Orthographic influences on phonological awareness in school-age children with dyslexia, compensated dyslexia, and typical word reading skills

Orthographic influences on phonological awareness in school-age children with dyslexia, compensated dyslexia, and typical word reading skills

First Author: Lauren Baron -- University of South Carolina
Additional authors/chairs: 
Anna Ehrhorn; Peter Shlanta; Bethany Bell; Jane Ashby; Suzanne Adlof
Keywords: Dyslexia, Orthographic Knowledge, Phonological awareness, Eye-tracking, children
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: We examined how orthographic knowledge influences phonological awareness (PA) in school-age children with and without word reading impairment. We hypothesized that children with a profile of compensated dyslexia may rely on orthographic knowledge to help compensate for weaknesses in PA.

Method: Participants included 73 children in grades three through seven. Children with a documented history of dyslexia who scored within normal limits on current word reading assessments (compensated dyslexia; n=18) were compared to children with current word reading standard scores < 85 (dyslexia; n=32) and children with typical development (TD; n=23) on the CTOPP-2 and an experimental PA measure administered with eye-tracking.

The experimental PA task required matching the final sound of a stimulus word to one of four options, all of which were spoken and represented with a picture. There were three conditions that varied in the congruency and consistency between orthography and phonology of the stimulus-target pairs.

Results: The dyslexia and compensated dyslexia groups displayed PA weakness on CTOPP-2 Elision, but preliminary analyses suggest a different pattern for the experimental PA task. Accuracy decreased as condition difficulty increased (i.e., congruent-consistent > congruent-inconsistent > incongruent), indicating that orthography influenced PA performance. Across conditions, children with dyslexia were less accurate than TD children, whereas children with compensated dyslexia performed similarly to TD children. Planned analyses of eye-movements will provide insight to underlying processing and strategies that may differ by group or condition.

Conclusions: Results of this study may shed light on mechanisms for dyslexia compensation. Theoretical and practical implications will be discussed.