Conference PaperPDF Available

Exercises for German-Speaking Children with Dyslexia

Authors:

Abstract

In this work-in-progress we present a computer-based method to design German reinforcement exercises for children with dyslexia. From different schools, we collected more than 1,000 errors written by children with dyslexia. Then, we created a classification of dyslexic errors in German and annotated the errors with different language specific features, such as phonetic and visual features. For the creation of the exercises we took into account the linguistic knowledge extracted from the analyses and designed more than 2,500 word exercises in German that have been integrated in a game available for iOS. The game and the resource of dyslexic errors are available online 1 and they are, to the best of our knowledge, the first contributions of this kind for German.
Exercises for German-Speaking Children
with Dyslexia
Maria Rauschenberger
1(&)
, Silke Füchsel
2
, Luz Rello
3,4
,
Clara Bayarri
4
, and Jörg Thomaschewski
2
1
OFFIS Institute for Information Technology, Oldenburg, Germany
maria.rauschenberger@offis.de
2
University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer Emden, Emden, Germany
sfuchsel@gmx.de, joerg.thomaschewski@hs-emden-leer.de
3
Change Dyslexia Foundation, Madrid, Spain
luz@changedyslexia.org
4
Cookie Cloud Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
clara@cookie-cloud.com
Abstract. In this work-in-progress we present a computer-based method to
design German reinforcement exercises for children with dyslexia. From dif-
ferent schools, we collected more than 1,000 errors written by children with
dyslexia. Then, we created a classication of dyslexic errors in German and
annotated the errors with different language specic features, such as phonetic
and visual features. For the creation of the exercises we took into account the
linguistic knowledge extracted from the analyses and designed more than 2,500
word exercises in German that have been integrated in a game available for iOS.
The game and the resource of dyslexic errors are available online (https://itunes.
apple.com/us/app/dyseggxia/id534986729?mt=8) and they are, to the best of our
knowledge, the rst contributions of this kind for German.
Keywords: Dyslexia iOS Spelling German Children Gamication
1 Introduction
Dyslexia is a specic learning disability with neurological origin. It is characterized by
difculties with accurate and/or uent word recognition and by poor spelling and
decoding abilities. These difculties typically result from a decit in the phonological
components of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities.
Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced
reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge
[1]. Dyslexia is frequent: Worldwide, 10 % of the population and from 5 to 12 % of the
German students have dyslexia [2].
In Germany, only 25 % of the poor spellers achieve average spelling performance
during the period of primary school [3]. In a longitudinal study Esser et al. [4] showed
that children with diagnosed dyslexia at the age of eight achieved less school perfor-
mance and a higher rate of unemployment, than the control group measured afterwards
at the age of 25. Schulte-Körne et al. [5] showed that it takes longer for children with
©IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2015
J. Abascal et al. (Eds.): INTERACT 2015, Part I, LNCS 9296, pp. 445452, 2015.
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-22701-6_33
dyslexia to achieve school grades that are comparable to the others, even if these
children have a socio-economic condition above the average.
Overcoming dyslexia means a great effort for children and requires doing language
exercises regularly [6]. Traditionally, these exercises are done using pen and paper. In
the case of dyslexia, exercises on paper introduce an added difculty for some students
due to the fact that dysgraphia
1
is comorbid with dyslexia [7].
More recently, it was shown that computer games are a convenient medium to
provide exercises in an engaging way to signicantly improve the reading performance
[10,11] and the spelling performance [12] of children with dyslexia. These methods
cannot simply be extended to other languages because manifestations of dyslexia
depend on the different orthographies of the languages [13].
In this paper, we present a game for children with dyslexia for German. To make
the training exercises, this method uses real errors found in texts written by children
with dyslexia. To the best of our knowledge, this is the rst time that error-based
exercises targeted for people with dyslexia are done for German.
The structure of the paper is stated as follows: Sect. 2details related work while
Sect. 3presents how we created the content design of the application. Finally, we draw
conclusions and describe our future work in Sect. 4.
2 Related Work
There are several approaches of assistive technology for dyslexia [14]. Following, we
only present related games to support and train specic issues of dyslexia.
