The impact of infant executive functions on reading and math outcomes in children with spina bifida: a longitudinal analysis

English, Lianne
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University of Guelph

This thesis investigates the impact of infant executive functions (working memory and inhibitory control), as measured by a delayed response cup task, on preschool and school-age reading and math learning outcomes in typically developing children and children with spina bifida (SB). Latent variable growth curve modeling was used to assess whether initial status and growth in EFs, across three timepoints (12, 18, and 26 months) predicted learning outcomes at 5 years (phonological processing, letter naming, counting, and calculation) and 7.5 years (word decoding, reading fluency, reading comprehension, calculation, math fluency). Overall, results indicated that growth in EFs predicts both reading and math preschool outcomes, but only school-age math outcomes. These results are discussed in relation to the hypothesized cognitive and neurological underpinnings of academic outcomes, and implications for improving learning outcomes for both typically developing children and children with SB.

infant executive functions, working memory, inhibitory control, developing children, reading learning outcomes, math learning outcomes, spina bifida