ABSTRACT: The primary purpose of this study was to examine several key questions related to the neuropsychological contributors to early
written language. First, can we develop an empirical measurement model that encompasses many of the neuropsychological components
that have been deemed as important to the development of written language? Second, once derived, will the neuropsychological
components of this model remain stable over first and second grades or will the model change in its composition? Third, will
the strength of the relationships between neuropsychological components and writing outcomes be constant over time, or will
the strength of the relationships change over time? Finally, will the derived empirical model show significant concurrent
and predictive relationships with written expression? The sample included 205 first grade students recruited from a single
school district who were followed into the second grade via two cohorts: Measures were aligned with major neuropsychological
components as extracted from theoretical models of written expression and available empirical findings examining the neuropsychological
contributors to writing in children. These domains included fine-motor speed, language, short-term memory, long-term memory,
and various attention/executive functions including working memory. Confirmatory factor analyses (CFAs) and longitudinal structural
equation modeling (SEM) methods documented that three core latent traits were present and stable at both grades 1 and 2: Fine-Motor,
Language, and Attention/Executive Functions. The overall model was highly related to written expression and spelling at both
grades 1 and 2, with the first grade latent traits accounting for 52 and 55% of the variance in second grade written expression
and spelling, respectively. At both grades, the Language and Attention/Executive Functions latent traits were more highly
associated with written expression and spelling than the Fine-Motor latent trait.
KeywordsNeuropsychological contributors to written language–Written language development–Neuropsychological predictors of early written language–Written expression in early elementary school
Reading and Writing 04/2012; 24(2):221-252. · 1.44 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: In a randomized controlled trial, 205 students were followed from grades 1 to 3 with a focus on changes in their writing trajectories following an evidence-based intervention during the spring of second grade. Students were identified as being at-risk (n = 138), and then randomized into treatment (n = 68) versus business-as-usual conditions (n = 70). A typical group also was included (n = 67). The writing intervention comprised Lesson Sets 4 and 7 from the Process Assessment of the Learner (PAL), and was conducted via small groups (three to six students) twice a week for 12 weeks in accordance with a response-to-intervention Tier 2 model. The primary outcome was the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test-II Written Expression Scale. Results indicated modest support for the PAL lesson plans, with an accelerated rate of growth in writing skills following treatment. There were no significant moderator effects, although there was evidence that the most globally impaired students demonstrated a more rapid rate of growth following treatment. These findings suggest the need for ongoing examination of evidence-based treatments in writing for young elementary students.
Annals of Dyslexia 08/2011; · 1.48 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: This study examined the relationship between repetitive behaviors and sensory processing issues in school-aged children with high functioning autism (HFA). Children with HFA (N = 61) were compared to healthy, typical controls (N = 64) to determine the relationship between these behavioral classes and to examine whether executive dysfunction explained any relationship between the variables. Particular types of repetitive behavior (i.e., stereotypy and compulsions) were related to sensory features in autism; however, executive deficits were only correlated with repetitive behavior. This finding suggests that executive dysfunction is not the shared neurocognitive mechanism that accounts for the relationship between restricted, repetitive behaviors and aberrant sensory features in HFA. Group status, younger chronological age, presence of sensory processing issues, and difficulties with behavior regulation predicted the presence of repetitive behaviors in the HFA group.
Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 01/2009; 3(4):959-966. · 2.96 Impact Factor