Author: Wong, Mei Sheung Louisa
Title: Using gaze-directed oculomotor training to enhance reading-related oculomotor skills and Chinese characters recognition for children with neuromuscular diseases
Advisors: Lam, S. Y. Carly (SO)
Degree: DHSc
Year: 2019
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Neuromuscular diseases in children
Eye -- Movement disorders -- Treatment
Department: Faculty of Health and Social Sciences
Pages: xxi, 144 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: Background: Early readers with neuromuscular diseases associated with oculomotor anomalies have had problems in reading-related oculomotor skills of fixation and saccade, which may cause developmental delay, also affecting reading and learning their mother-tongue language. Objectives: (1) To determine whether gaze-directed oculomotor training can improve the reading rate in terms of decreasing oculomotor task time; (2) To investigate whether gaze-directed oculomotor training through a gaze-accessed reading platform could enhance Chinese character recognition. Design and methodology: This is a cross-centres randomized age-matched pair, single-masked, prospective cohort study. Subjects of aged 6 to 8 years were randomly assigned into an age-matched treatment group or the age-matched control group. Baseline measurement (time-one T1) were obtained for both groups. Measurement was also conducted after both groups undertook 8 weeks of intervention (time-two T2) and were then observed for changes at 4 and 8 weeks after intervention (time-three T3 and time-four T4).
Results and discussion: (1) There was a statistically significant difference of the mean of oculomotor task time at time-one to time-four in the treatment group (multivariate ANOVA, F (1, 10) = 9.73 at p = 0.01). It might suggest sustainable treatment effect for the oculomotor task time with suspected motor latency in these children with neuromuscular diseases. (2) The mean of regression count of the treatment group showed improvement and some sustainable effect throughout the 20 weeks; however, there were no statistical differences at all the four visits. (3) Pairwise comparison of the change in Chinese characters recognition found treatment group have statistically significant differences at time-one to time-three: the treatment group showed more accurate performance; mean difference was 23.89% (standard error = 9.99 at p = 0.04). And time-one to time-four showed even greater improvement of 29.72% (standard error = 8.84 at p = 0.01). The between-group and within-group effect found the group (gaze-directed oculomotor training) was the unique factor for Chinese characters recognition (MANOVA, F (1, 13) = 6.17 at p = 0.003). In summary, gaze-directed oculomotor training showed a sustainable effect on reading-related oculomotor control, in terms of decreasing (faster) oculomotor task time and more accurate Chinese characters recognition. However, there was an insignificant change in the regression count, which may indicate that the training did not influence the nature of muscle-tone and motor problems of neuromuscular diseases. The findings from the current study were not quite conclusive. There was the limitation of the small group, training duration and probably the diverse background of the visual characteristics of the children. Further study to increase the dosage of training, to extend the intervention period to a year with multiple and regular follow-ups may help early readers with neuromuscular diseases to learn. Conclusions: This study is the first attempt to use gaze-directed oculomotor training for early readers with neuromuscular diseases and oculomotor anomalies to enhance reading-related oculomotor control. Result found gaze-directed oculomotor training had a sustainable effect on Chinese characters recognition, which is very important for reading development and learning. Consequently, this group of schoolchildren may achieve better academic qualifications and thus enhance their quality of learning experiences.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: restricted access

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