To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
This article describes a Response to Intervention (RTI) model of early identification and intervention to prevent reading failure. A simple screening system to alert teachers to children who may not have some of the prerequisite skills necessary for reading and a whole class intervention system will be described. The success of these initiatives was measured systematically, and the incidence of reading difficulties was reduced to 1.5% in the children who had English as a first language and in children who had English as an additional language. The article also examines the relative influence of students’ first language on learning to read in English and the benefits of bilingualism.
Acoustic distortions to the speech signal impair spoken language recognition, but healthy listeners exhibit adaptive plasticity consistent with rapid adjustments in how the distorted speech input maps to speech representations, perhaps through engagement of supervised error-driven learning. This puts adaptive plasticity in speech perception in an interesting position with regard to developmental dyslexia inasmuch as dyslexia impacts speech processing and may involve dysfunction in neurobiological systems hypothesized to be involved in adaptive plasticity.
Here, we examined typical young adult listeners (N = 17), and those with dyslexia (N = 16), as they reported the identity of native-language monosyllabic spoken words to which signal processing had been applied to create a systematic acoustic distortion. During training, all participants experienced incremental signal distortion increases to mildly distorted speech along with orthographic and auditory feedback indicating word identity following response across a brief, 250-trial training block. During pretest and posttest phases, no feedback was provided to participants.
Word recognition across severely distorted speech was poor at pretest and equivalent across groups. Training led to improved word recognition for the most severely distorted speech at posttest, with evidence that adaptive plasticity generalized to support recognition of new tokens not previously experienced under distortion. However, training-related recognition gains for listeners with dyslexia were significantly less robust than for control listeners.
Less efficient adaptive plasticity to speech distortions may impact the ability of individuals with dyslexia to deal with variability arising from sources like acoustic noise and foreign-accented speech.
Recounts how our collaboration with Nick Martin was shaped over two decades, leading to the first studies of predictions from the ‘Dual Route Cascaded’ computational model of reading in twins, and extending into the molecular work, first linkage, fine mapping of genes identified in pedigree studies, into now the genomewide association study era and the first polygenic risk scores for reading and their potential in early clarifying causality and validating interventions, as well as for future global collaborations in improving these predictors and identifying causal variants. We highlight Nick’s warm, future-focused optimism, support and inclusive approach without which none of this would have been possible. The circle of Nick asking, over half a century ago, ‘What genes do you think make some kids get better grades?’ has built a diverse scientific legacy involving thousands of papers and collaborations. The (heritable) traits of curiosity, boldness, warmth, interest in societally important questions, openness to new methods, ambition and collaborative skill to bring into being the infrastructure and samples needed for this research are rare, and we are grateful.
Over 2.4 million children in the public school system are diagnosed with a learning disability, including dyslexia and developmental dyscalculia. Previous research has shown that some teachers are unaware of the importance of working memory in a student’s academic and social realm and what working memory deficits may look like in the classroom. The relationship between learning disabilities, working memory, and behaviour problems were examined with tailored recommendations for improvement to provide insight for classroom educators. Three children from the United Kingdom, all of whom were 8 years old and presented with symptoms of learning disorders and low working memory profiles, were selected for case studies. Measures of working memory, behaviour, and academic attainment were included. Results from their standardised assessments indicated that each child had below average working memory, as well as low scores in arithmetic, writing and spelling skills. Each child also exhibited some type of behavioural problem, such as inattention or hyperactivity. Implications of the impact of their working memory profile on their academic outcomes and behaviour are discussed. Recommendations, such as Response to Intervention (RTI), are included for classroom educators to bridge the gap between research and practice.
Reading and language abilities are critical for educational achievement and success in adulthood. Variation in these traits is highly heritable, but the underlying genetic architecture is largely undiscovered. Genetic studies of reading and language skills traditionally focus on children with developmental disorders; however, much larger unselected adult samples are available, increasing power to identify associations with specific genetic variants of small effect size. We introduce an Australian adult population cohort (41.7–73.2 years of age, N = 1505) in which we obtained data using validated measures of several aspects of reading and language abilities. We performed genetic association analysis for a reading and spelling composite score, nonword reading (assessing phonological processing: a core component in learning to read), phonetic spelling, self-reported reading impairment and nonword repetition (a marker of language ability). Given the limited power in a sample of this size (~80% power to find a minimum effect size of 0.005), we focused on analyzing candidate genes that have been associated with dyslexia and developmental speech and language disorders in prior studies. In gene-based tests, FOXP2, a gene implicated in speech/language disorders, was associated with nonword repetition (p < .001), phonetic spelling (p = .002) and the reading and spelling composite score (p < .001). Gene-set analyses of candidate dyslexia and speech/language disorder genes were not significant. These findings contribute to the assessment of genetic associations in reading and language disorders, crucial for understanding their etiology and informing intervention strategies, and validate the approach of using unselected adult samples for gene discovery in language and reading.
