Predictors of early literacy skills in children with disabilities: A clinical perspective
SourceResearch in Developmental Disabilities, 35, 7, (2014), pp. 1674-1685
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OLO
Research in Developmental Disabilities
SubjectLearning and Plasticity
The present study investigated the linguistic and cognitive predictors of early literacy in 17 children with intellectual disabilities (ID) (mean age: 7; 6 years) compared to 24 children with normal language acquisition (NLA) (mean age: 6; 0 years), who were all in the so-called partial alphabetic phase of reading (Ehri, 2005). In each group, children's performances in early literacy skills (phonological awareness, letter knowledge, and word decoding) were assessed, as well as their achievement in linguistic and cognitive measures associated to these skills. The results showed that, notwithstanding the fact that there were no differences in word decoding, children with ID lagged behind on all predictor measures relevant to early literacy skills compared to children with NLA. Moreover, whereas children with NLA showed a regular predictive pathway of early literacy skills, children with ID showed a deviant pattern, in which nonverbal intelligence and rhythmic skills proved to be of major importance. Also letter knowledge appeared to be involved in their early literacy processing. It can be tentatively concluded that in the ID group, children's level of nonverbal intellectual abilities in combination with rhythmic ability proves pivotal in the development of their early literacy skills.
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