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Title: Perceptual, motor and language deficits in backward readers of average intelligence and their relationship to developmental history
Author: Bale, Peter
ISNI:       0000 0001 3441 1682
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 1974
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Initially an investigation was made to discover and demonstrate the relationships between visual and auditory perceptual difficulties, motor impairment, body concept and language difficulties in a group of backward readers - all boys, aged between 7 1/2 and 11 1/2 years from the primary schools in Eastbourne. A partial correlation, taking out age, and a factor analysis of the data obtained, indicated that though there was no single condition which could fully account for the relationship between the factors, the variable grouping did indicate that the difficulties of some backward readers could be the result of a neural impairment. It is suggested that the impairment results in the difficulty of some backward readers in discriminating and integrating aspects of their perceptual and motor inputs. This difficulty is indicated by a failure to coordinate simple motor activities, a weak cerebral dominance, language problems and perceptual difficulties. The backward readers wore then subdivided according to the number and severity of their scores on the perceptual and motor tests. Using the same criteria for selection as for the initial selection of the backward readers, a control group of normal readers of similar age and intelligence was selected. A detailed questionnaire given to all the parents of the boys in both groups indicated the presence of a greater number of difficulties in pregnancy and during birth in the backward readers' group. However, analysis of variance indicated that with the exception of low birth weight, the differences between the normal and backward readers did not reach the level of significance. In contrast, when the backward readers with perceptual, motor difficulties and the normal readers wore compared, the incidence of toxaemia during pregnancy, difficulties during labour, prematurity and low birth weight were significantly higher in the perceptually motor impaired backward readers. Those results support the hypothesis that backward readers with poor perceptual motor abilities are most likely to have a history of prenatal and perinatal difficulties, particularly those difficulties associated with anoxia in the early stages of the child's development. It is these difficulties that are thought to cause neurological impairment. An examination of the number of language difficulties and the history of reading difficulties in the family indicated that a significantly greater number of language difficulties, especially poor articulation, and a higher incidence of reading difficulties occurred within the family in the backward readers' group than in the control group. This incidence was greatest in the group of backward readers with no perceptual motor problems or only mild perceptual motor problems which suggests that these difficulties could be the cause of their backwardness when learning to read. The high incidence of boys with parents, grandparents or other relations with a history of reading difficulty suggests a possible genetic origin. An alternative explanation might be that these parents who themselves read badly fail to provide adequate incentive and/or instruction for the development of reading and language ability. Interviews and questionnaires completed by the parents and teachers of the normal and backward readers indicated that a significantly greater number of backward readers were maladjusted. The backward readers, particularly those with perceptual motor deficits, were more restless and uncontrolled in their behaviour and were more antisocial. This is an indication that these behavioural problems are associated with reading retardation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available