Nonword repetition is typically impaired in dyslexia. Conversely, native-like performance is early achieved by bilingual children whose second language has a simple phonotactic system, like Italian. Our study aimed at comparing the performance of monolingual and bilingual children with and without dyslexia in a nonword repetition task modeled after Italian. We assessed nonword repetition in 111 school-aged children: 24 Italian L2 bilingual dyslexics, 24 Italian monolingual dyslexics, 30 Italian L2 bilingual controls and 33 Italian monolingual controls. We administered an original task composed of 40 nonwords ranging from two to five syllables; the complexity of the syllables was also manipulated. Results showed that both groups of dyslexics underperformed controls at each syllable length. No differences were found between monolingual and bilingual controls. Conversely, bilingual dyslexics underperformed monolingual dyslexics only with four-syllable nonwords. The possible use of nonword repetition tasks to assist in the identification of dyslexia in bilingual children is also discussed.
An accumulating body of evidence highlights the contribution of general cognitive processes, such as attention, to language-related skills.
The purpose of the present study was to explore how interference control (a subcomponent of selective attention) is affected in developmental dyslexia (DD) by means of control over simple stimulus-response mappings. Furthermore, we aimed to examine interference control in adults with DD across sensory modalities.
The performance of 14 dyslexic adults and 14 matched controls was compared on visual/auditory Simon tasks, in which conflict was presented in terms of an incongruent mapping between the location of a visual/auditory stimulus and the appropriate motor response.
In the auditory task, dyslexic participants exhibited larger Simon effect costs; namely, they showed disproportionately larger reaction times (RTs)/errors costs when the auditory stimulus and response were incongruent relative to RT/errors costs of non-impaired readers. In the visual Simon task, both groups presented Simon effect costs to the same extent.
These results indicate that the ability to control auditory selective attention is carried out less effectively in those with DD compared with visually controlled processing. The implications of this impaired process for the language-related skills of individuals with DD are discussed.
The aim of this study was to examine (a) the development of vocabulary and grammar in children with family-risk (FR) of dyslexia and their peers with no such risk (NoFR) between ages 1;6 and 6;0, and (b) whether FR-status exerted an effect on the direction of temporal relationships between these two constructs. Groups were assessed at seven time-points using standardised tests and parental reports. Results indicated that although FR and NoFR children had a similar development in the earlier years, the FR group appeared to perform significantly more poorly on vocabulary at the end of the preschool period. Results showed no significant effect of FR status on the cross-lagged relations between lexical and grammatical skills, suggesting a similar developmental pattern of cross-domain relations in both groups. However, FR status seemed to have a significantly negative association with vocabulary and grammar scores at age 6;0, resulting in language outcomes in favour of NoFR children.
Many studies show that poor readers make more errors in nonword repetition than better readers. Although this finding is generally linked to the lower quality of poor readers’ phonological representations in verbal short-term memory, the nature of this poor performance remains unclear. We addressed this issue by focusing on two types of phoneme-related performance in a nonword repetition task: (a) recall of phonemes irrespective of their serial order (phoneme identity) and (b) recall of correctly reproduced phonemes’ serial order (serial order). We tested 91 young adults with and without dyslexia. Generalized linear mixed-effects models demonstrated that controls outperformed individuals with dyslexia in the recall of phonemes’ serial order but failed to detect a difference in the recall of phonemes’ identity. These findings are discussed not only in terms of the nature of or access to phonological representations but also in terms of another concept that has recently been advanced in the literature: a specialized serial order mechanism in verbal short-term memory. We also consider the possibility that individuals with dyslexia may be less sensitive to phonotactic constraints.
Spelling is a key, and telling, component of children’s literacy development. An important aspect of spelling development lies in children’s sensitivity to morphological root constancy. This is the sensitivity to the fact that the spelling of roots typically remains constant across related words (e.g., sing in singing and singer). The present investigation examined the extent to which children with dyslexia and younger typically developing children are sensitive to this feature of the orthography. We did so with a spelling-level matched design (e.g., Bourassa & Treiman, 2008) and by further contrasting results with those for a sample of children of the same chronological age as the dyslexic group. Analyses revealed that the dyslexic children and their spelling-ability matched peers used the root constancy principle to a similar degree. However, neither group used this principle to its maximum extent; maximal use of root constancy did emerge for age matched peers. Overall, the findings support the idea that sensitivity to root constancy in children with dyslexia is characterized by delayed rather than atypical development.
