Self-concepts and psychological health among children and adolescents with reading disabilities and the influence of assistive technology
Abstract: This thesis includes three empirical studies that have all aimed to increase the understanding of the interactions and connections between self-concepts, reading impairment, psychological health and Assistive Technology (AT). The use of applications in tablets as assistive technology to facilitate reading and compensate for reading impairment and its impact on the participants’ self-concepts and psychological health as well as on their reading abilities was also of interest.The first study included 67 pupils in school years 4-9. They were assessed by the Beck Youth Inventory (BYI) regarding self-image, anxiety and depression. The results showed no deviance from age-equivalent norm group scores. The second study included 35 pupils in school years 4-6. This study aimed at investigating the transfer effects on decoding and general reading ability after 20 intervention sessions where AT (applications in tablets) were used. Results showed that the decoding ability had progressed at the same rate as that of the norm group. The results also showed that using AT increased motivations to learn, as well as independence and improved family climate. The third study was a randomized control study (RCT) with 137 participants in school years 4, 8 and high school. The results showed that reading impaired children and adolescents to a great extent, but not completely unanimously, did not depict any different self-image or self-esteem than peers with an expected reading ability of the same age. Self-esteem was investigated by the Cultural Free Self Esteem Inventory (CFSEI-3). The CFSEI-3 scores showed no effect by interventions with AT. The results also showed that there were no signs of depression, assessed by BYI, in the investigated groups, but somewhat inconclusive results regarding anxiety where the school-year 4 group depicted higher levels of anxiety.The results generally showed a more positive depiction than what previous studies within the field have presented, which was interpreted as being due to the development of efficient pedagogical strategies and supportive attitudes in the school context, as well as among family members or peers.
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