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Improving the Reading Skills of Young People with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in Preparation for Adulthood


British Journal of Special Education Volume 41, Number 2, ISSN 0952-3383


Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a progressive genetic condition that affects both muscle and brain. Children with DMD are at risk of psycho-social difficulties such as poor academic achievement and behavioural and socio-emotional problems. This article by Janet Hoskin and Angela Fawcett, both from the University of Swansea, describes how 34 participants with DMD took part in a 36-week online literacy intervention which was delivered in partnership between home and school. The key objective was to improve reading skill. Participants were re-tested at 36 weeks for single word and text level reading, comprehension, fluency, processing and timed single word reading. Pre and post results indicated that children who followed the intervention for 36 weeks made significant improvement in their single word reading (p = <0.0001), timed single word reading (p = <0.0001) and text level reading (p = <0.004). They also made significant improvement in their fluency and comprehension scores. The results showed that children with DMD and related literacy difficulties benefit from a regular, structured and systematic synthetic phonics programme. With young people with DMD increasingly living into adulthood, early literacy intervention is particularly important to ensure optimum career and training opportunities.


Hoskin, J. & Fawcett, A. (2014). Improving the Reading Skills of Young People with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in Preparation for Adulthood. British Journal of Special Education, 41(2), 172-190. Retrieved June 9, 2023 from .

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