Browsing by Subject "dyslexia"

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  • Thiede, A.; Glerean, E.; Kujala, T.; Parkkonen, L. (2020)
    Listening to speech elicits brain activity time-locked to the speech sounds. This so-called neural entrainment to speech was found to be atypical in dyslexia, a reading impairment associated with neural speech processing deficits. We hypothesized that the brain responses of dyslexic vs. normal readers to real-life speech would be different, and thus the strength of inter-subject correlation (ISC) would differ from that of typical readers and be reflected in reading-related measures. We recorded magnetoencephalograms (MEG) of 23 dyslexic and 21 typically-reading adults during listening to ∼10 min of natural Finnish speech consisting of excerpts from radio news, a podcast, a self-recorded audiobook chapter and small talk. The amplitude envelopes of band-pass-filtered MEG source signals were correlated between subjects in a cortically-constrained source space in six frequency bands. The resulting ISCs of dyslexic and typical readers were compared with a permutation-based t-test. Neuropsychological measures of phonological processing, technical reading, and working memory were correlated with the ISCs utilizing the Mantel test. During listening to speech, ISCs were mainly reduced in dyslexic compared to typical readers in delta (0.5–4 Hz) and high gamma (55–90 Hz) frequency bands. In the theta (4−8 Hz), beta (12–25 Hz), and low gamma (25−45 Hz) bands, dyslexics had enhanced ISC to speech compared to controls. Furthermore, we found that ISCs across both groups were associated with phonological processing, technical reading, and working memory. The atypical ISC to natural speech in dyslexics supports the temporal sampling deficit theory of dyslexia. It also suggests over-synchronization to phoneme-rate information in speech, which could indicate more effort-demanding sampling of phonemes from speech in dyslexia. These irregularities in parsing speech are likely some of the complex neural factors contributing to dyslexia. The associations between neural coupling and reading-related skills further support this notion.
  • Virtala, Paula Maarit; Partanen, Eino Juhani (2018)
    Music and musical activities are often a natural part of parenting. As accumulating evidence shows, music can promote auditory and language development in infancy and early childhood. It may even help to support auditory and language skills in infants whose development is compromised by heritable conditions, like the reading deficit dyslexia, or by environmental factors, such as premature birth. For example, infants born to dyslexic parents can have atypical brain responses to speech sounds and subsequent challenges in language development. Children born very preterm, in turn, have an increased likelihood of sensory, cognitive, and motor deficits. To ameliorate these deficits, we have developed early interventions focusing on music. Preliminary results of our ongoing longitudinal studies suggest that music making and parental singing promote infants' early language development and auditory neural processing. Together with previous findings in the field, the present studies highlight the role of active, social music making in supporting auditory and language development in at-risk children and infants. Once completed, the studies will illuminate both risk and protective factors in development and offer a comprehensive model of understanding the promises of music activities in promoting positive developmental outcomes during the first years of life.
  • Valtonen, Katja (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Lukivaikeus on verrattain yleinen oppimisvaikeus, johon jokainen opettaja luultavasti törmää uransa aikana. Koska lukivaikeuden taustalla on kielitietoisuuteen ja erityisesti äännetietoisuuteen liittyviä ongelmia, se aiheuttaa erityisiä hankaluuksia lukemisen ja kirjoittamisen lisäksi myös vieraiden kielten oppimisessa. Näin ollen olisi tärkeää, että vieraiden kielten opettajat ymmärtäisivät lukivaikeuden taustoja sekä eriyttämiskeinoja, jotka hyödyttävät erityisesti lukivaikeudesta kärsiviä vieraiden kielten oppijoita. Siksi tämän tutkimuksen tarkoituksena oli kartoittaa suomalaisten englanninopettajien kokemuksia lukivaikeuteen liittyen. Tutkimuksen tavoitteena oli selvittää, (1) mitä