To use empirical research to advance basic understanding of areas of typical and atypical development including visual development and developmental disorders (e.g. reading, attention, movement and language disorders).
To use our improved understanding of typical and atypical development to design and improve interventions for children with a range of atypical developmental trajectories.
The ongoing research in the Reading Visionaries Group is underpinned by the overall goals for the group while reflecting the individual interests of each the group member. Our combined interest is in furthering developmental research in areas that have practical benefits for both typical and atypical children. As such, we combine research into the typical developmental trajectories of children in different areas of perception and cognition with research into ways in which developmental trajectories can be disrupted and the effects that this has on later development.
Typical and Atypical Visual Development
Dr Anna Horwood, Dr Trine Langaas [Buskerud University College, Norway], Arnulf Myklebust, Sonia Toor and Dr Patricia Riddell
This research has investigated the role of different depth cues in both the typical development of accommodation and convergence, and is studying whether patterns of cue use can be identified in children with clinical visual disorders such as hyperopia (long-sightedness) and strabismus (eye turn). By determining the cues that are typically used in different clinical populations, we aim to improve diagnosis of different categories of clinical visual disorder, and to develop new interventions for some children with these conditions. Finally, we are researching visual disorders in children born pre-term.
Funded by MRC and DoH
Visual Aspects of Typical Reading Development
Dr Patricia Riddell, Dr Wendy Gibbons, Dr Rachel Pye [Winchester University] and Prof Taeko Wydell [Brunel University]
This research has used a novel paradigm in which individual letters within words are rotated by random amounts. This paradigm has been used to study the Psycholinguistic Grain Size Theory which suggests that words with regular grapheme to phoneme correspondences (e.g. /LEVEL/ or /BASE/ might be read at a smaller unit size than words with irregular grapheme to phoneme correspondences (e.g. /YACHT/ and /PSALM/). We have tested children in England and Germany to look at differences between languages in which words are mostly regular (German) or in which there are a higher proportion of irregular words (English). We are currently studying English versus Japanese children and adults. We have also looked at the grain size used by English adults for regular and irregular words.
Funded by ESRC
Visual Aspects of Atypical Reading Development
Dr Patricia Riddell, Dr Wendy Gibbons, Dr Rachel Pye [Winchester University], Dr Sue Cruddace, Dr Vesna Stojanovik, Jonathan Haenen, Rachael Sperring, Prof John Stein [University of Oxford] and Grace Archer
This research has investigated the role of visual noise in specific reading disorders using our twisted text paradigm. It has also studied possible predictors of visual and phonological deficits in reading disorders, and whether children with particular deficits benefit more from treatments aimed at improving phonological or visual aspects of reading. We are currently studying the effectiveness of different measures of magnocellular function in detecting visual reading deficits. We have studied the co-occurrence of reading disorders with deficits in movement and attention and language. We are also looking at the effectiveness of a range of interventions for older children with reading disorders. Finally, we are researching the components skills that contribute to reading comprehension in both typical and atypical children in order to determine whether there are specific skills that are impaired when children show reading comprehension difficulties.
Funded by ESRC, and University Studentships
Development of Visual Function in Typical and Premature Children
Dr Patricia Riddell and Arnulf Myklebust
This research is investigating the degree to which visual function is affected in children born very prematurely. The basic theoretical rationale for the questions comes from the theory that two visual processing pathways exist. Other studies have shown that children with Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL: brain damage resulting from insufficient oxygen supply frequently as a result of cerebral bleeding in prematurely born children) often have a dysfunctional magnocellular or dorsal pathway. Deficits in visual function related to magnocellular function are being tested, along with other visual functions that may be unaffected or even strengthened in this group.
Funded by Norwegian Foundation for Health and Rehabilitation via the Norwegian Prematurity Association