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Prognostic Indicators for Reading in Pediatric Vision Impairment

Dawn K. DeCarlo, OD, MS, MSPH, was awarded a $599,879 grant from the Administration for Community Living to evaluate both top-down and bottom-up processes to determine factors that contribute to reading readiness among children with vision impairment.

“Reading is obviously an important skill, and failure to achieve literacy has a lifelong negative impact,” Dr. DeCarlo says. “Therefore it is important to understand what contributes to reading readiness. We know that children with vision impairment frequently lag behind their sighted peers with respect to reading, but in order to address that problem we need to have a better understanding of why that is true.”

Children in the study will be evaluated before kindergarten and then twice annually until completing first grade. Areas of investigation include developmental level, visual-motor integration, working memory, and attentional shifting to name a few. The basic reading cluster of the Woodcock- Johnson III test will be used to evaluate results.

“By identifying characteristics of children with vision impairment who are at risk for reading issues, we could more properly allocate the limited resources of teachers trained to work with children who are visually impaired,” Dr. DeCarlo says. “This knowledge will allow more targeted interventions and hopefully help more children succeed.”