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Untitled Document

Lydia Timms

The relationship between literacy outcomes of Aboriginal school children in Perth and their ear health and hearing

This project involved an assessment element and an intervention element. Both involved Indigenous students enrolled in pre-primary, year one and year two at schools in Perth. These children had been screened by the Telethon Earbus and had up to 5 sets of results indicating the presence of otitis media and Hearing Loss in their years of school.

The assessment was a culturally modified version of the Queensland University Inventory of literacy and assessed literacy and pre literacy skills of the children. We then investigated whether the outcomes varied in children with differing ear health. Results indicate that a control group of non-Indigenous participants scored significantly higher on the assessment and that there was no difference between the Indigenous students who did not have otitis media in their early school years and those that had one or more episodes. The same was recorded when comparing hearing loss.

The assessment was a culturally modified version of the Queensland University Inventory of literacy and assessed literacy and pre literacy skills of the children. We then investigated whether the outcomes varied in children with differing ear health. Results indicate that a control group of non-Indigenous participants scored significantly higher on the assessment and that there was no difference between the Indigenous students who did not have otitis media in their early school years and those that had one or more episodes. The same was recorded when comparing hearing loss.

The intervention was a culturally modified version of the Gail Gillon Phonological Awareness Program and was conducted with small groups of students twice a week for a total of 15 hours. We investigated whether the presence of otitis media impacted the progress of the students. All students improved significantly across the treatment period and this result remained for most of the literacy outcomes when accounting for maturation expected due to normal schooling. Both students with and without OM in their school years progressed at a similar rate.

We are in the final stages of writing up the results and discussing the future of the project including documenting the cultural modification and reporting on the success of the literacy intervention with these children.

Publications
Timms, L., Grauaug, S., & Williams, C. (2012). Middle Ear Disease and Hearing Loss in School-Aged Indigenous Western Australian Children. Asia Pacific Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing, 15(4), 277-290. doi: 10.1179/136132812804731794

Timms, L., Williams, C., Stokes, S., & Kane, R. (2014). Literacy skills of Australian Indigenous school children with and without otitis media and hearing loss. International Journal of Speech Language Pathology, 16(3), 327-334