Gloria Waters, Boston College
David Caplan, Harvard Medical School
Abstract: Students who have been diagnosed with developmental dyslexia in lower grades frequently struggle with academic subjects in middle and high school. In part, their problems may reflect continued impairments of the ability to process written language. These students may still have difficulties with decoding written words, which could affect processing of morphology, syntax, and propositional and discourse meaning, or they could have independent disorders affecting processing these "higher" levels of language.
We have designed a series of tests that assesses processing of all these level of language: orthographic-phonological conversion, written lexical access, recognition and comprehension of morphological structure, construction of syntactic representations and their use to determine aspects of sentential propositional meaning, and aspects of discourse structure including bridging inferences and aspects of coherence and cohesion. The battery assesses these functions in both the written and auditory modalities (phonemic processing and metalinguistic phonological skills are assessed in the auditory modality rather than orthographic-phonological conversion). The intent is to norm these tasks on samples of middle and high school students and then assess a large number of students in these grades who have histories of dyslexia, with the goals of identifying the levels of processing that are affected in dyslexic students and determining whether any disturbances of higher level language processing are determined by residual deficits in orthographic-to-phonological conversion and written lexical access, through the use of correlational, regression and structural equation modeling.
The poster will present the materials that have been selected to accomplish the goals of the assessment.