CRL Newsletter

Vol. 21, No. 3

December 2009


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Phonological Deficits in Children with Perinatal Stroke: Evidence from Spelling

Darin Woolpert1,2 and Judy S. Reilly1,3

1 San Diego State University
2 University of California, San Diego
3 University of Poiters

Children with perinatal stroke (PS) show attenuated linguistic deficits relative to adults with comparable insults, but lag behind their typically-developing (TD) peers on many pre-scholastic linguistic measures. Acquisition of literacy is a crucial academic skill but little is known about written language outcomes in the PS group. This study is the first to conduct formal analyses on the spelling of children with PS. Two writing tasks and two standardized tests (spelling and word reading) were administered to 43 children with PS and 42 age-matched children with TD, ages 7 to 17. The descriptive task had a referent (i.e., a picture) which provided a constrained framework, whereas the narrative task had a minimal obligatory context. Spelling was assessed by two indices: frequency of errors and phonological accuracy. Results showed effects for age (older > younger) in both experimental tasks, and population (TD > PS) in the standardized and descriptive tasks, suggesting that children with PS employed compensatory strategies when given the freedom provided by the narrative task. Unlike children with TD, children with PS showed no effect of age in phonological accuracy, suggesting persistent deficits in phonological encoding.

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