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Title: Partially sighted children : the visual processing of words and pictures
Author: Corley, Barbara Margaret Gianetta
Awarding Body: Institute of Education (University of London)
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 1992
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Reading is normally by eye and by ear, but what happens if eyesight is severely impaired? The hypothesis put forward in the first part of this thesis is that partially sighted children adopt a predominantly nonlexical word recognition and production strategy. This is likely to be because of the reading tuition they receive, which emphasises individual letters and letter patterns in words in relation to pronunciation. This study explores the word and picture processing abilities of a small group of partially sighted children, using a series of experimental tasks. Surprisingly, the analysis of oral reading errors in Study 1 revealed that the partially sighted children were using the same salient graphic cues as young fully sighted readers were normally found to be using. Further experiments using lexical decision tasks were carried out in Study 2 to investigate more closely the strategies used by partially sighted and matched fully sighted children in relation to lexical and nonlexical processing. Although there was clear evidence of nonlexical processing on the part of partially sighted children, there were also signs of lexical processing, too. Additional evidence was provided by their spellings presented in Study 3. The investigations described here suggest that the compensatory reading tuition experienced by the PS children led to a dominant nonlexical processing strategy, though not to the exclusion of lexical processing. Impaired eyesight was not associated inevitably with poor reading and spelling levels. The second hypothesis is that impaired eyesight is associated with poor visual recognition and recall of pictures, because of difficulty in accurate identification and slow processing. However, under the favourable conditions provided, which included a relatively lengthy exposure time, this was not entirely the case. The ability of the PS children to recognise pictures was remarkably good. Greater difficulty by them with the recall of pictures suggested partial specification of internal representations. These studies were set alongside comparable work with blind children. They contribute to the very sparse literature on PS children and confirm that these children can overcome severe visual handicap to present a profile of skilled accomplishment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychology and Human Development