Enhancing planning and reading ability in adolescents with intellectual disabilities

I have two projects, one that aims to train reading ability and one that
aims to train the ability to plan. The project to train the ability to plan was
part of my thesis. The results from the project can be found in the article below. The reading training project is ongoing, and you can read more about it below. Both projects utilize computerized training programs that are used during school hours at special schools.

The goal of the project is to investigate the extent to which adapted digital aids can help students with communicative and cognitive difficulties to develop their reading ability.
The recruited participants are students attending special primary school or upper secondary special school who rely on augmentative and alternative communication (ACC) in their daily communication, usually signs.

Interventions to promote the development of reading ability for students who use ACC is just as important as for other students.
In addition to the benefit of acquiring reading and writing skills, on speech development might also benefit from an increased reading. Furthermore, the ability to read and write is also important for participation in today's information and communication society.

Two strategies for reading ability

The aim of the project is to study the effect of two different pedagogical strategies to stimulate and develop reading ability. Two strategies are included in the intervention and they represent two separate ways of how children learn to read. The strategies are both available in Swedish and have been implemented via digital tools (e.g., tablets).
One program (ALL, Accessible Literacy Learning) is mainly based on the bottom-up principle, which means that you initially practice delimited language sounds, phonemes, which are associated with letters and eventually build whole words.

The second program (Animega-interactive language game) uses the principle of top-down, which means that you initially focus on understanding whole words and how they can be linked to sentences that express exciting events.

Collaboration with three parties

The project is carried out in collaboration between Linköping University, University of Gothenburg and DART- center for augmentative and alternative communication and assistive technology at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg.

Linköping University:
Mikael Heimann, Professor Emeritus in Developmental Psychology (Project Manager)
Lisa Palmqvist, Ph.D. in Disability science
Mary Rudner, Professor in Disability science
Emil Holmer, Ph.D. and licensed Psychologist

University of Gothenburg:
Monica Reichenberg, Professor Emeritus in Special Education

DART- center for Augmentative and Alternative Communication and Assistive Technology:
Gunilla Thunberg, Associate professor and certified Speech Therapist (Project Manager)
Jenny Samuelsson, Doctoral student and certified Speech Therapist
Katarina Mühlenbock, Ph.D. and Computer Linguist
Mats Lundälv, Educator and consultant in ICT

Pre-registration of the project

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