Otitis media: its relationship with delayed reading and attention deficit disorder

Kindig, Joan Schroeder, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Invernizzi, Marcia, Cu-Curr Instr & Sp Ed, University of Virginia
Bonvillian, John, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia
Deese, James E., Department of Psychology, University of Virginia
Richards, Herbert, Cu-Leadshp Fndns & Pol Studies, University of Virginia

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect that otitis media (OME) has on reading achievement and Attention Deficit Disorder. A group of 20 children, ages 8-10 years, were identified by a pediatric otolaryngologist as having a history of OME involving more than four episodes of the disease before the age of three which is a critical time period for language acquisition. These 20 children were then matched by age, sex, and socio-economic status with a group of children who had no more than one known or documented episode of otitis media during the same time span. These children were administered an Informal Reading Inventory, the McGuffey Spelling Inventory, as well as other phonetic and language tasks. In addition, the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised (WISC-R) was administered. The results were tested for statistical significance using t-tests and the means and standard deviations were compared.

The results of-these--analyses indicate that:

(a) children with histories of OME are significantly behind in reading when compared to their control group.

(b) children with histories of OME are not statistically different from their controls on the Freedom From Distractibility (FFD) factor on the WISC-R. However, one subtest, Arithmetic, which relies heavily on language processing, was a problem for OME children on the FFD. There, the OME children scored significantly lower than their non-otitic controls.

It was concluded that the interruption in hearing because of OME during the critical language acquisition period (birth to three years) probably resulted in a significant delay in reading when the child reached school age. Conversely, children with histories of OME did not appear to have difficulty sustaining attention except on tasks that require specific attention to language.

Note: Abstract extracted from PDF file via OCR.

EDD (Doctor of Education)
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