Lernserver is a tool to diagnose dyslexia in German, dene the level of support the
child needs, and provide support exercises [15]. An evaluation with the Landesinstitut
für Schule found out that 78, 2 % of the students (N = 3798) improved their writing
using this tool [16]. Similarly, Klex 11
2
helps to practice vocabulary in German adapted
to a certain school degree. These tools only use correct-based exercises in the game.
Likewise, CESAR schreiben 2.0
3
is a strategy and educational game, which includes
listening, spelling and vocabulary.
Kyle et al. [10] compared two computer-assisted reading interventions for English
inspired by the Finnish GraphoGame [17]: GG Rime and GG Phoneme. They con-
ducted a user study with 31 children of 6 and 7 years old. While the results show that
both games may benet decoding abilities, no signicant effects were found, probably
due to an insufcient number of participants or not enough training time. The closest
work to us is Dyseggxia or Piruletras for iOS [18], a game composed of error-based
exercises to support writing in children with dyslexia in English and Spanish. During
eight weeks, the authors carried out a within-subject experiment with 48 children from
6 to 11 years old. Children who played Dyseggxia for four weeks in a row had
1
Dysgraphia refers to a writing disorder associated with the motor skills involved in writing,
handwriting and sequencing, but also orthographic coding [7].
2
http://www.legasthenie-software.de.
3
http://www.ces-verlag.de/deutsch/Schreiben2_0/schreiben2_produktinfo.php5.
446 M. Rauschenberger et al.
signicantly less writing errors in the tests than after playing the control condition for
the same time [12]. Our game differs from previous work in being the rst tool for
German based on written dyslexic errors.
3 Game Content Design
In this section we explain the steps we followed to create the exercises to be integrated
in the application. We decided to use errors written by people with dyslexia as the
starting point because they can be used as a source of knowledge. Regarding dyslexia,
the errors that people with dyslexia make are related to the types of difculties that they
have [19].
3.1 Collecting Texts from Children with Dyslexia
We collaborated with two schools to gather anonymous texts written by students with
dyslexia. We collected 47 texts (homework exercises, dictations and school essays)
written by students from 8 to 17 years old. A total of 32 texts came from children who
have been diagnosed with dyslexia. Teachers collected the remaining texts from
children with a high spelling error rate. The children attended primary school, com-
prehensive school (Gesamtschule), high school (Gymnasium) or a special school
(Förderschule).
3.2 Classication of German Dyslexic Errors
We analyzed the errors and dened an error classication for German. Except from the
categorie capital letter, the rest of the error types are consistent Pedlers classication of
dyslexic errors [21]
4
:
Substitution: change one letter by another, *grümeln (krümeln, crumble).
Insertion: insert one letter, *muttig (mutig, bravely).
Omission: omit one letter, *zusamen (zusammen, together).
Transposition: reversing two letters, Porblem (Problem, problem).
Multi-errors: more than one letter different, *Stag (stark, strong).
Word boundary errors: They are run-ons and split words. A run-on is the result of
omitting a space, such as nichtärgern (nicht ärgern, dont tease). A split word
occurs when a space is inserted in the middle of a word, such as Vogel futter
(Vogelfutter, bird food).
Capital letter: in German nouns are written with capital letters, while other kinds of
words like verbs, adjectives or articles are not. This leads very often to spelling
errors frequently based on the lack of attention [22]. For example *geschichten
(Geschichten, stories)or *Glücklich (glücklich, happy).
4
Examples with errors are preceded by an asterisk *. We use the standard linguistic conventions:
<>for graphemes, //for phonemes and []for phones.
Exercises for German-Speaking Children with Dyslexia 447
3.3 Annotation of Dyslexic Errors
We annotated each of the word-error pairs with linguistic features [23]. Each of the
word-error pairs was enriched with specic phonological and visual features derived
from the analysis of the errors and some examples:
Visual information: for each of the target and the error graphemes we annotate
the letters involved in the error with the following visual information, considering
handwritten text. As a guideline we chose the Lateinische Ausgangsschrift [24]
because it is commonly used in schools where the texts were collected. The
tags use for visual information are: (a) the presence of mirror letters
(<d> and <b> or <m> and <w>), (b) rotation letters (<d> and <p>.) or fuzzy letters,
that is, similar visual letters but not due to rotate or mirror, such as <s> and <z>.
