Low Auditory-Verbal Cognitive Profile: Α “Risk Factor” for Specific Learning Difficulties in Preschool Children in Greece
Preschool-age children with a low auditory-verbal cognitive profile may be predisposed to develop subsequent learning difficulties. This study, through the use of early diagnostic procedures and a special intervention program, attempts to “balance” these discrepancies. More specifically, aim of the present study is to implement an intervention programme in children being “at risk” for learning difficulties. For the purpose of the present study, the DTLA-2 test was used to assess 420 preschool children aged between 6.0 and 6.4 years. During pretesting, the 420 children were divided into 4 groups according to their cognitive profiles based on the DTLA-2 test assessment. Of the total sample, 40 children according to their low performances in all cognitive verbal and non-verbal sub-tests of DTLA-2 were selected for the final construction of the experimental group (11 boys and 9 girls) and its control group (10 boys and 10 girls). The intervention procedure lasted 3 months and the children attended approximately 20 sessions (20 - 25 minutes each), either individually or in a small group of two or three children. In the three-month follow-up (post-test), a better balance in their cognitive profile was achieved compared to the control group. In a one year follow-up, similar results were detected. More specifically, the differences between the verbal and non-verbal scales of the DTLA-2 test remained significant in the control group, whereas, in the experimental group, no significant differences were detected between the two scales, thus revealing the positive results of intervention, as regards preschool children’s “at risk” specific cognitive profile. These results underline the importance of early diagnosis and appropriate intervention in children with specific cognitive profiles, who are “at risk” for developing subsequent learning difficulties.