Young children's use of a visual aid: an experimental study of the effectiveness of train
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SourceDevelopmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 51, 6, (2009), pp. 460-467
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI ON
SW OZ BSI OLO
Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology
SubjectLearning and Plasticity; Social Development
We report an experiment concerning the use of a stand magnifier by young children with visual impairments (21 males, 12 females; mean age 4y 8mo [SD 11mo]). Children had a normative developmental level and a visual acuity of 0.4 or less (<= 20/50 in Snellen's notation). To measure magnifier use objectively, we developed a task that closely resembled the dynamics of its real-life (pre-reading) use. Children had to follow trails visually, from a start location to an unseen end location. This could only be done successfully and reliably by proper use of the magnifier. In addition to this, we analyzed the effect of specific training with the magnifier by using a repeated-measures (before and after training) matched-groups (with respect to age and near-visual acuity) design. Results established both the task's efficacy as an instrument for measuring magnifier use in young children and the effectiveness of the training. Improvement in task performance after training was found in both groups, except for the youngest children (< 3y 6mo). On average, 1.8 times as many paths were followed in both groups after training (p=0.001). The without-magnifier training group became 2.5 times as good at finding the correct end location, whereas the with-magnifier training group became 4.3 times as good (p=0.05).
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