Phonetic information: Each of the error words was tagged using a classication
inspired by the error analysis of the DRT [20]. This classication is based on
traditional articulatory phonetic features [25] and is divided into the following
categories: (a) sound distinction, (b) sound sequence, (c) combination of conso-
nants, words with <v>, (d) umlaut, (e) double consonant/false double consonant,
(f) lengthening, (g) words with <s/B>, and (h) derivation. For instance, in (h) der-
ivation, related words are often written the same way or similar but pronounced
different. To write these words in the right way, one possibility is to have a look at
the plural form so that the right writing can be derivate, e.g. Walt (Wald [valt];
Wälder [vεldɒ], forest). We took these features into account to design the exer-
cises (see next Section).
3.4 Exercise Design
First, we analyzed statistically the features of the errors and created a set of linguistic
patterns for designing the exercises. Then, we manually created 2,500 exercises for
German. The types of exercises were dened according the kind of errors found in our
resource. These are:
Insertion: A missing letter is shown and the child need to insert a letter from a set
of possibilities displayed on the screen, e.g. *Geburstag, (Geburtstag, birthday).
Omission: The child is given a word with an extra letter and is asked to identify and
remove it, e.g. *Abennd, (Abend, evening)(Fig. 1, right).
Substitution: A word with a wrong letter is displayed and the user is asked to
identify and substitute the wrong letter by another letter from a set of possibilities
displayed on the screen, e.g. *Muntag, (Montag, monday)(Fig. 1, left).
Separation: A set of words, normally composed of a lexical word and a small word
or/and functional word are displayed on screen without spaces. Lexical words (e.g.
Hund, dog)form the basic elements of a languages lexicon. They have a lexical
meaning which is less ambiguous than the grammatical meanings expressed by
functional words e.g. zu, bei (at, by). The user is asked to separate the character
chain into different words, e.g. *ausVersehen, (aus Versehen, by mistake).
448 M. Rauschenberger et al.
Transposition: The child needs to rearrange the letters or the syllables of a word,
e.g. *Zugbürcke, (Zugbrücke, drawbridge).
The amounts of types of exercises per class are dened according the real errors
percentages found in our error list. For instance, omission errors were the more fre-
quent type in dyslexic texts (28.14 %), therefore were created more Insertion exercises
to target this kind of error. The other types of errors were substitution (21.03 %), capital
letter (10.61 %) and no capital letter (7.21 %) for Substitution exercises, addition
(21.03 %) for Omission exercises, run-on (0.29 %) and split in (2.73 %) errors for the
Separation exercises, and transposition (0.88 %) for the Transposition exercises. We
used the multi-errors (18.31 %) for higher levels.
3.5 Target Word Selection
To assure that the exercises are useful for the children, we used (1) only valid words in
German language, (2) a set of the most frequent words of German,
5
(3) words used in
books in school in Germany,
6
(4) and words from our error list. The nal list of words
is the intersection of these criteria.
For selecting the words we took into consideration specic difculties of dyslexia.
German words can be very long e.g. Straßenbahnhaltestelle (tram stop). Since people
with dyslexia have difculties with very long words [26] we included long words but
not longer than 20 letters. For the Separation we chose functional words because of
the same reason, people with dyslexia tend to have more errors with small and func-
tional words [27].
Fig. 1. Exercises of Substitution (left) and Omission (right).
5
http://www.lsa.umich.edu/german/hmr/Vokabeln/frequent_words.html.
6
http://bildungsserver.berlin-brandenburg.de/leadmin/bbb/unterricht/faecher/sprachen/deutsch/
Grundschule/2011_11_25_GWS_1_WEB.pdf.
Exercises for German-Speaking Children with Dyslexia 449
3.6 Modication of the Target Words
For the exercises that are not derived directly from the incorrect words in the corpora,
we apply the linguistic patterns extracted from the errors to the most frequent words or
schoolbook words. For instance, when the sound /a:/ is represented by the let-
ters <ah> (Wahl, election), <a> (Tal, valley)or <aa> (Haare, hair), these three
groups of letters are frequently mistaken between themselves or by other letters such
as <e>. By applying these patterns to the most frequent words we cover relevant words
that might not appear in our corpora.
