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Dawn K DeCarlo, Elizabeth L Forte, Gerald McGwin, Clancy Blair; Relationship between reading ability and executive function in young children with vision impairment. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(9):2561.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Children with vision impairment (VI) have been reported to lag behind their sighted peers with respect to reading. We performed a prospective, observational, clinical study of children with VI to determine characteristics that are associated with reading ability.
35 children in kindergarten or 1rst grade with VI from organic causes who did not have other comorbid conditions were examined including vision tests, Woodcock Johnson III (WJ) subtests 1 (letter-word identification),2 (reading fluency),9 (reading comprehension) & 13 (word attack), and tests of executive function (EF) using the EF Touch (inhibitory control, attention shifting, working memory, visual spatial working memory). Associations with reading (WJ) were determined using ANOVA and Spearman rank correlations. Significance was set at a=0.01.
The children were predominantly male (57%) and white (60%); 17 were in kindergarten and 18 in 1rst grade. Mean distance binocular VA was 0.8 logMAR (range 0.1-1.5). Mean standard scores (± SD) on the subtests were: WJ1) 105 ± 13 (n = 35); WJ2) 109 ± 17 (n = 8); WJ9) 89 ± 16 (n=35); WJ13) 113 ± 13 (n = 32). For both WJ and EF, some subtests did not include all participants as only those passing the pre-test were tested. Scores were statistically significantly higher in this cohort than the WJ normative sample for subtests 1, 9 and 13 (p<0.01). Most children (77%) were unable to complete subtest 2 (reading fluency) so it was not compared with EF. Scores on the WJ subtests were not significantly correlated with binocular distance acuity for any subtests. Scores on the EF tests were also not correlated with binocular distance acuity. Scores on the inhibitory control subtests were not associated with WJ1 or WJ13 subtests, but there was an association with WJ9 (r=.43, p=.01). Working memory tests were associated only with WJ1 (r=.45, p=.007). The strongest associations were for visual spatial working memory: WJ1 (r=.66, p=.0002); WJ9 (r=.58, p=.001); WJ13 (r=.67, p=.003), however there were 8 children unable to complete this test.
Reading ability varied within this cohort of young children with VI, however, reading ability was not significantly associated with visual acuity. Of the EF tasks studied, the strongest correlations with reading were with visual spatial memory.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.
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