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Title: Processing speed in children and adolescents
Author: Gamman, L.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7969 5561
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2019
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Literature Review Background: Mathematical and reading abilities are predictive of academic achievement. To date, limited research has examined the relationship between processing speed and academic achievement in typically developing children. Greater insight into this relationship could help to identify the impact that reduced processing speed may have on long-term academic achievement. This review aimed to explore the relationship between these variables in typically developing children. Method: Studies conducted in the past twenty years measuring mathematics and/or reading abilities and processing speed in typically developing children using a standardised assessment measure were included in the review. In total 1278 studies were screened, which led to the identification of eight eligible studies that were included in the review. Results: No relationship was found between processing speed and reading ability. The findings on mathematics abilities were conflicting, with some studies identifying a relationship and other finding no significant association between these variables. Age appeared to be a moderating factor in studies that reported a significant relationship between mathematics and processing speed. Conclusions: The findings suggest that the relationship between processing speed and academic achievement is complex and the following review was unable to ascertain the direct relationship between these variables. It is recommended that future research examines the relationship between age and academic achievement in further detail. Empirical Paper Processing speed interventions have been found to be acceptable in children; however, there is limited evidence that they are effective in this population. This study investigated whether a processing speed intervention was effective in improving processing speed (PS) in children with suspected white matter disorders. The study hypothesised that children would demonstrate improvement on a daily outcome measure and between pre-baseline and post-intervention measures of PS. A single case experimental design utilising a multiple baseline approach was used to observe the effect of the intervention within and across participants. Three participants were recruited, each completing a choice reaction time (CRT) task three times a week that acted as the outcome measure. The processing speed intervention involved playing single player, multiplayer and iPad/android games. Overall there was no significant change in CRT between phases; however two participants demonstrated a medium effect size. There was no significant change in pre- or post-PS measures but there was evidence of reliable change in overall and cognitive fatigue. These findings suggest that the processing speed intervention was not effective in improving PS abilities. This paper highlights a number of challenges in implementing a processing speed intervention and explores the clinical implications of these findings.
Supervisor: Limond, J. ; Smith, A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: white-matter damage ; intervention ; children ; adolescents ; processing speed ; academic achievement ; typically developing children ; reading ; mathematics