Delays in the reading and spelling of children with cerebral palsy: Associations with phonological and visual processes

Critten, Valerie; Messer, David and Sheehy, Kieron (2019). Delays in the reading and spelling of children with cerebral palsy: Associations with phonological and visual processes. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 85 pp. 131–142.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2018.12.001

Abstract

Background: This investigation addresses the question of whether there exists a significant discrepancy in the cognitive abilities of children with cerebral palsy (CP) who, despite the presence of age appropriate communication and language, have reading and spelling delays.
Aims: We wanted to discover whether there was a relationship between the phonological and visual perceptual abilities of children with CP and their progress in reading and spelling.
Methods and procedures: Fifteen children with CP (aged between 6:9 years and 11:6 years) were assessed on reading and spelling; communication and language; non-verbal reasoning; phonological processing; and visual perception.
Outcomes and results: Ten of the children had very weak reading and spelling skills. Five children had (mostly) age appropriate scores of reading and spelling. No differences were found between these two groups in non-verbal reasoning or communication and language. However, phonological abilities, visual sequential memory and perception of visuospatial relationships were found to be related to reading and spelling.
Conclusions and implications: The findings suggest that children with CP are at risk for reading and spelling delays when they have poor phonological processing, visual sequential memory and perception of visuospatial relationships. The implications of the findings for classroom practice are discussed.

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