JOURNAL ARTICLE

An eye movement based reading intervention in lexical and segmental readers with acquired dyslexia

Irene Ablinger, Kerstin von Heyden, Christian Vorstius, Katja Halm, Walter Huber, Ralph Radach
Neuropsychological Rehabilitation 2014, 24 (6): 833-67
24813563
Due to their brain damage, aphasic patients with acquired dyslexia often rely to a greater extent on lexical or segmental reading procedures. Thus, therapy intervention is mostly targeted on the more impaired reading strategy. In the present work we introduce a novel therapy approach based on real-time measurement of patients' eye movements as they attempt to read words. More specifically, an eye movement contingent technique of stepwise letter de-masking was used to support sequential reading, whereas fixation-dependent initial masking of non-central letters stimulated a lexical (parallel) reading strategy. Four lexical and four segmental readers with acquired central dyslexia received our intensive reading intervention. All participants showed remarkable improvements as evident in reduced total reading time, a reduced number of fixations per word and improved reading accuracy. Both types of intervention led to item-specific training effects in all subjects. A generalisation to untrained items was only found in segmental readers after the lexical training. Eye movement analyses were also used to compare word processing before and after therapy, indicating that all patients, with one exclusion, maintained their preferred reading strategy. However, in several cases the balance between sequential and lexical processing became less extreme, indicating a more effective individual interplay of both word processing routes.

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