Speaking to read: The effects of speech recognition technology on the reading and spelling performance of children with learning disabilities
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In recent literature on persons with learning disabilities (LD), speech recognition has been discussed primarily as an assistive technology to help compensate for writing difficulties. However, prior research by the authors has suggested that in addition to helping persons to compensate for poor writing skills, speech recognition also may enhance reading and spelling; that is, what was designed as assistive technology appears to serve remedial functions as well. The present study was conducted to determine whether elementary and secondary students with LD who used the technology to write self-selected compositions and class assignments would demonstrate improvements in reading and spelling. Thirty-nine students with LD (ages 9 to 18) participated. Nineteen participants used speech recognition 50 minutes a week for sixteen weeks, and twenty students in a control group received general computer instruction. Results indicated that the speech recognition group showed significantly more improvement than the control group in word recognition (p<.0001), spelling (p<.002) and reading comprehension (p<.01). Pre- and posttests on five reading-related cognitive processing measures (phonological, orthographic, semantic processing, metacognitive reading strategies, and working memory) indicated that for the experimental group, only phonological processing improved significantly over the treatment period when compared to controls (p<.04). Further ANCOVA suggested that growth in phonological processing was associated with significant differences among conditions for all three academic measures: word recognition, spelling, and reading comprehension.
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