Analysis of breathing during oral reading by young children with and without asthma using non-contact respiratory monitoring methods : a preliminary study of task and reading difficulty effects.
Thesis DisciplineHealth Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
The aim of this research was to investigate the breathing patterns of children aged 5-9 years with asthma as they read aloud stories of increasingly difficulty. Participants were 11 children diagnosed with moderate to severe asthma recruited from an out-patient clinic and 11 gender- and age-matched controls recruited from local schools. Non-contact respiratory monitoring methods were employed to yield acoustic recordings during three non-reading tasks and three reading aloud tasks which increased in difficulty. Measurements included breathing rate, pause time in speech, and time ratio between inspiration between inspiration and expiration (I/E ratio). Pauses that occurred during the reading tasks were classified as either occurring at grammatical junctions where pausing during oral reading would be expected, or at ungrammatical junctions, where pausing was associated with either needing to breath, a reading mistake and/or upon recognition of an unknown word. The acoustic measures were recorded using a free audio editor and recorder programme (Audacity version 2.0.3’) on a Notebook laptop with an inbuilt microphone. The main result indicated that 82% of children with asthma breathed more slowly when reading books that were difficult for them, and this was negatively associated with asthma severity (p=0.046). The findings demonstrated that children with asthma appear to cope when reading more difficult materials by breathing more slowly, pausing for longer ([F(1, 16) = 5.454, p = 0.033]) and increasing expiration time. The current research is the first of its kind and provides a base for future studies to investigate the relationship between breathing and the reading of children with asthma. Questions remain whether this relationship is related to low achievement in reading. Future research to confirm, disconfirm or otherwise is necessary to add to the sparse literature on the breathing of children with asthma while reading aloud.