The National Institute of Health reports that up to 15 percent of the U.S. population might have dyslexia. As one of the most common learning disabilities, dyslexia has been the subject of much research.
A study published April 2012 in the Current Biology journal suggests that signs of dyslexia are present even before a child begins to read. Dyslexia is a reading disorder that is characterized by the brain having difficulty recognizing and processing certain symbols, such as letters.
While learning disorders such as dyslexia have been thought to be a spoken language problem, this research suggests visual attention is an important component to dyslexia.
In this research study, 96 Italian children in grades Kindergarten through second grade were followed — results show that the children who had difficulty identifying symbols and patterns had more trouble reading later on. The ability to recognize patterns in these symbols and their sounds then impacts speech.
The researchers suggest that including treatments regarding this visual information should be a part of dyslexia therapy. Critics of the study point out that research was completed in Italy, and the relationships between sounds and spelling is more difficult in English than Italian; therefore, the results might not translate as well to English-speaking children.
Photo by Maarten van der Meer