Blog Archives

Effectiveness of a metaphonological and reading remediation program for students with learning difficulties

CONCLUSION: The findings evidence the effectiveness of the computerized metaphonological and reading remediation program developed for this study, since the students with learning difficulties submitted to the remediation program developed the metaphonological abilities required for reading development.

from Revista de Sociedade Brasileira de Fonoaudiologia


Neural circuitry associated with two different approaches to novel word learning

Skilled reading depends upon successfully integrating orthographic, phonological, and semantic information; however, the process of becoming a skilled reader with efficient neural circuitry is not fully understood. Short-term learning paradigms can provide insight into learning mechanisms by revealing differential responses to training approaches. To date, neuroimaging studies have primarily focused on effects of teaching novel words either in isolation or in context, without directly comparing the two. The current study compared the behavioral and neurobiological effects of learning novel pseudowords (i.e., pronouncing and attaching meaning) trained either in isolation or in sentential context. Behavioral results showed generally comparable pseudoword learning for both conditions, but sentential context-trained pseudowords were spoken and comprehended slightly more quickly. Neurobiologically, fMRI activity for reading trained pseudowords was similar to real words; however, an interaction between training approach and reading proficiency was observed. Specifically, highly skilled readers showed similar levels of activity regardless of training approach. However, less skilled readers differentiated between training conditions, showing comparable activity to highly skilled readers only for isolation-trained pseudowords. Overall, behavioral and neurobiological findings suggest that training approach may affect rate of learning and neural circuitry, and that less skilled readers may need explicit training to develop optimal neural pathways.

from Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience

Why tests appear to prevent forgetting: A distribution-based bifurcation model

Retrieving information from memory produces more learning than does being presented with the same information, and the benefits of such retrieval appear to grow as the delay before a final recall test grows longer. Recall tests, however, measure the number of items that are above a recall threshold, not memory strength per se. According to the model proposed in this paper, tests without feedback produce bifurcated item distributions: Retrieved items become stronger, but non-retrieved items remain weak, resulting in a gap between the two classes of items. Restudying items, on the other hand, strengthens all items, though to a lesser degree than does retrieval. These differing outcomes can make tested items appear to be forgotten more slowly than are restudied items—even if all items are forgotten at the same rate—because the test-induced bifurcation leaves items either well above or well below threshold. We review prior evidence and present three new experiments designed to test the bifurcation interpretation.

from the Journal of Memory and Language

Formal literacy of first and second grade students of a public elementary school

CONCLUSION: Second grade had better results than first grade. The results were more significant in subtests that required deeper understanding of the phoneme-grapheme association and vice-versa, suggesting that school literacy is necessary when social literacy is not present.

from Revista de Sociedade Brasileira de Fonoaudiologia

Dyslexia and practice in the attentional blink: Evidence of slower task learning in dyslexia

In this paper we provide an extension to our previous investigation into dyslexia and the attentional blink (AB) (Badcock et al., 2008). The AB is a phenomenon of temporal attention whereby there is a performance cost in reporting a second target when it appears within 500msec of a first target. We examined performance differences between the first and second 90 trials in a single AB session in a group of adult readers as well as in 6 blocks of 30 trials for T1 only. Overall, there was a significant improvement across the session but most critically, this improvement was greater in magnitude and slower in the phonological dyslexic observers than in control observers. Therefore, group differences were related to rate of improvement. In line with a recent review of the literature, it is suggested that the overall performance difference between the groups relates to general performance factors and not the AB per se. Whether extended practice would entirely attenuate the group difference remains to be seen but it is suggested that the general performance difference relates to development of successful coordination of visual and temporal uncertainties in the distracter and target stimuli.

from Cortex

Orthographic context and the acquisition of orthographic knowledge in normal and dyslexic readers

We tested the hypothesis that the acquisition of orthographic knowledge of novel words that are presented in an indistinct context, that is a context with many orthographically similar words, would be more difficult for dyslexic than for normal readers. Participants were 19 Dutch dyslexic children (mean age 10;9 years), 20 age-matched and 20 reading-age-matched normal readers. During training the children repeatedly read a series of nonwords in a distinct (KWOG with KWES and SNAR) and an indistinct (KWOG with KWOS and KROG) orthographic context. At posttest, the dyslexic children were slower but more accurate in the reading of nonwords if these had been acquired in an indistinct than in a distinct training context. In normal readers context did not have an effect. We argue that dyslexic children’s sensitivity to orthographic context is due to their problems in the acquisition of fully specified orthographic representations causing interference by similar words. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

from Dyslexia

School-aged children’s performance in the Brazilian adaptation of the reading processes assessment*

the adaptation of the Prolec to the Brazilian reality appears to be appropriate for the establishment of a reading profile of students, from public and private teaching institutions, who are undergoing the initial phase of literacy.

from Pró-Fono Revista de Atualização Científica

How intensive does anomia therapy for people with aphasia need to be?