3.7 Selection of the Distractors
Distractors are incorrect options in a multiple-choice answer, which resemble the
correct option to distractthe player [28]. We selected distractors for each exercise
word taking into account linguistic features. For instance, the most frequent errors
involve letters which the one-to-one correspondence between graphemes and phones is
not maintained, such as in <sch> pronounced as only on phone []. Another example is
similar letters representing similar sounds, such as the occlusive consonants [t, d, b, p,
g]. We used as distractors the letters that tend to induce more errors.
3.8 Difculty Levels
The game has ve difculty levels: Initial, Easy, Medium, Hard, and Expert. The levels
of the exercises were designed considering the difculties of people with dyslexia.
They have more difculties with less frequent and longer words [26,29] and words
with complex morphology [27]. Hence, in higher difculty levels, the target word is
less frequent, longer and has a more complex morphology. For instance, only words in
Hard and Expert levels have prexes and sufxes.
People with dyslexia also struggle with phonetically and orthographically similar
words [30]. Phonetically similar words are presented in all levels; orthographically
similar words are used in all levels except from Initial level.
3.9 Implementation
The application was done in Objective-C by using the Model-View-Controller pattern
and a high level abstraction to make it easily portable from iOS to Android and later to
any other platform if needed. Since text presentation has a signicant effect on reading
performance of dyslexic readers, the interface of the game implements the guidelines
that according to the latest ndings in accessibility research [8,9].
450 M. Rauschenberger et al.
4 Conclusions and Future Work
In this paper we have presented a method for creating exercises in German to support
the spelling of children with dyslexia. The exercises were created on the basis of the
linguistic analyses of errors written by children with dyslexia (from 8 to 17 years old)
and can easily be transferred to other languages, because it relies on little
language-dependent resources. The tool with the German exercises integrated will be
soon available in the App Store.
7
Also, the resource with the German errors and all the
annotations is freely available.
The creation of this tool is the rst step of a work-in-progress. Our next and nal
step for future work is to conduct a longitudinal evaluation to measure the efciency of
the tool in a German school with children with diagnosed dyslexia. We also plan to
create more types of exercises, adapt the levels, automatically create exercises and
improve the application by tailoring the exercises on the basis of the childs
performance.
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... We kept collecting texts until we reached 1,000 written errors by people with dyslexia. Previous research have shown that around thousand errors are enough to extract for useful conclusions (Pedler, 2007; Rauschenberger et al., 2015; Rello et al., 2014b). A total of 32 texts came from children who have been diagnosed with dyslexia. ...
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... For the creation of the exercises we took into account the linguistic knowledge extracted from the analyses and designed more than 2,500 word exercises in German that have been integrated in a game available for iOS (https://itunes. apple.com/de/app/dyseggxia/id534986729?mt=8 ) [2,3]. My envisioned web application will contribute to the development of assistive and motivating technology that improve the accessibility to the information society to around 10% of the population. ...
Conference Paper
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The main object of this work is searching for a model of growth of the city of Malaga based on participation and real social needs, in comparison to a totally defined model, whose possibilities of maneuver are completely limited. At the same time, the new periphery of Malaga is taken to question the model of unsustainable use of land that has resulted in the destruction of much of the natural heritage that formed the city limits at the beginning of the century. In order to get a clear and logical sequence and achieve these objectives it has established four specific phases of development work: - Analytical Framework: Synthesis of the dynamics that have defined the growth process of Malaga, as well as the conditions that have resulted in its urban configuration. This must be followed by an analysis of the aspects that define and articulate the identity of the study area from the "sum of all the cultural, economic, social and technological aspects influencing the quality and planning of the city" - Conceptual Framework: An approach to the characteristics of today’s society in order to guarantee the success of the proposed model. Its liquid condition - characterized by instability that causes loss of reference and certainties - besides the complexity derived from multiple lifestyles require that the city would be able to adapt to short-term needs according to the specific context of each intervention. - Purposing Framework: Development of an inventory of possible intervention strategies, ultimately, to develop a theoretical model of growth, which could form the basis for drafting the specific planning for this area. That tries to establish a system that would be able to regulate the catalogue of possible alternatives. The challenge is not easy, but at a time marked by a serious economic, social and environmental crisis, achieving an economy and a more efficient use of limited resources, is one of the main objectives that society must face it today.
