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publicado em 12/04/2012 às 16h00:00
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New software improves reading and writing of dyslexic children

Phonological remediation program is used as a communication tool that works on any computer

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Foto: Antoninho Perri/Ascom/Unicamp
Cynthia Salgado Azoni alves, Maria Sylvia Ciasca Franco and Ricardo Lima (from left. P / dir.)
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Cynthia Salgado Azoni alves, Maria Sylvia Ciasca Franco and Ricardo Lima (from left. P / dir.)

Research conducted by the speech therapist Cynthia Alves Salgado Azoni in the laboratory of Learning Disabilities and Attention Disorders (Disapre), Faculty of Medical Sciences (FCM) of Unicamp, resulted in the development of Phonological Remediation Program (Prefon) to improve the reading performance and writing in children with dyslexia.

This is a software used as a communication tool that works on any computer. The results were so positive, as described in the doctoral thesis Phonological remediation program in reading and writing in children with developmental dyslexia, which Cynthia asked the Inova Unicamp Innovation Agency for the protection of technology through registration of computer program. The thesis was supervised by a neuropsychologist and coordinator of Disapre, Sylvia Maria Ciasca.

Complaints of learning difficulties are common in childhood and adolescence and motivate much of referrals by teachers to health professionals, with the goal of assessment, diagnosis and intervention. In 1968, the World Federation of Neurology used the term to define developmental dyslexia a disorder manifested by difficulties in learning to read despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence and sociocultural opportunity.

The impairment of learning in children with dyslexia is primarily related to changes due to language deficits in processing phonological information, resulting in delays in the acquisition and development of reading and writing skills. Thus, children with dyslexia find it difficult, especially at school, where he remained most of his time.

The main features observed in these children are: difficulties in naming speed and verbal material phonological working memory, difficulties in phonological awareness tests (rhyme, phonemic segmentation and transposition); reading level below that expected for age and educational level; written exchanges with phonological and orthographic; good performance in arithmetic reasoning, intellectual level of the average or above average; neuropsychological deficits in perceptual functions, memory, visual sustained attention and executive functions.

The Prefon brings strategies in which language to dyslexic children have greater difficulty, for example, the rim. Because computers are an attractive motivator, a partnership was made with master students of the Institute of Biology (IB) of Unicamp paradigms for the development of activities by means of games to keep the attention and the child's performance.

The study included 62 children, divided into three groups. The first, with 17 children with dyslexia, was submitted to the remediation program. The second group of children, also with dyslexia, was not subjected to Prefon. The third, called the control, consisted of 31 children without learning difficulties. The children of the first group went through the steps of pre-testing, training and post-testing. The remediation program was conducted in 20 sessions.

The evaluation showed significant improvement in time of rapid automatized naming, phonological awareness, speed reading and writing skills. Many parents also reported an increase in the interest of the children in reading, which did not exist before.

The software has activities that can be used with the use of words in the cultural context of the child. I want to make other versions of the program for teachers and educators, said Cynthia. According to the pathologist, there is also possibility that the program is available online on the Internet. The focus is on digital inclusion.

According to neuropsychologist Ricardo Franco de Lima, dyslexics also have difficulties in other cognitive abilities such as attention and executive functions. The attention, according to Ricardo, is the individual's ability to select the internal or external environment that is more relevant.

Executive functions refer to a multidimensional concept that involves the cognitive abilities of frontal brain areas, such as inhibitory control, mental flexibility, planning and use of strategies. They are activated when the individual has to perform any activity with a purpose, such as assembling a puzzle.

Lima is the author of the thesis, presented last year, showing that children with dyslexia are more likely to have depression. The study evaluated 61 children aged between 7 and 14 years, divided into two groups: one with a diagnosis of dyslexia and the other without learning difficulties.

Children with dyslexia reported a higher frequency of depressive symptoms than children without difficulties, such as negative evaluation of own performance, feelings of guilt, suicidal ideation, feelings of worry, sleep difficulties, problems in social interactions at school and comparing its performance with their peers, said Ricardo.

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   Palavras-chave:   Dyslexia    Software    Phonological Remediation Program    Prefon    Unicamp    Attention Disorders   
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