englanninopettajat tietävät lukivaikeudesta ja mistä he ovat tietonsa saaneet, (2) millaisia asenteita heillä on lukivaikeudesta kärsiviä oppilaita ja opiskelijoita kohtaan, (3) millaisina he näkevät lukivaikeuden vaikutukset englannin oppimiseen ja (4) miten he ovat ottaneet lukivaikeuden huomioon opetuksessaan. Kysymyksiin etsittiin vastausta kyselytutkimuksen keinoin. Kyselyä jaettiin sosiaalisessa mediassa ja sen täyttäminen tapahtui internetissä. Kaikki osallistujat (n = 72) olivat muodollisesti päteviä opettajia ja opettivat englantia suomenkielisissä alakouluissa, yläkouluissa, lukioissa ja/tai ammattikouluissa. Kyselyllä kerätty aineisto sisältää sekä määrällisiä että laadullisia tietoja. Määrällinen aineisto analysoitiin deskriptiivisin tilastollisin menetelmin ja laadullinen aineisto sisällönanalyysin keinoin. Tutkimukseen osallistuneilla opettajilla oli verrattain hyvä tietämys lukivaikeudesta, vaikkakaan he eivät kokeneet omaavansa tarvittavaa tietotaitoa lukivaikeudesta kärsivien oppijoiden tukemiseen. Lukivaikeutta ei joko ollut käsitelty ollenkaan tai ei riittävästi osallistujien opettajaopinnoissa. Sen sijaan osallistujat olivat saaneet tietonsa lukivaikeudesta muista lähteistä, kuten erityisopettajalta tai kirjallisuudesta oman aktiivisuutensa turvin. Osallistujien asenne lukivaikeutta ja siitä kärsiviä oppijoita kohtaan oli laajasti ottaen positiivinen. Opettajan näkökulmasta lukivaikeus vaikeuttaa englannin oppimista sanaston, kieliopin, kirjoittamisen, lukemisen, kuuntelun, ääntämisen ja äänne-erittelyn osalta. Oppijoilla saattaa myös olla erilaisia negatiivisia tunteita itseään, kieliä tai oppimista kohtaan. Lisäksi lukivaikeudesta kärsivät tarvitsevat enemmän aikaa tehtävien tekemiseen kuin luokkatoverinsa. Lähes kaikki osallistujat ovat ottaneet lukivaikeuden huomioon opetuksessaan esimerkiksi eriyttämällä arviointia, materiaaleja ja opetustaan. Osallistujille tutuimpia eriyttämisen keinoja olivat arvioinnin eriyttämiseen liittyvät keinot sekä sellaiset keinot, joita yleisesti käytetään kaikkien oppimisvaikeuksien huomioinnissa ja kaikkien oppiaineiden opetuksessa. Osallistujille vähemmän tuttuja olivat opetuksen eriyttämiseen liittyvät keinot, joita suositellaan nimenomaan lukivaikeudesta kärsiville vieraiden kielten oppijoille. Tutkielmassa pohditaan, miten hyvin opettajakoulutus valmistaa opettajia käytännön työhön, ja kritisoidaan sitä lähtökohtaa, että lukivaikeudesta kärsiviä kielten oppijoita tuetaan kouluissa ensisijaisesti arvioinnin keinoin oppimisen edesauttamisen sijaan.
  • Levänen, Tuuli (Helsingfors universitet, 2015)
    Introduction. Previous studies suggest that dyslexic pupils have inordinate difficulties learning foreign languages at school. The present study examined the mismatch negativity (MMN) brain responses elicited by foreign language words and nonwords in dyslexic children compared to typically reading controls. MMN reflects early processing stages in auditory cortex. The aim of this study was to determine whether dyslexic pupils have impaired MMNs for foreign language words or speech stimuli in general, and whether word familiarity has a different effect on the two groups. In addition, the correlations between MMN differences and reading and cognitive skills were analysed. Methods. Participant groups consisted of 14 dyslexic school children, and 14 typically reading controls. Before brain recordings, literacy skills and cognitive functioning were tested. Brain responses to English words (she, shy) and nonwords (shoy), and Finnish words (sai, soi) and nonwords (sii) were measured with electroencephalography (EEG). Results and conclusions. The results suggested that compared to controls, dyslexic children's MMN responses to foreign language were impaired for a familiar word she, but only. However, the groups did not differ in processing speech-sounds in general. In addition, weak MMN responses to the foreign word were associated with poorer reading skills and slower rapid naming in mother language. The results of this study suggest that the establishment, access and activation of memory representations for foreign words is impaired in dyslexia. In addition, the finding that poor performance in native language reading is correlated with the strength of brain responses to foreign language suggests that there are common factors underlying literacy skills and foreign language learning.