Chapter
Dyslexia is a learning disability characterized by difficulty in reading. Individuals suffering from this disease have normal intelligence and vision. Dyslexic patients face problems in creating links between alphabets shown to them and their phoenix. This disease affects the portion of the brain that functions to process alphabets and words. Interventions and therapies can help the patients to improve their capability to learn. A plethora of game-based interventions (GBIs) for a diverse set of learning disorders has emerged over the last decade. However, studies comprehensively reviewing GBIs for dyslexic patients, are still nonexistent. This systematic literature review (SLR) fills this research gap by providing a comprehensive overview of the use of game elements and game-based intervention methods in enhancing the learning capabilities of dyslexic patients. The methodological foundations of this SLR have been extracted from Kitchenham’s guidelines for systematic reviews. Relevant studies have been extracted from six electronic databases and the study selection process complies with the structured PRISMA guidelines. Out of an initial set of 950 studies, 42 studies were selected through a systematic and unbiased selection procedure followed by the data extraction, analysis, and reporting of findings. The results of this SLR provide evidence of the effectiveness of game elements and GBIs for patients suffering from dyslexia. The findings signify that word exercise-based games represent the predominant category of games followed by action-based video games. In contrast, other categories of the games, i.e., puzzle-based, strategy games, are rather scarce in this domain. None of the selected studies has used self-determination theory (SDT) as the basis of their game design. In addition, most of the selected studies fail to provide comprehensive coverage of the essential gaming elements. Future research efforts must be directed towards these shortcomings to improve the current state of the research.
Thesis
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Children with dyslexia have difficulties learning how to read and write. They are often diagnosed after they fail in school, even though dyslexia is not related to general intelligence. In this thesis, we present an approach for earlier screening of dyslexia using a language-independent game in combination with machine learning models trained with the interaction data. By earlier, we mean before children learn how to read and write. To reach this goal, we designed the game content with knowl- edge of the analysis of word errors from people with dyslexia in different languages and the parameters reported to be related to dyslexia, such as auditory and visual perception. With our two de- signed games (MusVis and DGames), we collected data sets (313 and 137 participants) in different languages (mainly Spanish and German) and evaluated them with machine learning classifiers. For MusVis we mainly use content that refers to one single acoustic or visual indicator, while DGames content refers to generic content related to various indicators. Our method provides an accuracy of 0.74 for German and 0.69 for Spanish and F1-scores of 0.75 for German and 0.75 for Spanish in MusVis when Random Forest and Extra Trees are used. DGames was mainly evaluated with German and reached a peak accuracy of 0.67 and a peak F1-score of 0.74. Our results open the possibility of low-cost and early screening of dyslexia through the Web.
Chapter
Nowadays, being excluded from the web is a huge disadvantage. People with dyslexia have, despite their general intelligence, difficulties for reading and writing through their whole life. Therefore, web technologies can help people with dyslexia to improve their reading and writing experience on the web. This chapter introduces the main technologies and many examples of tools that support a person with dyslexia in processing information on the web, either in assistive applications for reading and writing as well as using web applications/games for dyslexia screening and intervention.
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Around 10% of the population has dyslexia, a reading disability that negatively affects a person’s ability to read and comprehend texts. Previous work has studied how to optimize the text layout, but adapting the text content has not received that much attention. In this paper, we present an eye-tracking study that investigates if people with dyslexia would benefit from content simplification. In an experiment with 46 people, 23 with dyslexia and 23 as a control group, we compare texts where words were substituted by shorter/longer and more/less frequent synonyms. Using more frequent words caused the participants with dyslexia to read significantly faster, while the use of shorter words caused them to understand the text better. Amongst the control group, no significant effects were found. These results provide evidence that people with dyslexia may benefit from interactive tools that perform lexical simplification.
