Metalinguistic and literacy abilities were studied in twenty-seven nonvocal cerebral palsied school children. The participants of the study were presented four tests of phonological awareness: rhyme recognition, sound identification, phoneme synthesis and word length analysis. Their verbal comprehension was measured using a semantic and a syntactic task. Two tests of nonverbal memory: the visual sequential task from ITPA and Corsi blocks and the Digit Span task from WISC, were also included. These measures were related to their reading and spelling ability. The nonvocal children performed on a lower level on the reading and spelling tasks than did the children of two comparison groups, one matched for mental age and one for mental and chronological age. There were no differences in phonological awareness or in verbal memory. The disabled children performed worse on the verbal comprehension task than the children in the comparison groups. Although the reading and spelling results were low in the nonvocal group there were children showing some literacy skills. A within-group analysis performed in the nonvocal group showed that the reading children performed better on all memory tests, and on the sound identification and the word length analysis tasks than the nonreading ones. They also showed better results on verbal comprehension, the semantic task and used more symbols in their communication. Synthetic speech was more often used in reading and spelling education in the reading subgroup than in the nonreading. Metalinguistic abilities and possibility of acoustic rehearsal are discussed as important factors in reading and spelling acquisition in the nonvocal population.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 29, 2004
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