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Orthography and word learning (Clark & Reuterskiöld, 2021)

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-05-24, 19:25 authored by Grace T. Clark, Christina Reuterskiöld
Purpose: A systematic review was performed to determine the extent to which orthographic facilitation, a strategy to improve word learning, has been demonstrated in the literature for children and adolescents from clinical categories such as developmental language disorders (DLD), autism spectrum disorders (ASD), Down syndrome, dyslexia, hearing impairment, intellectual disability, and cerebral palsy.
Method: Five databases were searched for all studies published through December 2019. Eligible studies included participants from a clinical population (DLD, ASD, dyslexia, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, hearing impairment, etc.) and compared word learning with and without orthography. Selected studies were extracted for pertinent information. In addition, assessment of the methodological rigor was performed for each study.
Results: The review yielded five studies that targeted word learning with orthographic facilitation for children from various clinical populations including DLD, verbal children with autism, Down syndrome, and dyslexia. All studied populations showed a benefit for word learning in picture naming posttests when words were trained in the presence of orthography.
Conclusions: For the studied populations, training words in the presence of orthography will improve word learning accuracy and retention. The review highlights the need for more research in this area across other clinical populations.

Supplemental Material S1. Search strategy.

Clark, G. T., & Reuterskiöld, C. (2021). Orthographic support for word learning in clinical populations: A systematic review. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools. Advance online publication.


This study was supported by an NYU Steinhardt fellowship awarded to Grace T. Clark.