Reading disability models and assistive technology: Comparing alternative models by their ability to predict the compensatory effect of assistive technology use for students’ reading comprehension

Reading disability models and assistive technology: Comparing alternative models by their ability to predict the compensatory effect of assistive technology use for students’ reading comprehension

First Author: Sarah Wood -- Sarah Wood
Additional authors/chairs: 
Fotena Zirps; Richard K. Wagner
Keywords: Dyslexia, Text-to-speech, Assistive technology, Reading disability, Learning disability or difficulty
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: To be valid, models of reading disability should predict important real-world criteria. An important real-word criterion for students with reading disability is whether they would profit from text-to-speech. We will compare alternative models of reading disability by their capacity to predict reading individual differences in reading comprehension performance using TTS, controlling for unassisted reading comprehension.
Method: Third- through sixth-grade students with and without reading disabilities (50 of each) will be included to reflect a distribution of student performance. Structural equation modeling will be used to test competing models of reading disability, including relative comparisons based on the nested relations. The constellation model will serve as the least restrictive model and the more restrictive nested models will be generated from that model by constraining the appropriate paths.
Results: Data collection is currently underway. Following completion of data collection, alternative models will be operationalized in the following ways: low achievement model (poor decoding ability), discrepancy model (IQ > decoding, or listening comprehension (LC) > reading comprehension (RC)), poor response-to-intervention (RTI), hybrid model (poor decoding, poor (RTI)), constellation model (poor decoding, IQ, poor RTI, LC > RC, sex, family history (FH), phonological awareness (PA), ADHD).
Conclusions: Although it is clear that multiple indicator models are potentially a significant improvement over single indicator models, the process and criteria for deciding between models is unclear. Thus, this research will be critical to compare models of reading disability and provide evidence for which student will benefit most from assistive technology.