  • Gallen, Anastasia (Helsingin yliopisto, 2021)
    Objectives. Formal musical training has shown promising effects on auditory discrimination in children, but it is not within reach of every family as it is time-consuming and costly. This study aimed to determine whether at-home musical intervention and activities enhance neural auditory speech sound discrimination accuracy in children with or without a familial dyslexia risk. Methods. A follow-up sample of 113 children with or without risk of dyslexia participated. During the first six months of infancy, 57 of the children with a familial risk participated in at-home music listening intervention, including vocal or instrumental music. Musical activities at home were assessed with a questionnaire at 24 months of age. Speech sound discrimination accuracy was assessed at 28 months, with change-elicited responses derived from EEG. Linear mixed-effects (LME) models were applied to study the association between neural responses and musical enrichment. Results. The LME models showed that the association between speech sound discrimination accuracy and musical activities differed between the groups. In post-hoc comparisons, this association differed between the vocal intervention group and the other risk groups. The group without the familial risk did not differ from the risk groups. Conclusions. The observed bidirectional associations of musical activities and vocal listening intervention with change-related cortical processing potentially reflect two separate mechanisms of neural maturation and compensatory activation. Hence, vocal intervention and musical activities might promote specific aspects of auditory neural development. Understanding these associations is relevant in both guiding future research and in preventing language disorders.
  • Palo-oja, Peter (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Developmental dyslexia (DD) affects the accuracy and the fluency of reading without influencing the intelligence of an individual. Problems in phonological awareness (PA), the ability to manipulate the sound structure of words, has been proposed to be the key predictor of DD across languages. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) has been used to investigate white matter (WM) structure in DD. The DTI research has concentrated mainly on fractional anisotropy (FA) values, that measure the integrity of WM, and volume of the WM tracts, but also on lateralization differences. Structural alterations have been reported in multiple WM tracts, but left arcuate fasciculus (AF) have most consistently been associated with problems in phonological processing. Also, individuals with DD have been reported to have less prominent leftward lateralization in AF, and inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFOF) compared to non-DD individuals. The participants consisted of 23 individuals with confirmed DD and 21 without DD. In this thesis the reading-related WM tracts were evaluated using deterministic tractography, and the goal was to 1) compare DD and non-DD participants in the FA and volume in reading circuitry, 2) study the associations between reading skills and FA and volume of the WM tracts, and 3) study the lateralization differences in FA and volume. The results of this thesis did not support the current view of the neuroanatomy of DD. Although groups did not differ in FA or in volume of the reading related WM tracts, the groups differed in the lateralization of the WM tracts. Both DD and non-DD participants manifested a rightward lateralization of WM volume in the AF, opposing the earlier findings. Furthermore, DD participants had a unique rightward lateralization of volume in uncinate fasciculus. Subthreshold results in correlations between reading skills and DTI indices also hint toward the heterogeneity found in the DTI research of DD, and do not confirm the role of the AF as the neural correlate of the phonological processing. It seems that no single abnormality in WM structure is responsible of DD. Rather, it seems that DD compiles a vast spectrum of symptoms, with possibly multiple trajectories, and individual compensatory mechanisms in adult samples.
  • Leppänen, Katri (Helsingfors universitet, 2016)
    The importance of reading and writing skills in everyday life has increased continuously. Previous research has also shown that reading skills are associated with success in other school subjects. Three-tier model introduced in 2011 focuses on early intervention, identification and support. The main purpose of this study was to gather information about teacher's supporting methods at first school year. How they work with dyslectic students and struggling readers. What is the relevance of three-tier model and how three-tier model affects the support services. Attention is paid to evaluation, strategies, methods, tools and follow-up measures. The aim is to highlight concrete examples. The study was conducted by interviewing four special teachers. Teachers work in primary schools and teaching to read is a big part of their work. Data has been recorded and transcribed. Analysis was based on transcribed data and research questions. The study showed that all respondents evaluate student's basic reading skills soon after the start of school. Support is offered to those who need it the most. There were school-specific differences in evaluation methods, arrangements and group formation. All four teachers accomplished small-group teaching and part-time special education. Three teachers made flexible groupings. None of the respondents carried out individualized instruction. One respondent carried out co-teaching approach. Teachers used well known and research based tools and materials. They also made materials by their selves. Teachers were aware the important aspects of learning to read. They paid attention to phonological awareness, syllable awareness, letter knowledge and working memory. All four teachers made evaluation during the year. However the study reveals that 1-graders are rarely sent to psychological tests or moved to tier 2 even if their reading skills don't proceed.
