Authors: Lott SN, Carney AS, Glezer LS, Friedman RB
Title: Overt use of a tactile/kinaesthetic strategy shifts to covert processing in rehabilitation of letter-by-letter reading
Source: Aphasiology 2010 24(11): 1424-1442
Year: 2010
Research Design: Case Series

Background: Letter-by-letter readers identify each letter of the word they are reading serially in left to right order before recognising the word. When their letter naming is also impaired, letter-by-letter reading is inaccurate and can render even single word reading very poor. Tactile and/or kinaesthetic strategies have been reported to improve reading in these patients, but only under certain conditions or for a limited set of stimuli. Aims: The primary aim of the current study was to determine whether a tactile/kinaesthetic treatment could significantly improve reading specifically under normal reading conditions, i.e., reading untrained words presented in free vision and read without overt use of the strategy. Methods & Procedures: Three chronic letter-by-letter readers participated in a tactile/ kinaesthetic treatment aimed at first improving letter-naming accuracy (phase 1) and then letter-by-letter reading speed (phase 2). In a multiple case series design, accuracy and speed of reading untrained words without overt use of the trained tactile/kinaesthetic strategy was assessed before phase 1, after phase 1, and again after phase 2. Outcomes & Results: All three patients significantly improved both their speed and accuracy in reading untrained words without overt use of the trained tactile/kinaesthetic strategy. All three patients required the additional practice in phase 2 to achieve significant improvement. Treatment did not target sentence-level reading, yet two of the three patients became so adept that they could read entire sentences. Conclusions: This study replicates previous findings on the efficacy of tactile/kinaesthetic treatment for letter-by-letter readers with poor letter naming. It further demonstrates that this treatment can alter cognitive processing such that words never specifically trained can be read in free vision without overtly using the trained strategy. The data suggest that an important element in achieving this level of generalisation is continuing training beyond the point of initial mastery (i.e., accurate letter naming).

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