Volume 24, Issue 3 (Autumn 2022)                   Advances in Cognitive Sciences 2022, 24(3): 131-147 | Back to browse issues page

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Kakolvand Z, Hassanaabadi H. Phonological processing model in children with dyslexia and dyscalculia: Comorbidity factor or differentiating component. Advances in Cognitive Sciences 2022; 24 (3) :131-147
URL: http://icssjournal.ir/article-1-1352-en.html
1- MA in Educational Psychology, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran
2- Associate Professor of Educational Psychology, Department of Educational Psychology, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran
Abstract:   (265 Views)
Phonological processing skills refer to the perception, storage, retrieval, and manipulation of language sounds during the acquisition and comprehension of spoken and written codes. In other words, the ability to manipulate phonological representations (e.g., sounds) and the efficiency of retrieving vocabulary from long-term memory are conceptualized as phonological processing. Numerous studies have considered phonological processing defects a prominent feature in people with dyslexia. However, it is unclear how it affects people with dyscalculia. Phonological processing studies in people with dyslexia and dyscalculia have often yielded conflicting results. Some studies have found several differences in the phonological processing model of dyslexic individuals compared to dyscalculic individuals, and some have found no difference between the two groups. Hence, phonological processing seems to be one of the key elements of language that can be considered as a differential sign for separating people with dyslexia and dyscalculia or even the comorbidity of these two disorders. In this study, in order to evaluate the differentiation or cognitive comorbidity of students with dyslexia and dyscalculia, the variables of the phonological processing model, including phonological awareness, short-term phonological memory (PSTM), and rapid automatic naming in these groups, were compared.
The participants were 30-second elementary school students (15 girls and 15 boys) who, according to their referral or non-referral to Learning Disabilities Centers. Besides, based on the criteria of particular learning disability in DSM-V, their grades on the Learning Disability Assessment Scale-4 (LDES-4) and the socio-economic status of the family were divided into three groups: dyslexia (n=10), dyscalculia (n=10), and normal (n=10). The implementation process was such that after the initial selection of participants based on the opinion of the centers and educators in the first session, to determine the inclusion criteria for dyslexia and dyscalculia and more accurate identification, LDES-4 for each child by the educators of the centers completed. Some students who were identified by the learning disabilities centers as individuals with learning disabilities but did not agree with the LDES-4 results and the views of the instructors were excluded from the sample. Indeed, some of these late learners had behavioral problems or had both reading and math disorders and were therefore excluded from the study. In the second session, for measuring PSTM, two digit span of numerical breadth, number-letter sequence test, and to measure the speed index of two digit span, the test of speed of naming literacy and the speed of naming quantity of the Iranian version of Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fifth Edition (WISC-VIR) were used. In addition, to assess phonological awareness of subtests of word differentiation, phonological analysis and word production of the third edition of the language development test were performed individually for each student. Using multivariate variance and follow-up analysis to compare groups, the researchers performed the profile analysis.
Statistical analysis revealed that the two groups of disorders in the two variables of phonological awareness, including phoneme production and word production, had a similar functional function and were distinct and significant from the normal group. However, in word differentiation, the response pattern was the same. However, there was no significant difference between the disorders and normal groups. These results are consistent with the findings of previous studies, which showed that poor phonological awareness is one of the significant problems in children with dyslexia. It is also consistent with research showing that phonological awareness tasks are a good predictor of learning arithmetic and math skills. No significant difference was found between the disorder group and the normal group in the variables of rapid automatic naming, including speed naming literacy and quantity. Previous studies have shown rapid naming defects in children with poor orthographic knowledge, mainly in non-alphabetic languages. Therefore, considering the Persian alphabet, it is concluded that this weakness is likely related to non-alphabetic languages. No significant difference was observed in the digit span variable of short-term phonological memory between the two disorder groups and between the disorder group and the normal group. Finally, the results indicated that in the number-letter sequence variable of short-term phonological memory, the performance of the two disorder groups was significantly different from each other and the normal group. In studies of memory impairment among dyscalculic individuals, studies have shown that these individuals have memory impairment in numerical, spatial, and verbal tasks. In contrast, some other studies have suggested that children with dyscalculia may experience different working memory impairments and that the weakness of people with dyslexics in this variable needs further investigation. The current study’s findings also demonstrated that children with dyslexia and dyscalculia do not have a phonological problem in short-term memory due to the type of test, which is consistent with the results of some studies that showed that this variable could not be clearly used to define two disorders.
The present study's results showed that the only component of phonological awareness of the phonological processing model might be as a comorbidity factor between the two groups with dyslexia and dyscalculia. Due to the vastness and complexity of cognitive profiles, there is an urgent need to use psychological and neuropsychological tools to measure more accurately and not be satisfied with a test. Also, the lack of accurate diagnostic tools in the field of academic performance of people with particular learning disabilities to use new diagnostic models such as the dual consonant-inconsistent model (DD/C) may challenge the separation of individuals in this study and, therefore, the need to develop such a tool. Accordingly, it is felt more than ever. Finally, the purpose of examining different phonological processing skills in relation to reading skills and mathematics is that such discoveries can help to understand the specific relationships of phonological processing related to reading and arithmetic among children. Second, if some phonological processing skills predict future reading and math functions, they can be useful as indicators for early screening for potential reading or math problems. Eventually, such connections indicate that teaching some of these phonological skills helps improve math and reading performance.

Ethical Considerations
Compliance with ethical guidelines
The present study observes ethical principles, including obtaining written consent from parents in order for their children to participate in the research. In order to respect the principle of confidentiality, participants’ names were coded, and they were anonymous. In addition, adequate information on how to conduct research was provided to all participants and their freedom to leave the research process at any stage of the research.
Authors’ contributions
In writing this article, both authors participated almost equally in all activities. Hamidreza Hassanaabadi: Corresponding author and responsible for research design, preparation of screening and evaluation tools, data analysis, method, and results writing. Zahra Kakolvand: Responsible for the project implementation, collection, introduction, discussion, and conclusion writing.
The present study was carried out at the personal expense of the first author in the planning and execution of the data analysis
The authors would like to thank all the participating students and their parents, as well as the Learning Disabilities Centers and theSchools involved in this project.
Conflict of Interest
The authors of this article state that there is no conflict of interest in conducting this study.
Type of Study: Research |
Received: 2021/11/5 | Accepted: 2022/06/9 | Published: 2022/11/15

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