therapy are more responsive to educational instruction than children who do not participate.

from Pediatrics

A meta-analysis of morphological interventions: effects on literacy achievement of children with literacy difficulties

This study synthesizes 79 standardized mean-change differences between control and treatment groups from 17 independent studies, investigating the effect of morphological interventions on literacy outcomes for students with literacy difficulties. Average total sample size ranged from 15 to 261 from a wide range of grade levels. Overall, morphological instruction showed a significant improvement on literacy achievement ( = 0.33). Specifically, its effect was significant on several literacy outcomes such as phonological awareness ( = 0.49), morphological awareness ( = 0.40), vocabulary ( = 0.40), reading comprehension ( = 0.24), and spelling ( = 0.20). Morphological instruction was particularly effective for children with reading, learning, or speech and language disabilities, English language learners, and struggling readers, suggesting the possibility that morphological instruction can remediate phonological processing challenges. Other moderators were also explored to explain differences in morphological intervention effects. These findings suggest students with literacy difficulties would benefit from morphological instruction.

from the Annals of Dyslexia

Efficacy of the reading and phonological remediation program in learning disabilities*

this study showed that the Phonological and Reading Remediation Program was effective. The use of the Program improved perception, production and manipulation of sounds and syllables, interfering directly on the reading skills and comprehension of students with learning disabilities.

from Pró-Fono Revista de Atualização Científica

Cognitive Profile of Children with Neurofibromatosis and Reading Disabilities

A large percentage of children with Neurofibromatosis Type 1(NF-1) have learning disabilities, often in the realm of reading. Previous studies have indicated that children with NF-1 show a neuropsychological profile similar to idiopathic reading disabilities (IRD); however, studies typically have not subdivided children with NF-1 into those who do and do not have RD (NF+RD and NFnoRD, respectively). The current study examined the cognitive profile of children with NF-1 with and without RD and compared them to children with IRD as well as to typically developing readers (Controls). Findings showed that children with NF+RD performed similarly to children with IRD on phonological, rapid naming, and reading comprehension measures; however, children with NF+RD displayed pronounced visual-spatial deficits as compared to IRD and Control groups. In addition, when comparing the NF-1 groups to each other as well as to the control and IRD groups, the current study reported that there were no oral language differences; lack of findings in the realm of oral language was attributed to the fact that groups were equated on IQ. Overall, findings suggest that a more refined classification of children with NF-1 may be helpful for tailoring academic interventions.

from Child Neuropsychology

Auditory training in students with learning disabilities

CONCLUSION: the performance of the students with learning disabilities in auditory and phonological tasks is lower when compared to the students without learning disabilities. The use of the auditory training program was effective and allowed students to develop these skills.

from Pró-Fono Revista de Atualização Científica

Effects of Immediate Feedback Delivered by Peer Tutors on the Oral Presentation Skills of Adolescents With Learning Disabilities

High school graduation requirements are becoming increasingly demanding. In addition to meeting academic benchmarks, some school districts have added performance requirements such as oral presentations to their criteria for earning a high school diploma. This type of requirement may present an additional challenge for students with learning disabilities. Research was conducted to determine if a treatment package consisting of immediate feedback delivered via wireless technology by peer tutors was effective with improving oral presentation skills in four high school senior girls with learning disabilities. Results suggest that immediate feedback provided by peer tutors (compared with delayed feedback) was effective in decreasing undesirable target behaviors that interfered with performance, in all four participants. Each participant also rated the treatment as acceptable. Implications for practice are discussed.

from Remedial and Special Education

Working with Children with Learning Disabilities and/or who Communicate Non-verbally: Research Experiences and their Implications for Social Work Education, Increased Participation and Social Inclusion.

