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Banfi, Chiara; Kemeny, Ferenc; Gang, Melanie; Schulte-Körne, Gerd; Mo, Kristina; Landerl, Karin (2018): Visual attention span performance in German-speaking children with differential reading and spelling profiles: No evidence of group differences.
In: PLOS One 13(6), e0198903
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Abstract

An impairment in the visual attention span (VAS) has been suggested to hamper reading performance of individuals with dyslexia. It is not clear, however, if the very nature of the deficit is visual or verbal and, importantly, if it affects spelling skills as well. The current study investigated VAS by means of forced choice tasks with letters and symbols in a sample of third and fourth graders with age-adequate reading and spelling skills (n = 43), a typical dyslexia profile with combined reading and spelling deficits (n = 26) and isolated spelling deficits (n = 32). The task was devised to contain low phonological short-term memory load and to overcome the limitations of oral reports. Notably, eye-movements were monitored to control that children fixated the center of the display when stimuli were presented. Results yielded no main effect of group as well as no group-related interactions, thus showing that children with dyslexia and isolated spelling deficits did not manifest a VAS deficit for letters or symbols once certain methodological aspects were controlled for. The present results could not replicate previous evidence for the involvement of VAS in reading and dyslexia.