Browsing by Author "Törmänen, Minna"

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  • Törmänen, Minna (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    The present thesis discusses relevant issues in education: 1) learning disabilities including the role of comorbidity in LDs, and 2) the use of research-based interventions. This thesis consists of a series of four studies (three articles), which deepens the knowledge of the field of special education. Intervention studies (N=242) aimed to examine whether training using a nonverbal auditory-visual matching computer program had a remedial effect in different learning disabilities, such as developmental dyslexia, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Specific Language Impairment (SLI). These studies were conducted in both Finland and Sweden. The intervention’s non-verbal character made an international perspective possible. The results of the intervention studies confirmed, that the auditory-visual matching computer program, called Audilex had positive intervention effects. In Study I of children with developmental dyslexia there were also improvements in reading skills, specifically in reading nonsense words and reading speed. These improvements in tasks, which are thought to rely on phonological processing, suggest that such reading difficulties in dyslexia may stem in part from more basic perceptual difficulties, including those required to manage the visual and auditory components of the decoding task. In Study II the intervention had a positive effect on children with dyslexia; older students with dyslexia and surprisingly, students with ADD also benefited from this intervention. In conclusion, the role of comorbidity was apparent. An intervention effect was evident also in students’ school behavior. Study III showed that children with SLI experience difficulties very similar to those of children with dyslexia in auditory-visual matching. Children with language-based learning disabilities, such as dyslexia and SLI benefited from the auditory-visual matching intervention. Also comorbidity was evident among these children; in addition to formal diagnoses, comorbidity was explored with an assessment inventory, which was developed for this thesis. Interestingly, an overview of the data of this thesis shows positive intervention effects in all studies despite learning disability, language, gender or age. These findings have been described by a concept inter-modal transpose. Self-evidently these issues need further studies. In learning disabilities the aim in the future will also be to identify individuals at risk rather than by deficit; this aim can be achieved by using research-based interventions, intensified support in general education and inclusive special education. Keywords: learning disabilities, developmental dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, specific language impairment, language-based learning disabilities, comorbidity, auditory-visual matching, research-based interventions, inter-modal transpose