Verbal fluency tasks, in which participants generate words during a set time, have been used in research and assessments of neurobiological disorders and impairments. Research on verbal fluency in dyslexia has shown impaired performance in semantic and letter fluency. However, studies report inconsistent results, and action fluency has not been examined in dyslexia. Current research has mainly examined verbal fluency in relation to executive functions, vocabulary, and phonological processing. The present study examined performance on letter, semantic, and action fluency in relation to reading ability in 42 students in higher education, of which 16 had developmental dyslexia and 26 had typical reading development. It was examined if verbal fluency can predict variance in reading ability when group, phonological awareness, and rapid automatized naming are controlled for. Results showed impaired verbal fluency in the developmental dyslexia group. Action fluency and group were significant predictors of reading ability, together explaining 73% of the variance, in a backward elimination regression analysis. The results point to a possible, unique connection between action fluency and reading ability; this connection is discussed based on their neurocognitive underpinnings.
What Australian psychologists currently learn about specific learning disorders (SLDs) through postgraduate-level training is not clear. Accordingly, the current Australia-wide study analysed 800 postgraduate psychology unit handbook entries to identify which courses teach about SLD and what they teach in this area. Only 2.38% of the identified units explicitly indicated SLD-related content, with 0.38% solely dedicated to SLD content. Descriptive analyses revealed differences in labels used for SLD. Thematic analyses identified five areas of knowledge and skills across SLD units including assessment, intervention, theory and empirical evidence, developmental and cultural awareness and sensitivity, and interpersonal communication. The present findings can inform future refinements to university-level psychology programs across Australia by highlighting the gaps and needs in psychology training.
Although our understanding of reading acquisition has grown, the study of dyslexia in Standard Indonesian (SI) is still in its infancy. A recently developed assessment battery for young readers of SI was used to test the feasibility of Pennington et al.’s (2012) multiple-case approach to dyslexia in the highly transparent orthography of SI. Reading, spelling, phonological skills, and nonverbal IQ were assessed in 285 first, second, and third graders. Deficits in reading-related cognitive skills were classified and regression analyses were conducted to test the fit of single and multiple deficit models. Naming speed (NS) was the main predictor of reading and decoding fluency, followed by phonological awareness (PA), and verbal working memory (VWM). Accounting for 33% of the cases that satisfied both methods of individual prediction (i.e., classification of deficits and regression analysis), the hybrid model proved the best fit. None of the deficits in PA, NS, or VWM alone was sufficient to predict a risk of dyslexia in the present sample, nor was a deficit in PA necessary. Hence, there are multiple pathways to being at risk of dyslexia in SI, some involving single deficits, some multiple deficits, and some without deficits in PA, NS, or VWM.
This study examined the processing of derivational morphology and its association with measures of morphological awareness and literacy outcomes in 30 Dutch-speaking high-functioning dyslexics, and 30 controls, matched for age and reading comprehension. A masked priming experiment was conducted where the semantic overlap between morphologically related pairs was manipulated as part of a lexical decision task. Measures of morphological awareness were assessed using a specifically designed sentence completion task. Significant priming effects were found in each group, yet adults with dyslexia were found to benefit more from the morphological structure than the controls. Adults with dyslexia were found to be influenced by both form (morpho-orthographic) and meaning (morphosemantic) properties of morphemes while controls were mainly influenced by morphosemantic properties. The reports suggest that morphological processing is intact in high-functioning dyslexics and a strength when compared to controls matched for reading comprehension and age. Thus, reports support morphological processing as a potential factor in the reading compensation of adults with dyslexia. However, adults with dyslexia performed significantly worse than controls on morphological awareness measures.
While much is known about dyslexia in school-age children and adolescents, less is known about its effects on quality of life in adults. Using data from the Connecticut Longitudinal Study, we provide the first estimates of the monetary value of improving reading, speaking, and cognitive skills to dyslexic and nondyslexic adults. Using a stated-preference survey, we find that dyslexic and nondyslexic individuals value improvements in their skills in reading speed, reading aloud, pronunciation, memory, and information retrieval at about the same rate. Because dyslexics have lower self-reported levels on these skills, their total willingness to pay to achieve a high level of skill is substantially greater than for nondyslexics. However, dyslexic individuals’ willingness to pay (averaging $3000 for an improvement in all skills simultaneously) is small compared with the difference in earnings between dyslexic and nondyslexic adults. We estimate that dyslexic individuals earn 15% less per year (about $8000) than nondyslexic individuals. Although improvements in reading, speaking, and cognitive skills in adulthood are unlikely to eliminate the earnings difference that reflects differences in educational attainment and other factors, stated-preference estimates of the value of cognitive skills may substantially underestimate the value derived from effects on lifetime earnings and health.
