Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Thinking More in Dyslexia

It's nice to see more data about non-reading differences and dyslexia. At right, MIT researchers found that dyslexic groups didn't just have less active signals in the posterior pathways important for sound-letter correlations; they also had more activation in prefrontal cortex. And these differences were seen even if dyslexic and non-dyslexic subjects were matched for reading ability.

One possibility is that the extra prefrontal cortex reflects the extra effort (e.g. working memory) required to read to a certain level of proficiency; it's also possible more activation is because dyslexics are using more analytical skills in the reading process.

Many professionals working with dyslexic students notice how many seem to demonstrate such strong analytical skills. Perhaps we are seeing some of this at work in the figure above? (yellow arrows) Of interest too, many gifted dyslexics seem to excel in occupations and research areas that require strong analytical ability (finance, engineering, architecture, high tech, etc.).

Another interesting paper we came across looked at whether dyslexic and non-dyslexic groups preferred different strategies in their analysis of a verbal syllogism. Non-dyslexic subjects were more likely to take a simple verbal substitution strategy(73%), whereas the ratio flipped for the dyslexic group who chose a spatial or more diagrammatic approach (65%) to analyzing the problem. These differences could have quite a lot of implications for teaching and teaching efficacy.

Dissociation between reading ability and dyslexia fMRI pdf
Spatial reasoning and dyslexia


  1. Interesting.
    Thank you

  2. Just found your blog. I will have to come back and read more about dyslexia to see what I can do to help my 8 year old.