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IES Grant

Title: Interactions Between Visual and Auditory Interventions for Reading
Center: NCER Year: 2010
Principal Investigator: Cottrell, Garrison Awardee: University of California, San Diego
Program: Cognition and Student Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (3/1/20102/28/2014) Award Amount: $2,372,289
Type: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R305A100389
Description:

Purpose: Approximately a third of fourth grade students across the nation read at the below basic level and reading problems are even more pervasive for students with dyslexia. Given the large number of students who have reading problems, including dyslexia, interventions to reduce these problems can have substantial benefits on the education system. In this project, the researchers will use a randomized control trial to evaluate two reading interventions for students with dyslexia that target deficiencies in the timing of auditory or visual processing. FastForWord is an intervention which aims to improve auditory processing and timing by enhancing the ability of the brain to accurately perceive the sound structure of words and Path To Reading is an intervention which seeks to change the brain's visual timing by training motion discrimination (i.e. whether grating on a computer screen is moving left or right). The researchers' main interest is to determine whether combining the two programs, which attempt to improve temporal processing in completely separate modalities, into one two-pronged intervention will result in even greater benefit. A secondary purpose is to determine which subsets of students would benefit most from training with FastForWord alone, Path To Reading alone, or a combination of the two.

Project Activities: In each of three years, approximately 200 second graders with dyslexia or other reading problems will be randomly assigned to six different groups: FastForWord only; Path To Reading only; both FastForWord and Path To Reading; the standard curriculum; a visual Orientation Discrimination task which trains a different aspect of students' visual system than Path To Reading; or Path To Reading combined with the Orientation Discrimination task. Participants will be matched across groups. All participants in each cohort will be followed and assessed in each subsequent year until the end of the study. The groups using each treatment intervention program separately will serve as a replication of previous studies with a new population.

Products: The products of this project will be published reports and evidence of whether an individual student participating in both FastForWord and Path To Reading will show larger benefits than an individual participating in only one of the interventions.

Structured Abstract

Setting: Research for this project will be conducted in the public schools of a large urban city in California that includes a wide ethnic distribution and predominantly low socio-economic status students.

Sample: Participants in this project will include students from approximately eight schools in southern California. In each year of the study, a new cohort of approximately 200 second graders will be recruited.

Intervention: The proposed study will test the efficacy of a two-pronged intervention for students with dyslexia by combining existing programs that target deficiencies in the timing of auditory or visual processing. FastForWord is an intervention aimed at improving auditory processing and timing by enhancing the ability of the brain to accurately perceive the sound structure of words and the Path To Reading is an intervention which focuses on changing the brain's visual timing by training motion discrimination.

Research Design and Methods: The primary research method used will be a randomized control trial. In each of three years, approximately 200 second graders who score at the borderline dyslexic level or below on the decoding or encoding portion of the Decoding-Encoding Scale of Dyslexia will be randomly assigned to 6 different groups: FastForWord only; Path To Reading only; both FastForWord and Path To Reading; the standard curriculum; a visual Orientation Discrimination task which trains a different aspect of students' visual system than Path To Reading; or Path To Reading combined with the Orientation Discrimination task. Participants will be matched across groups. Each cohort will be followed until the end of the study, and will be administered standardized reading tests. The groups using each treatment intervention program separately will serve as a replication of previous studies with a new population. Data collected on students in the Year 1 and 2 cohorts will be used to make predictions about which treatment condition is most effective for which types of students.

Control Condition: The researchers will compare FastForWord and/or Path To Reading to three controls—the standard business-as-usual (control), the Orientation Discrimination task which trains a different aspect of students' visual system, and Path To Reading with the Orientation Discrimination task.

Key Measures: The decoding or encoding portion of the Decoding-Encoding Scale of Dyslexia will be used to screen students for participation in the study; only those scoring at or below the line for dyslexia will be invited to participate. Multiple standardized tests of reading fluency and attention will be administered to each student before entry into the project and then at the end of each school year. These tests include: the Gray Oral Reading Test; the Gray Silent Reading Test; the Wide Range Achievement Test word identification and spelling subtests; the Comprehension Test of Phonological Processing elision, blending, and segmentation subtests; and the Test of Word Reading Efficiency. Additionally, a researcher-developed computer-based reading speed assessment will also be administered as part of the reading and cognition battery.

Data Analytic Strategy: Multi-factor multivariate analysis of variance will be used to determine the relative effectiveness of FastForWord, Path To Reading, the combination of the two, or the control conditions at the end of treatment. Analyses will focus on whether FastForWord or Path To Reading improves reading fluency more than the school's standard reading curriculum, and whether these two interventions used together will result in a super-additive effect, a simple additive effect, or a subadditive effect. Data from years 2, 3, and 4 will be used to assess long-term effects of the interventions. In addition, analyses of the cohort 1 and 2 data will be used in regression analyses to identify the characteristics of those students most likely to benefit from a particular form of treatment.

Publications

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Lawton, T. (2011). Improving Magnocellular Function in the Dorsal Stream Remediates Reading Deficits. Optometry & Vision Development, 42(3): 142–154.

Lawton, T. (2011). Improving Magnocellular Function In The Dorsal Stream Remediates Reading Deficits. Optometry and Vision Development, 42(3): 142–154.

Lawton, T. (2016). Improving Dorsal Stream Function in Dyslexics by Training Figure/Ground Motion Discrimination Improves Attention, Reading Fluency, and Working Memory. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10.


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