Volume 48, Issue 2 p. 611-624
Original Article

A pilot study of the use of emerging computer technologies to improve the effectiveness of reading and writing therapies in children with Down syndrome

Vanessa G. FelixLuis J. Mena

Corresponding Author

Luis J. Mena

Address for correspondence: Dr Luis J. Mena, Computer Sciences Department, Universidad Politecnica de Sinaloa, Mazatlan 82199, Sinaloa, Mexico. Email: [email protected]Search for more papers by this author
Rodolfo OstosGladys E. Maestre
First published: 23 February 2016
Citations: 36


Despite the potential benefits that computer approaches could provide for children with cognitive disabilities, research and implementation of emerging approaches to learning supported by computing technology has not received adequate attention. We conducted a pilot study to assess the effectiveness of a computer-assisted learning tool, named “HATLE,” for children with Down syndrome. The tool helps to improve reading and writing abilities in Spanish, through mobile computing, multimedia design, and computer speech-recognition techniques. An experimental design with nonequivalent groups was used to assess the effectiveness of HATLE. The treatment group was taught using HATLE; the control group received typical instructions with the same material. Individual literacy achievement was assessed for both groups, before and after therapy sessions. The dependent variables in all analyses were posttest scores, adjusted via Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) for pretest variance. Differences between treatment and control groups were statistically significant in favor of the HATLE group on measures of Single-Word Reading (p = 0.048) and Handwriting-Form (p = 0.046) with large effect sizes (d > 0.8). Results indicate that HATLE might be effective in supporting computer-aided learning for children with intellectual disabilities. The results are discussed in terms of limitations and implications.