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Title: The development of reading skills in children with Down syndrome.
Author: Byrne, Angela.
Awarding Body: University of Portsmouth
Current Institution: University of Portsmouth
Date of Award: 1997
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This longitudinal study charts the development and achievement in reading, language and memory skills of a representative group of children with Down syndrome in mainstream education. Twenty-four children with Down syndrome were followed over a 2 year period and compared to (i) children matched for reading age (N=31) and, (ii) average readers (N=42), from the same school classes as the children with Down syndrome. A battery of standardised assessments was administered annually to obtain measures of reading, language, memory, number skills, and general intelligence. On all three occasions the children with Down syndrome showed an uneven profile of development with advanced reading ability compared to their other cognitive skills. Two years after the initial assessment there was still no significant difference between the reading scores of the children with Down syndrome and the reading age control group indicating similar rates of progress in the two groups despite the children with Down syndrome being significantly delayed on all of the other measures. Although it was predicted that learning to read may enhance the language and memory skills of children with Down syndrome, partial correlations revealed no significant associations between reading and language ability once age and intelligence had been controlled for. This suggests that reading and language are independent cognitive skills in this age group of children. The relationship between reading and auditory STM was less clear as significant partial correlations were only found at some times. Furthermore, exploratory multiple regression analyses also suggested that there was no clear predictive relationship of language and memory development from early reading ability. Finally, reading strategies were examined longitudinally in an experimental task in which words and nonwords were presented via a computer. The Down syndrome and reading matched groups were similar in their ability to read words but the children with Down syndrome were significantly less accurate when reading nonwords. The results suggested that the majority of the children with Down syndrome were continuing to make progress using a logographic reading strategy. However, there was also some evidence that some children with Down syndrome (those who had the highest reading ages) had developed alphabetic skills.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Cognitive development; Language learning Psychology Linguistics Education