Multisensory integration of letters : beneficial effect of an incidental multisensory learning for teenagers with intellectual disabilities

Multisensory integration of letters : beneficial effect of an incidental multisensory learning for teenagers with intellectual disabilities

First Author: Mr. Arthur Boisson -- Université Lyon 2
Additional authors/chairs: 
Annie Magnan; Rémy Versace; Lionel Brunel; Gerald Bussy; Hélène Labat
Keywords: Word reading, Intellectual Disability, Learning Efficiency, Letter knowledge, Training study
Abstract / Summary: 

According to a recent study, 29.3% of students with intellectual disabilities (ID) do not read, 6.8% read at a logographic stage, 31.9% at an alphabetic and 32% at an orthographic level (Ratz & Lenhard, 2013). Phonological decoding trainings have been successful in improving reading skills in samples with ID (Baylis & Snowling, 2012; Burgoyne et al., 2012). However, few studies investigated specific trainings like multisensory explorations. This study aimed at evaluating the incidental multisensory learning effect on letter knowledge and pseudoword decoding with adolescents with ID. Fourteen students ID with unspecified etiology. were tested before and after training on two tasks : a grapho-phonemic judgment task and a pseudoword decoding task. Two matched groups were formed : a Control group (C, Visual exploration of letters) and a Visuo-Haptic group (VH, multisensory exploration). Trainings were fully incidental : participants were exposed on a computer to letter-sounds correspondences without any explicit instructions. Eight letters (ib/p/k/g/t/d/f/v) were trained in 5 training sessions of 30 mn each. We predict a decrease between the pre-and the post-test for the group VH in both tasks. The pattern of results would suggest that a computer-based incidental multisensory training constitute a good teaching method, particularly in the case of ID students. These results will be compared with those of 5-years old typically developing children (Labat et al., 2015) and explained within the framework of a memory model called Act-In (Activation-Integration) according to which a multisensory learning leads to an enhanced distinctiveness of memory traces (Versace et al., 2014).