Research in Developmental Disabilities vol:34 issue:1 pages:372-385
The relations between reading, auditory, speech, phonological and tactile spatial processing are investigated in a Dutch speaking sample of blind braille readers as compared to sighted print readers. Performance is assessed in blind and sighted children and adults. Regarding phonological ability, braille readers perform equally well compared to print readers on phonological awareness, better on verbal short-term memory and significantly worse on lexical retrieval. The groups do not differ on speech perception or auditory processing. Braille readers, however, have more sensitive fingers than print readers. Investigation of the relations between these cognitive and perceptual skills and reading performance indicates that in the group of braille readers auditory temporal processing has a longer lasting and stronger impact not only on phonological abilities, which have to satisfy the high processing demands of the strictly serial language input, but also directly on the reading ability itself. Print readers switch between grapho-phonological and lexical reading modes depending on the familiarity of the items. Furthermore, the auditory temporal processing and speech perception, which were substantially interrelated with phonological processing, had no direct associations with print reading measures.