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Executive Functions in Braille Reading and Individuals With Visual Impairments

Jessica E Schultz, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Executive functions are higher order mental processes individuals use during academic tasks (Diamond, 2013). Few studies examined executive functions in braille reading. Additionally, most studies located by the primary researcher were studies analyzing group differences between individuals with visual impairments and those who are sighted and showed mixed results. There were three goals of this study: 1) To determine the contribution of executive functions to braille reading, 2) To determine if these are the same (or different) from print, 3) to determine if group differences exist between those who are visually impaired and those who are sighted. Visually impaired and sighted participants were recruited for this study. All data was analyzed to ensure statistical assumptions were met. To address the first goal, a set of five regression equations were conducted with age, auditory discrimination and onset of visual impairment held constant. To address the second goal, a set of moderator analyses were conducted with age and auditory discrimination held constant. Lastly, to address the third goal, a set of ANCOVAs (with age as the covariate) were conducted. Results suggest that executive functions do not strongly relate to braille reading, although working memory relates to print reading more than braille reading. This is important, as working memory strategies and supports may not be as effective for braille readers. Additionally, the results of the ANCOVA suggest that there are no differences between visually impaired and sighted participants. However, many of these null results could be a function of the study being underpowered.

Subject Area

Special education|Disability studies

Recommended Citation

Schultz, Jessica E, "Executive Functions in Braille Reading and Individuals With Visual Impairments" (2023). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI30489396.