The intensity of aphasia therapy has been a key clinical question. The aim of this case-series study was to compare the outcome of intensive and non-intensive therapy in the relearning of words for people with aphasia. Eight participants took part in a study comparing the intensity of delivery of the therapy. Participants received two courses of the same therapy (each lasting 10 sessions) delivered either intensively or non-intensively. Therapy consisted of confrontation naming with progressive phonemic and orthographic cues. Post-therapy assessments were carried out immediately after the study and one month later. Performance was also monitored during each therapy session. Immediately post-therapy, both types of therapy had improved naming accuracy considerably and there was no significant difference between the two interventions. One month later, seven out of eight participants showed a small yet significant difference in naming accuracy, favouring non-intensive over intense therapy. There were no differences in the learning patterns during the therapy sessions between the intensive and non-intensive therapies. For the majority of people with aphasia post-stroke, both intense and non-intense therapy for anomia leads to improved naming performance. Retention at one-month post therapy is relatively superior after non-intensive therapy.

from Neuropsychological Rehabilitation

Phonological disorder: aspects regarding production, perception and writing

CONCLUSION: Children can either use the compensatory lengthening strategy and not be aware of their own Speech Impairment, or be aware and not use the strategy. It was observed a possible relationship between awareness of their own speech impairment and writing hypothesis.

from Revista de Sociedade Brasileira de Fonoaudiologia

Reading scale: proposal to assess reading skills

CONCLUSION: The Reading Scale was a reliable instrument to measure the reading performance of the subjects.

from Revista de Sociedade Brasileira de Fonoaudiologia

Students’ performance in phonological awareness, rapid naming, reading, and writing*

students with learning difficulties presented deficits when considering the relationship between naming and automatization skills, and among lexical access, visual discrimination, stimulus frequency use and competition in using less time for code naming, i.e. necessary for the phoneme-grapheme conversion process required in the reading and writing alphabetic system like the Portuguese language.

from Pró-Fono Revista de Atualização Científica

Reorganization of functional and effective connectivity during real-time fMRI-BCI modulation of prosody processing

Mechanisms of cortical reorganization underlying the enhancement of speech processing have been poorly investigated. In the present study, we addressed changes in functional and effective connectivity induced in subjects who learned to deliberately increase activation in the right inferior frontal gyrus (rIFG), and improved their ability to identify emotional intonations by using a real-time fMRI Brain–Computer Interface. At the beginning of their training process, we observed a massive connectivity of the rIFG to a widespread network of frontal and temporal areas, which decreased and lateralized to the right hemisphere with practice. Volitional control of activation strengthened connectivity of this brain region to the right prefrontal cortex, whereas training increased its connectivity to bilateral precentral gyri. These findings suggest that changes of connectivity in a functionally specific manner play an important role in the enhancement of speech processing. Also, these findings support previous accounts suggesting that motor circuits play a role in the comprehension of speech.

from Brain and Language

Brief Report: Memory Performance on the California Verbal Learning Test – Children’s Version in Autism Spectrum Disorder

According to the Task Support Hypothesis (TSH; Bowler et al. in Neuropsychologia 35:65–70, 1997) individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) perform more similarly to their typically developing peers on learning and memory tasks when provided with external support at retrieval. We administered the California Verbal Learning Test-Children’s Version to 15 high-functioning youths with ASD and 15 matched comparison participants. Although ASD and comparison participants had comparable levels of overall performance, the ASD group, but not the comparison group, improved significantly from free to cued recall, providing support for the TSH. These results indicate that verbal memory performance in youths with ASD is relatively intact, but may be facilitated by external supports.

from the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

An overview of intervention options for promoting adaptive behavior of persons with acquired brain injury and minimally conscious state

This paper presents an overview of the studies directed at helping post-coma persons with minimally conscious state improve their adaptive behavior. Twenty-one studies were identified for the 2000–2010 period (i.e., a period in which an intense debate has occurred about diagnostic, rehabilitative, prognostic, and ethical issues concerning people with severe acquired brain injury). Three of the 21 studies involved transcortical magnetic or deep brain stimulation. Six studies focused on the provision of multisensory stimulation or music therapy. The remaining 12 studies involved the use of response-related (contingent) stimulation and assistive technology. The outcomes of the studies, which were generally reported as positive, were discussed in terms of (a) the size (quantitative relevance) of the changes obtained, (b) the credibility/reliability of the changes, in light of the methodological conditions of the studies, and (c) the level of engagement and interaction involvement of the participants. Relevant issues for future research were also examined.

from Research in Developmental Disabilities

The Nature of the Automatization Deficit in Chinese Children with Dyslexia

Clarifying whether automatization deficits constitute the primary causes or symptoms of developmental dyslexia, we focused on three critical issues of the dyslexic automatization deficit, namely universality, domain specificity, and severity. Thirty Chinese dyslexic children (mean age 10 years and 5 months), 30 chronological-age-, and 30 reading-level-matched children were tested in 4 areas of automaticity: motor, visual search, Stroop facilitation effects, and automatic word recognition. The results showed that the dyslexic children performed significantly worse than the CA-controls but not the RL-controls in all the tasks except for Stroop congruent-color words, on which they performed worse than children in both control groups. The deficits reflect a lag in reading experiences rather than a persistent cognitive deficit.

from Child Neuropsychology