Differential diagnosis of psycholinguistic disabilities of poor readers and some remedial procedures

Naylor, J. G. (1982). Differential diagnosis of psycholinguistic disabilities of poor readers and some remedial procedures. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000de1b


The aims of the study were (a) to investigate the use of the Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Abilities in the diagnosis of psycholinguistic deficit in first year junior schoolchildren having reading difficulties, and (b) to examine the effects of three educational programmes on the modification of the children's psycholinguistic abilities and reading attainments. From a population of over 1,000 children considered to be at educational risk because of poor reading attainment, a sample of 60 children was identified from four junior schools (i. e. 15 children in each school), selected at random from those schools having a high incidence of poor readers. The 60 children were tested on the ITPA, after which their scores were subjected to a profile analysis. This revealed marked deficits in the areas of Auditory Closure and Visual Sequential Memory. Three intervention programmes were constructed. The first was designed to ameliorate the specific disabilities in the two areas specified above. The second was a diffuse approach to language development which stressed the general training of oral language and verbal intelligence rather than specific training in psycholinguistic processes. A third group of children acting as a control group received a number programme. The children were retested on the ITPA and on various measures of reading attainment at the end of a twelve week treatment period and again ten months later. At the end of the experiment both groups receiving language training obtained higher composite psycholinguistic ages on the ITPA than the control group, but the pattern of psycholinguistic deficits was modified only in the group receiving specific training. Both language groups scored significantly higher than the control group on the tests of reading attainment. The results are interpreted as giving qualified support for the use of the ITPA as a test of differential diagnosis and in providing suggestions for remedial programmes.

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