Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Dyslexia May Involve Both Vision And Hearing

Date:
November 10, 2003
Source:
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Summary:
Dyslexia may stem from how the brain processes sight and sound together – rather than simply a problem "decoding" the written word – reported researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center today at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in New Orleans.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Dyslexia may stem from how the brain processes sight and sound together – rather than simply a problem "decoding" the written word – reported researchers from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center today at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in New Orleans.

Related Articles


"For the first time, there is evidence that dyslexia is a multi-sensory disorder," says Mark Wallace, Ph.D., associate professor of neurobiology and anatomy. "It isn't solely a problem with visual processing or with language. This is a novel way of looking at the disorder."

Wallace said the finding could lead to a simple test for early diagnosis – even before school age – and better methods for teaching people with reading disabilities.

"Until now, experts have thought that dyslexia was either a visual processing problem or a problem involving language areas of the brain," said Wallace. "But our study suggests that it's actually a problem combining visual information with auditory information."

For the study, 36 people with dyslexia and 29 people without the disorder were tested on their ability to tell which of two lights appeared first. The participants sat in front of a video monitor and pushed a button to report their perception. In both dyslexic and non-dyslexic individuals, sounds presented through headphones were found to help performance.

When lights were accompanied by a sound, participants were better at discriminating lights presented very close together in time. For participants without dyslexia, the sound needed to occur within about 150 milliseconds of the light to get such a benefit. Longer intervals failed to help. People with dyslexia, however, showed benefits even with delays as long as 350 milliseconds.

. "In essence, the brain fuses things that happen very close together in time, and for dyslexics, this fusion appears to happen over longer periods of time than in non-dyslexic persons," said Wallace. "We believe this time difference is the fundamental problem that dyslexics have when learning to read. Early reading involves matching what you see with what you hear. But in dyslexics, we believe this matching process is disrupted. The sights and sounds of words are inappropriately matched. So, while the average person very quickly matches the written word "dog" with the sound "dog," a child with dyslexia may have much more difficulty."

Lynn Flowers, Ph.D., a co-researcher and assistant professor of neuropsychology, said the study demonstrates that lifelong dyslexic individuals integrate visual and auditory information differently than good readers. "The study did not use letters and speech sounds, suggesting that there may be a very basic sensory integration deficit in dyslexia that underlies reading difficulties," Flowers said.

Wallace said the finding suggests better ways to teach people with reading disabilities.

"We believe that the most effective approaches will use a combination of visual and auditory cues," he said. "Because the brain is very changeable in young children, we hope that by using such methods early, we could change the brain's architecture so that the children could process sight and sound normally."

He said the finding provides a basis for the effectiveness of a method called the Orton-Gillingham approach that relies on the use of sight and sound together to teach reading.

Wallace said the test could be used for early diagnosis because it doesn't involve reading, just the ability to push a button when a light comes on.

The researchers are now using functional magnetic resonance imaging, a technology for viewing the brain and seeing which areas "light up" when they are activated, to learn more about the disorder.

"We're exploring what happens in the brain when a person with dyslexia reads," said Wallace. "The future is exciting. We hope this is the first in a long series of studies to learn more about this common and often debilitating disorder."

###

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center is a health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University School of Medicine that operates 1,291 acute care, rehabilitation and long-term care beds.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "Dyslexia May Involve Both Vision And Hearing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 November 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/11/031110054404.htm>.
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. (2003, November 10). Dyslexia May Involve Both Vision And Hearing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/11/031110054404.htm
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "Dyslexia May Involve Both Vision And Hearing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/11/031110054404.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

City Divided: A Look at Model Schools in the TDSB

The Toronto Star (Jan. 27, 2015) Model schools are rethinking how they engage with the community to help enhance the lives of the students and their parents. Video provided by The Toronto Star
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Man Saves Pennies For 65 Years

Rooftop Comedy (Jan. 26, 2015) A man in Texas saved every penny he found for 65 years, and this week he finally cashed them in. Bank tellers at Prosperity Bank in Slaton, Texas were shocked when Ira Keys arrived at their bank with over 500 pounds of loose pennies stored in coffee cans. After more than an hour of sorting and counting, it turned out the 81 year-old was in possession of 81,600 pennies, or $816. And he&apos;s got more at home! Video provided by Rooftop Comedy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

How Technology Is Ruining Snow Days For Students

Newsy (Jan. 25, 2015) More schools are using online classes to keep from losing time to snow days, but it only works if students have Internet access at home. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

Weird Things Couples Do When They Lose Their Phone

BuzzFeed (Jan. 24, 2015) Did you back it up? Do you even know how to do that? Video provided by BuzzFeed
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins