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See detailDevelopment of a test battery to diagnose specific learning disorder in reading in a multilingual education context
Romanovska, Linda UL; Ugen, Sonja UL; Pit-Ten Cate, Ineke UL

Scientific Conference (2022, November 10)

Providing timely and adequate support to children experiencing difficulties in reading and writing is key to minimize the impact on children’s academic achievements, social and emotional well-being ... [more ▼]

Providing timely and adequate support to children experiencing difficulties in reading and writing is key to minimize the impact on children’s academic achievements, social and emotional well-being, particularly for children with specific learning disorders. However, the diagnostic process is especially challenging in Luxembourg’s multilingual educational system with changing instruction languages (Luxembourgish, German, French) and multilingual population. The chosen language of the diagnostic tool is usually identical to the main language of instruction at school, which at time of diagnosis (typically grade 3) is German. This may especially affect the diagnosis of children who do not speak German or Luxembourgish at home as data from the Luxembourgish national school monitoring program reveals significant differences in German reading comprehension in grade 3 depending on the language spoken at home (Hoffmann et al., 2018; Martini et al., 2021). Furthermore, the diagnostic tools currently employed in Luxembourg are developed in countries with primarily one language of instruction, challenging the validity of the diagnostic process in a multilingual population (Ugen et al., 2021). The aim of the current project is to develop a diagnostic tool adapted to the Luxembourgish educational curriculum, that takes children’s potential proficiency differences in the test language into account in the instructions, tasks and resulting norms. This way, over-diagnosis of reading and writing disorders in children who do not speak the main language(s) of instruction at home and underdiagnosis of children who do, can be avoided. The developed test battery assesses children’s performance in key domains relevant for reading and writing comprising phonological skills, (non)word and text reading (fluency and accuracy), reading comprehension, writing, and vocabulary. We will present the pre-test results of 9 sub-tests completed by 214 children, providing the first insights into the test development and validation process.   References Hoffmann, D., Hornung, C., Gamo, S., Esch, P., Keller, U., & Fischbach, A. (2018). Schulische Kompetenzen von Erstklässlern und ihre Entwicklung nach zwei Jahren. In T. Lentz, I. Baumann, & A. Küpper (Eds.), Nationaler Bildungsbericht (pp. 84–96). University of Luxembourg & SCRIPT. Martini, S., Schiltz, C., Fischbach, A., & Ugen, S. (2021). Identifying Math and Reading Difficulties of multilingual children: Effects of different cut-offs and reference group. In M. Herzog, A. Fritz-Stratmann, & E. Gürsoy (Eds.), Diversity Dimensions in Mathematics and Language Learning (pp. 200–228). De Gruyter Mouton. Ugen, S., Schiltz, C., Fischbach, A., & Pit-ten Cate, I. M. (2021). Einleitung: Lernstörungen im multilingualen Kontext – Eine Herausforderung. In Ugen, S., Schiltz, C., Fischbach, A., & Pit-ten Cate, I. M. (Eds.), Lernstörungen im multilingualen Kontext. Diagnose und Hilfestellungen (pp3-7). Luxembourg: Melusina Press. [less ▲]

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See detailDisleksija no neirozinātņu skatpunkta
Romanovska, Linda UL

Conference given outside the academic context (2022)

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See detailLongitudinal changes in cortical responses to letter-speech sound stimuli in 8 – 11 year-old children
Romanovska, Linda UL; Janssen, Roef; Bonte, Milene

in npj Science of Learning (2022)

While children are able to name letters fairly quickly, the automatisation of letter-speech sound mappings continues over the first years of reading development. In the current longitudinal fMRI study, we ... [more ▼]

While children are able to name letters fairly quickly, the automatisation of letter-speech sound mappings continues over the first years of reading development. In the current longitudinal fMRI study, we explored developmental changes in cortical responses to letters and speech sounds across 3 yearly measurements in a sample of 18 8–11 year old children. We employed a text-based recalibration paradigm in which combined exposure to text and ambiguous speech sounds shifts participants’ later perception of the ambiguous sounds towards the text. Our results showed that activity of the left superior temporal and lateral inferior precentral gyri followed a non-linear developmental pattern across the measurement sessions. This pattern is reminiscent of previously reported inverted-u-shape developmental trajectories in children’s visual cortical responses to text. Our findings suggest that the processing of letters and speech sounds involves non-linear changes in the brain’s spoken language network possibly related to progressive automatisation of reading skills. [less ▲]

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See detailHow Learning to Read Changes the Listening Brain
Romanovska, Linda UL; Bonte, Milene

in Frontiers in Psychology (2021), 12

Reading acquisition reorganizes existing brain networks for speech and visual processing to form novel audio-visual language representations. This requires substantial cortical plasticity that is ... [more ▼]

Reading acquisition reorganizes existing brain networks for speech and visual processing to form novel audio-visual language representations. This requires substantial cortical plasticity that is reflected in changes in brain activation and functional as well as structural connectivity between brain areas. The extent to which a child’s brain can accommodate these changes may underlie the high variability in reading outcome in both typical and dyslexic readers. In this review, we focus on reading-induced functional changes of the dorsal speech network in particular and discuss how its reciprocal interactions with the ventral reading network contributes to reading outcome. We discuss how the dynamic and intertwined development of both reading networks may be best captured by approaching reading from a skill learning perspective, using audio-visual learning paradigms and longitudinal designs to follow neuro-behavioral changes while children’s reading skills unfold. [less ▲]

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See detailCortical responses to letters and ambiguous speech vary with reading skills in dyslexic and typically reading children
Romanovska, Linda UL; Janssen, Roef; Bonte, Milene

in NeuroImage: Clinical (2021), 30

One of the proposed issues underlying reading difficulties in dyslexia is insufficiently automatized letter-speech sound associations. In the current fMRI experiment, we employ text-based recalibration to ... [more ▼]

One of the proposed issues underlying reading difficulties in dyslexia is insufficiently automatized letter-speech sound associations. In the current fMRI experiment, we employ text-based recalibration to investigate letter- speech sound mappings in 8–10 year-old children with and without dyslexia. Here an ambiguous speech sound /a?a/ midway between /aba/ and /ada/ is combined with disambiguating “aba” or “ada” text causing a perceptual shift of the ambiguous /a?a/ sound towards the text (recalibration). This perceptual shift has been found to be reduced in adults but not in children with dyslexia compared to typical readers. Our fMRI results show significantly reduced activation in the left fusiform in dyslexic compared to typical readers, despite comparable behavioural performance. Furthermore, enhanced audio-visual activation within this region was linked to better reading and phonological skills. In contrast, higher activation in bilateral superior temporal cortex was associated with lower letter-speech sound identification fluency. These findings reflect individual differences during the early stages of reading development with reduced recruitment of the left fusiform in dyslexic readers together with an increased involvement of the superior temporal cortex in children with less automatized letter-speech sound associations. [less ▲]

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See detailReading-induced shifts in speech perception in dyslexic and typically reading children
Romanovska, Linda UL; Janssen, Roef; Bonte, Milene

in Frontiers in Psychology (2019), 221(10),

One of the proposed mechanisms underlying reading difficulties observed indevelopmental dyslexia is impaired mapping of visual to auditory speechrepresentations. We investigate these mappings in 20 ... [more ▼]

One of the proposed mechanisms underlying reading difficulties observed indevelopmental dyslexia is impaired mapping of visual to auditory speechrepresentations. We investigate these mappings in 20 typically reading and 20 childrenwith dyslexia aged 8–10 years using text-based recalibration. In this paradigm, thepairing of visual text and ambiguous speech sounds shifts (recalibrates) the participant’sperception of the ambiguous speech in subsequent auditory-only post-test trials.Recent research in adults demonstrated this text-induced perceptual shift in typical,but not in dyslexic readers. Our current results instead show significant text-inducedrecalibration in both typically reading children and children with dyslexia. The strengthof this effect was significantly linked to the strength of perceptual adaptation effects inchildren with dyslexia but not typically reading children. Furthermore, additional analysesin a sample of typically reading children of various reading levels revealed a significant linkbetween recalibration and phoneme categorization. Taken together, our study highlightsthe importance of considering dynamic developmental changes in reading, letter-speechsound coupling and speech perception when investigating group differences betweentypical and dyslexic readers. [less ▲]

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