Archive for the ‘dyslexia’ Category

How otherwise bright people struggle to read

January 5, 2010

We frequently hear from parents of bright kids who are just having a tough time with reading. A new study, published in the January 1, 2010 issue of the journal Psychological Science, looks at the relationship between intelligence and reading ability.

From Medical News Today:

The researchers found that in typical readers, IQ and reading not only track together, but also influence each other over time. But in children with dyslexia, IQ and reading are not linked over time and do not influence one another. This explains why a dyslexic can be both bright and not read well.

The study examined data from the Connecticut Longitudinal Study, an ongoing 12-year study of cognitive and behavioral development in a representative sample of 445 Connecticut schoolchildren. The researchers each child in reading every year and tested for IQ every other year.

From Sally E. Shaywitz, M.D., the Audrey G. Ratner Professor in Learning Development at Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics, and co-director of the newly formed Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity:

“I’ve seen so many children who are struggling to read but have a high IQ,” said Shaywitz. “Our findings of an uncoupling between IQ and reading, and the influence of this uncoupling on the developmental trajectory of reading, provide evidence to support the concept that dyslexia is an unexpected difficulty with reading in children who otherwise have the intelligence to learn to read.”

Typical readers learn how to associate letters with a specific sound. “All they have to do is look at the letters and it’s automatic,” Shaywitz explained. “It’s like breathing; you don’t have to tell your lungs to take in air. In dyslexia, this process remains manual.” Each time a dyslexic sees a word, it’s as if they’ve never seen it before. People with dyslexia have to read slowly, re-read, and sometimes use a marker so they don’t lose their place.

So what’s the answer for parents with otherwise bright kids who struggle with reading? Shaywitz’ previous research into dyslexia suggests that a neurological signature for dyslexia is under activation of the parieto-temporal region of the brain. A Stanford University study that examined brain imaging scans of children with dyslexia who used Fast ForWord programs showed normalization of activity in this critical area of the brain (used for reading). Furthermore, the students in the Stanford study showed significant improvements in reading and oral language skills on a number of assessments.

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