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The Effect of Practice on Low-Level Auditory Discrimination, Phonological Skills, and Spelling in Dyslexia

Authors: Tina Schäffler, Juliane Sonntag, Burkhart Fischer, Dipl Phys; Klaus Hartnegg, Dipl Phys.

Organization: Brain Research Group, University Freiburg, Germany

Journal: DYSLEXIA 10: 119–130 (2004)



Phonological awareness is believed to play a major role in the auditory contribution to spelling skills. The previous paper reports low-level auditory deficits in five different subdomains in 33–70% of the dyslexics. The first study of this paper reports the results of an attempt to improve low-level auditory skills by systematic daily practice of those tasks that had not been passed in previous diagnostic sessions. The data of 140 dyslexics indicate that the average number of unsolved tasks can be reduced from 3 of 5 to 1 of 5. The success rates have values of 70–80% for intensity and frequency discrimination and for gap detection, but reach only 36% for time-order judgement and 6% for side-order judgement. The second study reports that successful low-level auditory training transfers completely to language-related phonological skills and also to spelling with the largest profit in spelling errors due to poor auditory analysis. Control groups (waiting and placebo) did not exhibit significant improvements. It is concluded that low-level auditory deficits should be considered and improved by practice in order to give the dyslexics more phonological help when trying to transfer what they hear to spelling.

Key Words: auditory processing; development; dyslexia; training

More: full text (PDF, 105 KB)

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