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Many roads to success: How high functioning adults with phonological difficulties achieve word reading success

  • Author / Creator
    Lai, Sandy SY
  • This dissertation examines the word reading skills of high-functioning adults with reading difficulties (HFRDs) in a sample of 145 college HFRDs who reported childhood or current reading difficulties and 70 controls. In the first part of this three-part study, the HFRDs were further categorized into compensated HFRDs, persistent HFRDs, and late-emerging HFRDs. The compensated HFRDs (n = 26) were students who reported childhood reading difficulties but no current reading difficulties. The persistent HFRDs (n = 104) were students who reported both childhood and current reading difficulties. The late-emerging HFRDs (n = 15) were students who reported no childhood reading difficulties but who did report current reading difficulties. The three HFRD subgroups were compared to each other and to the controls to determine whether residual reading weaknesses exist. Results showed that the persistent HFRDs displayed continuing weaknesses in all reading skills examined when compared to the controls, except in sublexical orthographic processing skills and lexical access speed. The compensated HFRDs displayed persisting difficulties relative to the controls in word reading accuracy, decoding accuracy and speed, phonological awareness, rapid digit naming, word-level orthographic processing accuracy, and print exposure. When compared to the persistent HFRDs, the compensated HFRDs showed relative strengths in word reading efficiency and decoding efficiency. Finally, the late-emerging HFRDs resembled the compensated HFRDs in performance, except for a relative strength in decoding speed. They outperformed the persistent HFRDs in word reading accuracy and efficiency, irregular word reading speed, decoding speed, word-level orthographic processing accuracy, and orthographic processing speed. However, when compared to the controls, they showed relative difficulties in decoding accuracy, spelling accuracy, and print exposure. In the second part of the study, all HFRDs were reclassified into groups based on the discrepancy between their word reading and phonological decoding skills. When examining accuracy dissociations (AD), the AD(+) group (n = 12) consisted of HFRDs whose standardized word reading accuracy skills were ≥ 1 SD above their standardized decoding accuracy skills, the AD(0) group (n = 67) consisted of HFRDs whose standardized word reading accuracy skills were within 0.5 SD of their standardized decoding accuracy skills, and the AD(-) group (n = 12) consisted of HFRDs whose standardized word reading accuracy skills were ≥ 1 SD below their standardized decoding accuracy skills. Results revealed that the AD(+) group also had significantly better vocabulary, spelling accuracy, and print exposure skills than the AD(-) group. When examining efficiency dissociations (ED), the ED(+) group (n = 24) consisted of HFRDs whose standardized word reading efficiency skills were ≥ 1 SD above their standardized decoding efficiency skills, the ED(0) group (n = 60) consisted of HFRDs whose standardized word reading efficiency skills were within 0.5 SD of their standardized decoding efficiency skills, and the ED(-) group (n = 17) consisted of HFRDs whose standardized word reading efficiency skills were ≥ 1 SD below their standardized decoding efficiency skills. Results indicated that the ED(+) group was significantly more efficient at morphological parsing than the ED(-) group, and significantly faster at choosing correct spelling and naming objects than the ED(0) group. In contrast, the ED(+) group was less accurate in decoding than both the ED(-) and ED(0) groups. In the third part of the study, the individual profiles of the HFRDs in the AD(+) and ED(+) groups were detailed in relation to the controls. Many of these surprisingly good word readers displayed print exposure levels comparable to the controls or better. Many ED(+) individuals also showed naming speed skills comparable to the control group. Some individuals in both the AD(+) and ED(+) groups also exhibited the double deficit profile of phonological awareness and naming speed deficits, but with varying word reading skills rather than the expected poor reading prognosis

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2015-11
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3930P33R
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Doctoral
  • Department
    • Department of Educational Psychology
  • Specialization
    • Psychological Studies in Education
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Parrila, Rauno (Educational Psychology)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Abbott, Marilyn, (Educational Psychology)
    • McQuarrie, Lynn (Educational Psychology)
    • Georgiou, George, (Educational Psychology)
    • Everatt, John (External examiner)