Literacy instruction and phonological awareness in preschool age children with developmental disabilities

Literacy instruction and phonological awareness in preschool age children with developmental disabilities

First Author: Andrea Barton-Hulsey -- Florida State University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Rose A. Sevcik; MaryAnn Romski
Keywords: Developmental Disabilities, Phonological awareness, early childhood (age 4 - 6), Vocabulary, Speech ability
Abstract / Summary: 

Little is understood about the relationship between speech ability, vocabulary comprehension, access to instruction, and phonological awareness (PA) for children with developmental disabilities during preschool. This study will describe the literacy skills of 6 preschool aged children with Down syndrome (DS), 17 with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and 19 with other etiology specific diagnoses of developmental disability (DD) and asks if there are group differences in relationships between PA, vocabulary, letter, letter-sound knowledge, and home and school literacy experiences. Children were matched for age (M=4.74 years), speech ability (F(2, 39)=2.17, p=.128), developmental skill (F(2, 39)=.88, p= 068), and home and school literacy experience (F(2, 35)=0.68, p=.513), (F(2, 29)=0.13, p=.875). Children with DS, ASD and DD did not have significant differences in vocabulary, PA, or letter-sound knowledge, but children with ASD had greater letter knowledge. Children with ASD had strengths in letter-sound knowledge that were significantly related to PA, and children with DS had limited PA skills, with relatively greater letter and letter-sound knowledge. High levels of shared literacy was reported at home, with low levels reported at school for all children. Greater PA was found in children with DD who also had the greatest home literacy experiences. This relationship was not found in children with DS or ASD. Findings represent an important step in understanding the relationship between factors of speech ability, vocabulary, letter-sound knowledge and access to reading instruction that support the development of PA in children with DS, ASD and DD. This poster will further describe access to technology for instruction, interest and engagement in reading, and frequency of school instruction for decoding. Opportunities for increased instruction in PA that capitalize on children’s strengths will be discussed.