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Title: Reading skills in adolescents with cochlear implants
Author: Aitkenhead, Lynne
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2012
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Reading outcomes following cochlear implantation are extremely variable. Understanding the factors underlying this variability is of clinical importance, and research has concentrated on how children with cochlear implants encode and process information. Existing research has focussed on younger children; the present study investigated the relationship between short-term and working memory and reading outcomes in adolescents with cochlear implants. A cross-sectional comparative design was selected. 18 adolescents with cochlear implants were recruited from a cochlear implant programme in London. All participants completed neuropsycho- logical measures of reading, phonological and visual working memory and non-verbal IQ, and scores were compared with normative data for hearing children: Significantly more adolescents with cochlear implants had below average reading outcomes than would be expected. Reading Composite scores were positively correlated with performance on a phonological working memory task (WISe-IV Digit Span). This correlation was not significantly different from manual norms for normal-hearing children. These findings show that the difference in reading attainment between children with cochlear implants and their hearing peers continues into adolescence. In keeping with previous research, outcomes were highly variable. Reading scores in adolescents are significantly correlated with Digit Span scores, consistent with findings in younger children. The size of this correlation did not differ significantly from normative data for hearing children. The results of this study stress the importance of careful, individualized assessments of reading for children with cochlear implants, and indicate that monitoring should continue into adolescence. The effect of interventions designed to improve or compensate for limited working memory capacity on reading outcomes is an important area for future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available