Online video training for teachers to improve reading skills in children using augmentative and alternative communication: the “Reading for all” trial
Reading skills provides access to information, social interaction, education, and employment. For pupils with intellectual disabilities, reading skills are particularly important in relation to language development, cognitive development, and more independent communication, and they can make greater use of text-based communication aids.
There is a lack of evidence-based reading programmes adapted to this group of pupils that are often met with low expectations and limited competence. This group of pupils is often excluded from phonological reading instruction and the focus has been on the training of high-frequency words and vocabulary.
The project has two objectives:
a) RCT trial: measure the effect of video education for teachers teaching pupils with intellectual disabilities who use ASK through the reading material "Reading for all". 80 pupils with teachers will participate, with 40 teachers receiving video and in-person instruction, and 40 teachers receiving only in-person instruction.
b) Validate tests in phonological awareness and decoding. These tests will be tested on 900 typically developing children (1st and 2nd graders) and 100 children with intellectual disabilities who use ASK.
The reading material to be used, Reading for All, is based on research from the reading program Accessible Literacy Learning by Janice Light and David McNauhgton. The reading intervention will work systematically with various components of phonological awareness and decoding. The assignments are adapted to students who use ASK and no verbal language is required.
The research project is affiliated with Østfold University College's PhD programme and the research group DeveLeP. The project with results will be presented in several scientific articles.
Introduction: children with autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, and other disabilities may experience challenges in various areas of development, including communication skills, speech, language, cognitive and conceptual development, literacy, social participation, and access to education. Norway has sparse data on children who use AAC and their reading skills. National data on this estimates between 0.4 and 1.2 % of children, and no gold standard intervention is available to treat such a vulnerable population. Moreover, Norway lacks tools to assess those children regarding essential reading skills such as phonological awareness and decoding. Almost 50% of instruments available for reading assessment do report validation studies.
The first objective is to test, via a superiority randomized controlled trial, the effectiveness of an online video training called Lesing for alle (Reading for all). We compare in-person + video training to video training only on word-level reading skills of children who use AAC. 80 children will be randomly allocated to one of the interventions. Lesing for alle is based on the research and methodology developed by researchers Janice Light and David McNaughton of Penn State University, which was designed to help educational personnel on teaching to read essential words and sentences by providing explicit, systematic instruction in the alphabetic principle and phonics. The second objective is to provide validity evidence via items response theory for a battery for assessing word-level skills assessing phonological awareness (including sound blending and phoneme segmentation, and letter-sound correspondence), recognition of sight words, and decoding for both ACC and non-ACC children. For the validation procedure, we will recruit 1,000 children (900 neurotypical developmental children and 100 children who use AAC.
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