Social exclusion, although much debated in the UK, frequently focuses on children as a key ‘at risk’ group. However, some groups, such as disabled children, receive less consideration. Similarly, despite both UK and international policy and guidance encouraging the involvement of disabled children and their right to participate in decision-making arenas, they are frequently denied this right. UK based evidence suggests that disabled children’s participation lags behind that of their non-disabled peers, often due to social work practitioners’ lack of skills, expertise and knowledge on how to facilitate participation. The exclusion of disabled children from decision-making in social care processes echoes their exclusion from participation in society. This paper seeks to begin to address this situation, and to provide some examples of tools that social work educators can introduce into pre- and post-qualifying training programmes, as well as in-service training. The paper draws on the experiences of researchers using non-traditional qualitative research methods, especially non-verbal methods, and describes two research projects; focusing on the methods employed to communicate with and involve disabled children, the barriers encountered and lessons learnt. Some of the ways in which these methods of communication can inform social work education are explored alongside wider issues of how and if increased communication can facilitate greater social inclusion.

from Social Work Education

Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, and Vision

Learning disabilities, including reading disabilities, are commonly diagnosed in children. Their etiologies are multifactorial, reflecting genetic influences and dysfunction of brain systems. Learning disabilities are complex problems that require complex solutions. Early recognition and referral to qualified educational professionals for evidence-based evaluations and treatments seem necessary to achieve the best possible outcome. Most experts believe that dyslexia is a language-based disorder. Vision problems can interfere with the process of learning; however, vision problems are not the cause of primary dyslexia or learning disabilities. Scientific evidence does not support the efficacy of eye exercises, behavioral vision therapy, or special tinted filters or lenses for improving the long-term educational performance in these complex pediatric neurocognitive conditions. Diagnostic and treatment approaches that lack scientific evidence of efficacy, including eye exercises, behavioral vision therapy, or special tinted filters or lenses, are not endorsed and should not be recommended.

from Pediatrics

Rapid Automatized Naming and Learning Disabilities: Does RAN Have a Specific Connection to Reading or Not?

This work is an extension of a study by Waber, Wolff, Forbes, and Weiler (2000) in which the specificity of naming speed deficits to reading disability (RD) was examined. One hundred ninety-three children (ages 8 to 11) evaluated for learning disabilities were studied. It was determined how well rapid automatized naming (RAN) discriminated between different diagnostic groups (learning impaired [LI] with and without RD) from controls and from each other. Whereas Waber et al. concluded that RAN was an excellent tool for detecting risk for learning disabilities in general, the results of the present study point to a more specific connection between RAN and RD.

from Child Neuropsychology

Written Language Expression

Written language is a complex set of skills that facilitate communication and that are developed in a predictable sequence. It is therefore possible to analyze current skills, identify deficits, plan interventions, and determine the effectiveness of the intervention. To effectively accomplish these tasks, educators need to choose appropriate assessment tools. The authors discuss the strengths and weaknesses of informal written assessments and of standardized written assessments. A table of the better known and more frequently used standardized written language assessments is presented that includes test title, publisher, Web site URL, normative group, indication of its focus (spelling, style, or mechanics), age of normative group, and method of administration. This information will help readers in the selection of written language assessment tools.

from Assessment for Effective Intervention

Applications of Responsiveness to Intervention and the Speech-Language Pathologist in Elementary School Settings

This article addresses ways in which speech-language pathologists can play a proactive and substantive part in school-wide language and reading disability prevention and intervention efforts within the responsiveness to intervention framework. Within a collaborative working paradigm, specific student-focused instructional targets are presented in the areas of oral language, metacognition, and reading comprehension. A discussion of professional development focuses on enhancing teacher-student communication interaction, a critical yet often undervalued component of teacher training.

from Seminars in Speech and Language

Response to Intervention and Dynamic Assessment: Do We Just Appear to Be Speaking the Same Language?

In this article we compare and contrast two frameworks for assessment that appear to share the same language yet produce very different approaches and outcomes: response to instruction/intervention and dynamic assessment. We explore the nature of each, elaborate their similarities and differences, and suggest there are sufficient similarities in goals and principles that the two should be melded into a single model that promotes development of learning competence in children. We specifically consider the relevance of the combined model of response to intervention plus dynamic assessment for professionals involved with language development and disorders.

from Seminars in Speech and Language