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November 1977

Prevention by Specific Perceptual Remediation for Vulnerable First-Graders: Controlled Study and Follow-up of Lasting Effects

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Child Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Ohio State University, Columbus.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1977;34(11):1279-1294. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1977.01770230021001

• In a pretest-posttest design with two matched control groups, 86 first-graders screened as vulnerable to academic failure and behavioral decompensation were each assigned to one of three groups: (1) channel-specific perceptual stimulation, (2) regular academic tutoring (contact controls), or (3) no contact. On most measures, including perceptual and achievement tests and behavior ratings by teachers, group 1 showed more improvement than either of the control groups. Several of these differences were significant (P <.05, two-tailed). In general, the two control groups came closer to each other than to group 1.

With no further intervention, follow-up one year later showed more dramatic significance. On every measure, group 1's improvement surpassed that of the control groups, and diverged from them even more than at posttest; this divergence was significant on most measures. Group 1 improved significantly (P <.05 to P <.01) in reading, lQ, and three behavior scales, while both control groups showed only deterioration on these measures. Group 1 gained five IQ points on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, while the controls lost five. On the Davids Scale, group 1 improved significantly (P <.01) to "probably not hyperkinetic," while both control groups deteriorated to "probably hyperkinetic." The hypothesized mechanism of group 1's behavioral superiority at follow-up was its significant (P <.01) reading improvement, with secondary emotional benefits.

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