Auditory phonological processing skills are critical for successful reading development in English not only in native (L1) speakers but also in second language (L2) learners. However, the neural deficits of auditory phonological processing remain unknown in English-as-the-second-language (ESL) learners with reading difficulties. Here we investigated neural responses during spoken word rhyme judgments in typical and impaired ESL readers in China. The impaired readers showed comparable activation in the left superior temporal gyrus (LSTG), but reduced activation in the left inferior frontal gyrus (LIFG) and left fusiform and reduced connectivity between the LSTG and left fusiform when compared to typical readers. These findings suggest that impaired ESL readers have relative intact representations but impaired manipulation of phonology and reduced or absent automatic access to orthographic representations. This is consistent with previous findings in native English speakers and suggests a common neural mechanism underlying English impairment across the L1 and L2 learners.
Students with specific learning difficulties (SpLD) in higher education institutions (HEIs) in the Republic of Ireland are required to have a formal psycho-educational assessment from an educational psychologist to register with Disability Services in HEIs, to be eligible for support through the Fund for Students with Disabilities (FSD). Such assessments are expensive and often beyond the financial means of students and their families. However, there is a sustained demand from students experiencing academic difficulties for diagnostic assessment of SpLD (Association for Higher Education Access and Disability [AHEAD], 2012). This study describes the SpLD screening and assessment practices implemented by HEIs in Ireland (n = 14), finding that (a) there are no defined parameters for assessment of SpLD in higher education (HE), meaning that methods and accuracy of identification of positive indicators may vary across HEIs; and (b) the majority of HEIs screen for dyslexia only, with little or no recognition of the need to assess for comorbidity of learning disabilities. Findings support the requirement for a reliable and valid standardised assessment procedure for Irish HEIs, which would provide equitable access to an initial diagnosis. Finally, a screening model is proposed, which is currently provided by one HEI.
Schizophrenia has a neurodevelopmental component to its origin, and may share overlapping pathogenic mechanisms with childhood neurodevelopmental disorders (NDs). Nevertheless, longitudinal studies of psychotic outcomes among individuals with NDs are limited. We report a population-based prospective study of six common childhood NDs, subsequent neurocognitive performance and the risk of psychotic experiences (PEs) in early adolescence.
PEs were assessed by semi-structured interviews at age 13 years. IQ and working memory were measured between ages 9 and 11 years. The presence of six NDs (autism spectrum, dyslexia, dyspraxia, dysgraphia, dysorthographia, dyscalculia) was determined from parent-completed questionnaires at age 9 years. Linear regression calculated the mean difference in cognitive scores between children with and without NDs. Associations between NDs and PEs were expressed as odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs); effects of cognitive deficits were examined. Potential confounders included age, gender, father's social class, ethnicity and maternal education.
Out of 8220 children, 487 (5.9%) were reported to have NDs at age 9 years. Children with, compared with those without, NDs performed worse on all cognitive measures; the adjusted mean difference in total IQ was 6.84 (95% CI 5.00–8.69). The association between total IQ and NDs was linear (p < 0.0001). The risk of PEs was higher in those with, compared with those without, NDs; the adjusted OR for definite PEs was 1.76 (95% CI 1.11–2.79). IQ (but not working memory) deficit partly explained this association.
Higher risk of PEs in early adolescence among individuals with childhood ND is consistent with the neurodevelopmental hypothesis of schizophrenia.
Morphemes facilitate visual word recognition, leading to greater accuracy and fluency in reading morphologically complex words. In children with dyslexia, the morphological structure might be useful to reduce difficulties caused by phonological deficits. The aim of this study was to determine whether Spanish-speaking children with dyslexia benefit from morphemes when reading. A group of children with dyslexia of different ages (7 to 10 years) and a group of children without reading disabilities, matched on chronological age and gender, participated in a task of reading isolated words and pseudowords in which morphological complexity was manipulated. Half of the stimuli were morphologically simple and half morphologically complex. Children with dyslexia benefit from morphology since they have better performance with the morphologically complex stimuli. These results indicate that they are able to develop representations of units larger than the grapheme, what suggests that Spanish-speaking children with dyslexia use the morphological structure to overcome their difficulties in phonological recoding. These results have important implications for the rehabilitation of children with dyslexia.
Learning to read in any language requires learning to map among print, sound and meaning. Writing systems differ in a number of factors that influence both the ease and the rate with which reading skill can be acquired, as well as the eventual division of labor between phonological and semantic processes. Further, developmental reading disability manifests differently across writing systems, and may be related to different deficits in constitutive processes. Here we simulate some aspects of reading acquisition in Chinese and English using the same model for both writing systems. The contribution of semantic and phonological processing to literacy acquisition in the two languages is simulated, including specific effects of phonological and semantic deficits. Further, we demonstrate that similar patterns of performance are observed when the same model is trained on both Chinese and English as an “early bilingual”. The results are consistent with the view that reading skill is acquired by the application of statistical learning rules to mappings among print, sound and meaning, and that differences in the typical and disordered acquisition of reading skill between writing systems are driven by differences in the statistical patterns of the writing systems themselves, rather than differences in cognitive architecture of the learner.