Language and literacy acquisition in children with developmental and learning disabilities

Abstract: This thesis describes and explores some of the learning factors involved for language and literacy acquisition for different groups of children with learning disabilities. The theoretical framework is based upon the Rare Event Learning Model that tries to specify all the transactional factors involved (cognitive, emotional and interactional) when learning takes place. Four quasi-experimental studies were conducted aimed at investigating the children’s literacy and language development when working with a specifically developed multimedia and teacher strategy. We expected an increase of the children’s reading gain and an increase of their motivational and communicational behavior as an effect of the treatment. The language development are reported at three levels; as: a) group observations, b) within group comparisons, c) individual results. The overall results indicate that a majority of the children increased their rates of reading gain as an effect of the treatment, even if large individual variations could be observed. The observed gains could not be related to length and intensity of training. The positive findings in paper 1 could be related to the children’s language level, but not in any other study. When analyzing the communication patterns an increase of verbal expressions and enjoyment was observed from the start to the end of training. Minor differences were found when comparing the handicap groups. However, when analyzing the interaction related to language level, differences were found both in children´s and teachers behaviors.

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