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We introduce a language resource for Spanish, DysList, composed of a list of unique errors extracted from a collection of texts written by people with dyslexia. Each of the errors was annotated with a set of characteristics as well as visual and phonetic features. To the best of our knowledge this is the largest resource of this kind, especially given the difficulty of finding texts written by people with dyslexia.
Conference Paper
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Around 10% of the people have dyslexia, a neurological disability that impairs a person's ability to read and write. There is evidence that the presentation of the text has a significant effect on a text's accessibility for people with dyslexia. However, to the best of our knowledge, there are no experiments that objectively measure the impact of the font type on reading performance. In this paper, we present the first experiment that uses eye-tracking to measure the effect of font type on reading speed. Using a within-subject design, 48 subjects with dyslexia read 12 texts with 12 different fonts. Sans serif, monospaced and roman font styles significantly improved the reading performance over serif, proportional and italic fonts. On the basis of our results, we present a set of more accessible fonts for people with dyslexia.
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In this paper we present a method which aims to improve the spelling of children with dyslexia through playful and targeted exercises. In contrast to previous approaches, our method does not use correct words or positive examples to follow, but presents the child a misspelled word as an exercise to solve. We created these training exercises on the basis of the linguistic knowledge extracted from the errors found in texts written by children with dyslexia. To test the effectiveness of this method in Spanish, we integrated the exercises in a game for iPad, DysEggxia (Piruletras in Spanish), and carried out a within-subject experiment. During eight weeks, 48 children played either DysEggxia or Word Search, which is another word game. We conducted tests and questionnaires at the beginning of the study, after four weeks when the games were switched, and at the end of the study. The children who played DysEggxia for four weeks in a row had significantly less writing errors in the tests that after playing Word Search for the same time. This provides evidence that error-based exercises presented in a tablet help children with dyslexia improve their spelling skills.
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We present Dyseggxia, a game application with word exercises for children with dyslexia. We design the content of the game combining linguistic and pedagogical criteria as well as corpus analysis. The main contributions are (i) designing exercises by using the analysis of errors written by people with dyslexia and (i) presenting Spanish reinforcement exercises in the form of a computer game. The game is available for free on iOS and Android.
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The Mannheim ACCA study was designed to provide data on the etiology and course of mental disorders from childhood to adulthood. The objective of this study was to determine the long-term prospects for children with a specific reading and spelling disability concerning school performance, professional life, psychopathology, and self-perception. 31 8-yr-old dyslexics were compared with 45 children with other specific developmental disorders and a control group of 231 subjects. Children with specific developmental disorders showed a worse school performance than the control group. Compared with the control group, the dyslexics showed more psychopathological symptoms and a higher rate of unemployment. It is concluded that the presence of dyslexia at the age of 8 yrs has an unfavorable prognosis regarding school performance, professional life, and mental development. However, no effect on the self-perception of dyslexics was seen. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Zusammenfassung: Fragestellung: Der Langzeitverlauf der Lese-Rechtschreibstorung bis ins Erwachsenenalter ist bisher kaum untersucht, insbesondere liegen kaum Studien mit deutschsprachigen Kindern vor. Anhand einer Katamnesestudie von ehemaligen Schulern der Christophorus Schule Oberurff wird die Entwicklung der Rechtschreibleistung, der Intelligenz, der psychischen und sozialen Entwicklung von lese- und rechtschreibschwachen Schulern untersucht. Methode: 29 ehemalige Schuler wurden im Durchschnitt nach 20 Jahren nachuntersucht. Die Rechtschreibleistung wurde mit dem Mannheimer Rechtschreibtest (MRT), die Psychische Befindlichkeit mit der Symptom-Checkliste von Derogatis (SCL-90), der Berufserfolg mit der «Magnitude-Prestigeskala» nach Wegener, die Intelligenz mit dem Culture Fair Intelligenztest (CFT 20) und die subjektive Beurteilung mit einem selbst entwickelten Fragebogen erfasst. Ergebnisse: Im Mittel hat sich die Stichprobe um eine halbe Standardabweichung in der Rechtschreibleistung verbessert. Das...