  • Laasonen, Marja; Lahti-Nuuttila, Pekka; Leppämäki, Sami; Tani, Pekka; Wikgren, Jan; Harno, Hanna; Oksanen-Hennah, Henna; Pothos, Emmanuel; Cleeremans, Axel; Dye, Matthew W. G.; Cousineau, Denis; Hokkanen, Laura (2020)
    Two themes have puzzled the research on developmental and learning disorders for decades. First, some of the risk and protective factors behind developmental challenges are suggested to be shared and some are suggested to be specific for a given condition. Second, language-based learning difficulties like dyslexia are suggested to result from or correlate with non-linguistic aspects of information processing as well. In the current study, we investigated how adults with developmental dyslexia or ADHD as well as healthy controls cluster across various dimensions designed to tap the prominent non-linguistic theories of dyslexia. Participants were 18-55-year-old adults with dyslexia (n= 36), ADHD (n= 22), and controls (n= 35). Non-linguistic theories investigated with experimental designs included temporal processing impairment, abnormal cerebellar functioning, procedural learning difficulties, as well as visual processing and attention deficits. Latent profile analysis (LPA) was used to investigate the emerging groups and patterns of results across these experimental designs. LPA suggested three groups: (1) a large group with average performance in the experimental designs, (2) participants predominantly from the clinical groups but with enhanced conditioning learning, and (3) participants predominantly from the dyslexia group with temporal processing as well as visual processing and attention deficits. Despite the presence of these distinct patterns, participants did not cluster very well based on their original status, nor did the LPA groups differ in their dyslexia or ADHD-related neuropsychological profiles. Remarkably, the LPA groups did differ in their intelligence. These results highlight the continuous and overlapping nature of the observed difficulties and support the multiple deficit model of developmental disorders, which suggests shared risk factors for developmental challenges. It also appears that some of the risk factors suggested by the prominent non-linguistic theories of dyslexia relate to the general level of functioning in tests of intelligence.
  • Joensuu, Milka (Helsingfors universitet, 2011)
    Goals. Immigrant pupils are over-represented in special education. Linguistic difficulties are the most pivotal reasons for social exclusion of immigrant pupils during their school career. Addedly reading, writing, and language development disorders are the most common reasons for both part-time and extensive special education. I studied class teachers' perceptions of the typical linguistic difficulties of pupils who speak Finnish as their second language and of those who have dyslexia, because I suspect that telling the difference between linguistic competency in progress and the symptoms of dyslexia isn't easy. I look for overlappings in the perceptions of linguistic difficulties, their causes and their support measures, which would reveal the challenges in recognizing linguistic difficulties, which in turn might partly explain why immigrant pupils are over-represented in special education. Methods. This study was carried out as structured individual interviews with nine class teachers from the Helsinki Metropolitan Area. To increase reliability, complementary information was gathered about the same phenomenon with a questionnaire that each interviewee filled out at the end of the interview. It was required that the interviewees have experience of teaching both dyslexic pupils and pupils who speak Finnish as a second language. The material analysis was mainly deductive, but the material that wasn't in line with the theoretical frame of reference was analyzed inductively. Results and conclusions. There were overlappings in the class teachers' perceptions of the linguistic difficulties, support measures fitting them and, based on the questionnaire results, also of the causes of these difficulties. Additionally all the interviewees said it to be difficult to recognize dyslexia in a pupil who speaks Finnish as a second language. I came to the conclusion that distinguishing different linguistic difficulties from one another is a challenge to which class teachers don't always feel competent to rise, which is why they consider the assistance of special teachers and other professionals beneficial.