Relationship Between the Verbal Working Memory System and Subtypes of Reading Disability.
Abstract: Across both research and clinical settings, memory deficits have
been acknowledged as one of the major characteristics associated with developmental
dyslexia. As such, a great number of studies have been conducted over the years to
understand the complex relationships among dyslexia, verbal short-term memory (VSTM), and
the central executive (CE). The results, however, have been mixed, ... read morepotentially because few
studies have differentiated subtypes of dyslexia within the samples. Further, many of the
studies have focused on word-level and connected-text level reading deficits, resulting in
a limited understanding of the relationship between memory and sublexical (or subword)
deficits. Exploring memory in relation to subtypes may help to clarify and extend our
knowledge of how specific sublexical core reading components (in particular, naming speed)
interact with VSTM and CE. In the present study, the double-deficit hypothesis (DDH; Wolf
& Bowers, 1999) was used to classify children with reading disabilities (RD) into
subtypes (N=134, ages 7-9). The four subtypes were: phonological awareness deficits only
(PD; n=33), naming speed deficits only (NSD; n=34), combined deficits (DD; n=39), and a
group of children that do not fall neatly within the DDH framework but who experience
fluency deficits in connected text (unclassified readers, UcRD; n=28). The main purpose of
the study was to assess whether RD subtypes under the DDH have distinct patterns of VSTM
and CE functioning. The results established that children with sublexical deficits (PD,
NSD, and DD) all have weaknesses in their verbal working memory systems. Further, there
were no significant differences in VSTM and CE profiles across the subtypes. The
implications of these findings in terms of the theory, assessment, and intervention of
reading disabilities are discussed.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2012.
Submitted to the Dept. of Child Development.
Advisor: Maryanne Wolf.
Committee: Lynn Meltzer, Todd Rose, and Ranjini Reddy.
Keywords: Developmental psychology, and Educational psychology.read less
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