• Stine Højgaard Kappel
  • Nanna Maria Møller
4. semester, Dansk (cand.mag.), Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
This master thesis deals with a specific learning disability called dyslexia - an impairment estimated to affect 5-15 % of the population in a western European country (Götzsche 2018b: 2). For most people the reading- and spelling process is relatively automatic, but that is not the case for dyslexics. The field have been investigated over the last hundred years, but the search of literature for this thesis highlighted how the research in dyslexia is fairly one-sided.
It is a prevailing view among researchers that the cause of dyslexia is a deficit in the phonological component. Interventions are then focused on how to remedy this impairment – and for doing that the training revolves around the so-called ‘phonological awareness’ (Götzsche 2018c: 1). With this training, the aim is to strengthen the understanding of the relation between letter and sound. This approach seems nonetheless rather unfortunate according to Professor Hans Götzsche.
Therefore, the aim of the thesis is to present some alternative perspectives on the matter. At the start of this semester Götzsche introduced us for some hypotheses that could be interesting to execute in practice. The hypotheses revolve around the idea that dyslexia is caused due to a reduced graphic abstraction ability rather than a reduced phonological awareness. Götzsche himself is planning a larger project regarding this specific subject, and, therefore, this master thesis is a collaboration with Götzsche. The main purpose with the thesis is to investigate the graphic abstraction ability of dyslexic elementary school students.
In the light of the hypotheses this thesis appears as a heuristic and empirical experiment. Thus, the research design of our investigation is inspired by similar empirical experiments, e.g. the research of Kim et al., who examined graph comprehension in college students with developmental dyslexia (Kim et al. 2014: 1609). For answering the hypotheses, we had to compare the dyslexic participants with peers with typical reading skills. 18 elementary school children participated in our experiment: 9 children with dyslexia and 9 children with typical reading skills. Our participants were ranging from 2nd to 9th grade. We tested all participants in visual stimuli, which we had designed for the case. Our five tests consisted of letters, numbers and illustrations in nonfigurative versions. A vital part for answering the hypotheses – and to compare the dyslexics with their matching peers – was to write down the reaction-time for each participant.
With offset in our collected data we found, that dyslexic elementary school students in general had a longer response time to the stimuli compared with their matching peers – even though the difference were minimal. The participants in 6th grade were the only ones, where the control group participant was slower in recognizing the visual stimuli compared to the dyslexic participant. The test, where we tested the participant’s ability to recognize Roman numerals, showed to our surprise the most interesting results. Dyslexic elementary school students were significantly slower at recognizing the numbers and had more errors compared to the control groups. With these findings, it is plausible, that dyslexic children have a reduced graphic abstraction ability compared to children with normal reading skills. But we have to point out, that the field demands further research.
Udgivelsesdato31 maj 2018
Antal sider143
ID: 280126247