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Title: Working memory matters : a series of case studies evaluating the effect of a working memory intervention in children with early onset otitis media
Author: Faulds, Karen Elaine
ISNI:       0000 0004 5350 3832
Awarding Body: Institute of Education, University of London
Current Institution: UCL Institute of Education (IOE)
Date of Award: 2014
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Otitis Media (glue ear) delays reading (Kindig & Richards, 2000) by impacting on phonological processing, and may affect working memory development (Mody et al, 1999). Reported links between working memory capacity and school success (Bourke & Adams, 2003; Gathercole, Pickering, Knight & Stegman, 2004), suggest that working memory has a crucial role in learning. Deficits have been linked to anxiety during task performance (Hadwin, Brogan & Stevenson, 2005) and low self-esteem (Alloway, Gathercole, Kirkwood & Elliott, 2009). Sixteen children aged seven to ten with a history of early onset Otitis Media, together with a comparison group of twelve children were assessed on a range of measures of phonological processing, single word and non-word reading, non-verbal reasoning and working memory, and an attitude to self and school rating scale, before and after working memory training. Semi-structured interviews and classroom observations of learning behaviours were used to elaborate the findings from the quantitative data. Significant differences were found between the groups before training in verbal and visuo-spatial short term and working memory, and non-word reading. Following training these differences were no longer significant. Performance in reading and phonological tasks was found to improve for both groups following training. Mean scores for responses to the learning attitudes rating scales were not significantly different before or after training, but large individual differences were found for children in both groups. Case studies are presented of individual children in the Otitis Media group. The results indicate that, as found in previous studies, a history of Otitis Media can result in weaknesses in phonological processes, memory and literacy development, and the original contribution of this study indicates that these may be ameliorated by a working memory intervention. Improvements in working memory did not appear to affect children’s overall learning identities but more positive feelings were found after training for several children.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychology and Human Development