SRCD 2019 Biennial Conference
March 21-23, 2019
Title: Child Characteristics which can Predict Dyslexia in the Context of an Effective Intervention (Poster)
Session: Developmental Disabilities
Authors: Dandan Yang, Carol Connor
Abstract: Early intervention at primary grades can accelerate reading growth differentially compared to intervention at older grades, especially for children who are at risk for reading disability (Vellutino et al., 1996; Vellutino, Scanlon, & Tanzman, 1998). Thus, knowing how to use child characteristics - as early as the beginning of first grade - to effectively identify children with risk for dyslexia in later grades become critical in the screening process, as well as in developing individualized intervention to at-risk students at early stages. The present study explores what child characteristics in first grade can predict severe reading difficulties at the end of second grade. Using secondary data from a randomized control trial examining the effect of Assessment to instruction (A2i) intervention (Connor, et al., 2013), we conducted Hierarchal Lineal Modeling (HLM) Bernoulli analysis to explore the potential predictors and interaction effects with A2i.
A2i is a teacher professional support technology that provides recommendations for individualized literacy instruction, based on students’ assessment scores and the results from its dynamic forecasting intervention algorithms. In this longitudinal study, 28 teachers and their students from five public elementary schools in Florida were randomly assigned into the A2i treatment group or a mathematics control group. Using dichotomous variable of grade 2 spring reading scores below or above 86 (one standard deviation below the mean), 5% of the 373 students were identified as having severe reading difficulties. HLM analysis results indicated that some child characteristics in first grade can predict reading difficulties at the end of second grade. In general, students with weaker vocabulary skills, weaker executive functioning skills, lower gains during first grade and greater gaps between oral vocabulary and printed decoding skills tend to be more likely to have reading difficulties later. More importantly, interaction effect has been found that, overall, students who received A2i intervention tend to have a lower probability of having reading difficulties later. More specifically, for students with lower vocabulary skills, bigger differences between oral vocabulary and printed decoding skills tend to be less likely to be risk for literacy failure if they are in A2i classrooms. Even though no significant main effect has been found for phonological awareness as a predictor for dyslexia, interaction effect was found that students with weaker phonological awareness skills are less likely to have reading difficulties if they receive A2i intervention.
These findings are important in helping educators and teachers to early identify students who will be at risk for reading difficulties. The interaction effects also provided evidence on how effective interventions can lower the probability of being risk for dyslexia. Important implications are also provided on how to refine the current intervention to be more personalized for at-risk students.