Reading strategies and cognitive skills in children with cochlear implants

Malin Wass*, Björn Lyxell, Birgitta Sahlén, Lena Asker-Árnason, Tina Ibertsson, Elina Mäki-Torkko, Mathias Hällgren, Birgitta Larsby

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: The present study investigated working memory capacity, lexical access, phonological skills and reading ability in 6 children with cochlear implants (CI), attending grades 1-3. For each test measure, the individual performance of the children was compared to a grade-matched comparison group of children with normal hearing. Performance was also studied in relation to demographic factors. Material/Methods: Cognitive skills were assessed in a computer-based test battery. Different aspects of each of the component skills were tapped in various subtests. Reading comprehension was measured by the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test and decoding was assessed in the Test of Word Reading (TOWRE). The children were also tested on orthographic learning. Results: These children with CI have specific difficulties in tasks of phonological skills and phonological working memory (WM) where nonwords are used as test stimuli. They do not seem to have problems with phonological processing of words for which they have a well defined phonological representation. They also experienced relatively more difficulties in tasks on lexical access without any contextual information. Conclusions: We suggest that children with CI are particularly efficient in using compensatory strategies in situations where their auditory perception does not provide sufficient information to correctly match the incoming speech signal to a corresponding representation in longterm phonological storage. The children with CI in this study were skilled readers, both for decoding of words and nonwords and for reading comprehension. They may use both orthographic and phonological reading strategies, although most of them seem to be dependent on phonological decoding to some extent.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)142-180
    Number of pages39
    JournalActa Neuropsychologica
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010


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