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Reading and Spelling in Children with Severe Speech and Physical Impairments

Journal article
Authors Maria Larsson
Annika Dahlgren Sandberg
Martine Smith
Published in Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities
Volume 21
Issue 5
Pages 369-392
Publication year 2009
Published at Department of Psychology
Pages 369-392
Language en
Keywords Reading . Spelling . Phonological awareness . Memory . Speech impairment
Subject categories Cognitive science


The aim of the present paper was to study literacy skills in children with severe speech and physical impairment (SSPI), and compare their performance to typically developing children. The children with SSPI and the comparison group, both groups with 28 children, were matched on receptive vocabulary and assessed on measures of reading, spelling, rhyming, phoneme awareness and memory. The comparison group achieved significantly higher scores on reading, spelling, and rhyme awareness, but no differences were found on phoneme awareness or memory. Regression analyses, with reading and spelling as dependent variables and phoneme awareness, rhyming, and memory as independent variables, revealed that phoneme awareness was the strongest predictor of both reading and spelling in both groups. Rhyming seemed more important to reading and spelling for the children with SSPI than for their speaking peers. The children with SSPI were at an earlier literacy stage and therefore more dependent on rhyming ability than children in the comparison group who drew on their phoneme awareness. Although both groups performed similarly on phoneme awareness, the comparison group showed stronger reading and spelling abilities, suggesting a different relationship between phoneme awareness and reading and spelling in children with SPPI.

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