Temporal Processing Deficits in Children with Dyslexia and Developmental Coordination Disorder

Williams, Gareth John (2005). Temporal Processing Deficits in Children with Dyslexia and Developmental Coordination Disorder. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000e96b


This thesis set out to examine whether temporal processing deficits were evident in both children with developmental dyslexia and children with developmental coordination disorder (DCD), and if there were, whether there were similar patterns of deficits in both conditions which suggest evidence of a possible underlying cognitive deficit common to both conditions, as suggested by some researchers (for example, Kaplan, Wilson, Dewey, and Crawford, 1998, and Nicolson, 2000).

A pilot study was carried out to investigate the feasibility of initial tasks that may be used in main studies. The findings from this study suggested automatisation and temporal processing may be areas to explore further. Consequently, Study One began by investigating the performance of children with dyslexia, DCD and typically developing children on a rapid naming task. The duration of their articulations and non-articulations was measured and the results indicated that the children with dyslexia showed longer and more variable non-articulation durations than the other two groups; the children with DCD had significantly longer articulation durations than the other two groups. Main Study Two investigated whether there were temporal production deficits in the two special needs groups relative to controls. The findings here suggested a subtle auditory deficit in children with dyslexia, however the children with DCD did not differ significantly from the typically developing group. Main Study Three investigated temporal perception, using a temporal generalisation task. This study found no significant differences between the groups on their performance on the task, but intergroup correlations suggested that the ability to carry out temporal generalisations was associated with different abilities in each group. Finally, Main Study Four looked at temporal order judgements (TOJs) across several modalities by using different types of stimuli: phonological stimuli, tones, shapes, and letters. Here, the children with dyslexia were significantly less accurate than the other two groups in making TOJs with phonological stimuli, but the children with DCD were not significantly different from the controls. All children performed least accurately on the tone condition suggesting that the nature of this condition is generally difficult. The results do not support the hypothesis that there is a general temporal processing deficit in children with dyslexia or children with DCD or that this may be a common deficit between the two conditions. However, the findings were in line with the idea that children with dyslexia have a phonological and / or speech perception deficit, and further work with children who have DCD needs to be conducted to study the heterogeneity of this condition at the cognitive level.

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