<!--:es-->Young kids with asthma may lag in reading skills<!--:-->

Young kids with asthma may lag in reading skills

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Young children who start school with asthma may lag behind their peers in developing reading skills, a new study suggests.
The findings, according to researchers, do not prove that asthma per se is the reason for the gap. But they say it is possible that the lung disease affects young childrens ability to keep up with their peers when it comes to reading.
The study followed 298 New Zealand children through their first year of school. Just over half of the children with asthma had fallen at least six months behind their peers in reading achievement at the end of the year. That compared with a little more than one-third of children without asthma.
The researchers looked at a number of factors that could explain the gap — including the possibility that children with asthma were more likely to be from low-income families, have «poor readiness» for reading or have higher absence rates.
But that was not the case, according to findings published in the medical journal Chest.
«We think our findings suggest that asthma and early reading achievement are linked in some way, which is as yet not explained,» lead researcher Dr. Kathleen A. Liberty, of the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, told Reuters Health in an e-mail.
She said she and her colleagues could only speculate on the potential reasons. But one possibility is that breathing problems come into play.
In New Zealand, Liberty noted, children in their first year of school do very little «silent» reading and instead say words and sentences out loud.
«It appears possible that children with asthma may have difficulties controlling their breathing, or learning to control their breathing while reading aloud — which is a part of the reading process that apparently has had little research,» Liberty explained.
In contrast, childrens early experience with math involves things like writing numbers or matching numbers to pictures of objects. And in this study, children with asthma were not at increased risk of being behind in math ability.
The findings are based on children whose reading and math ability were tested when they entered school and one year later. (In New Zealand, children start first grade when they are 5 years old.)
Just over 18 percent of the children had asthma when they started school. At the end of the year, 51 percent of those children were at least six months behind in reading words, and 55 percent lagged in reading sentences. That compared with 33 percent and 38 percent of children without asthma.
Exactly how asthma might affect childrens longer-term school performance is not clear. Liberty said she and her colleagues are continuing to follow the children in this study to find out more about their school achievement.
For now, she suggested that parents of children with asthma be aware that their kids might have difficulty with reading, and then do whats recommended for all parents — support their childrens learning.
That includes reading with them at home and communicating with teachers and schools. Schools may offer additional help for children struggling with reading or other skills, Liberty noted.
Another question is whether getting young childrens asthma under good control might blunt any negative effects on reading achievement.
Libertys team did account for the childrens asthma severity at the start of the study — which is an indicator of how well their treatment is working. But she said its possible that their asthma severity changed during the course of the school year.
Further research, Liberty said, might help show whether asthma control has an impact.

ESPAÑOL:

Niños pequeños con asma se retrasan en desarrollo de la lectura

NUEVA YORK (Reuters Health) – Los niños pequeños que comienzan la escuela con asma quedarían detrás de sus pares en el desarrollo de las habilidades de lectura.
Esto, según un nuevo estudio, no prueba que el asma cause la brecha. Pero los autores dicen que es posible que la enfermedad pulmonar afecte la capacidad de lectura de los niños.
El equipo siguió a 298 niños de Nueva Zelanda durante el primer año escolar. La mitad de los chicos asmáticos se había retrasado por lo menos seis meses en el desarrollo de la lectura comparado con algo más de un tercio de los niños sin asma al final del año.
Los autores analizaron varios factores que podrían explicar la brecha: que los niños asmáticos sean más propensos a ser de familias de bajos ingresos, que tengan «mala predisposición» para la lectura o que tengan un mayor ausentismo.
Pero ninguno influyó, precisa el equipo en la revista Chest.
«Los resultados sugieren que el asma y el desarrollo de la lectura están asociados de alguna manera, aunque aún no está explicado», dijo la doctora Kathleen A. Liberty, de la Universidad de Canterbury, en Nueva Zelanda. Una posibilidad, indicó, es que influyan los problemas respiratorios.
En Nueva Zelanda, los niños de primer grado aprenden a leer en voz alta. «Es posible que los niños asmáticos no puedan controlar la respiración o aprender a controlarla mientras leen en voz alta, algo que es parte del proceso de aprendizaje sobre el que existe poca investigación», dijo Liberty.
Los resultados surgen de un grupo de niños a los que se les había evaluado la capacidad de lectura y matemática al ingresar a la escuela y al finalizar ese primer año. En Nueva Zelanda, los niños comienzan primer grado cuando tienen 5 años.
El 18 por ciento tenía asma al ingresar a la escuela. Al finalizar el primer año, el 51 por ciento de esos niños estaba retrasado por lo menos seis meses en el desarrollo de la lectura de palabras y el 55 por ciento lo estaba en la lectura de oraciones, comparado con el 33 y el 38 por ciento, respectivamente, de los chicos sin asma.
Se desconoce cómo el asma afecta el rendimiento escolar en el largo plazo. Por ello, Liberty dijo que el esquipo continúa el seguimiento de esta cohorte para conocer sus logros académicos.
Por ahora, la investigadora sugirió que los padres de niños con asma estén atentos a los problemas de lectura que pueden tener sus hijos y que los ayuden con el aprendizaje.

Share