If your child has dyslexia, he or she is not alone. Dyslexia is a reading disorder that happens when the brain doesn’t properly recognize and process certain symbols. Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, spelling, and writing difficulty and about 70%-80% of all people with poor reading skills are likely to be dyslexic.
The good news is that dyslexia is treatable. Students who receive specialized education often thrive. Most dyslexics are of average or above average intelligence and just need to be taught in a different manner. In fact, many individuals that have dyslexia also show extraordinary skills in other areas to compensate for the difficulties in reading and spelling.
A new study from Italy found that the learning disability might be linked to problems with children’s visual attention. Researchers said their findings could lead to earlier diagnosis and new treatments for those with the condition.
"Visual attention deficits are surprisingly way more predictive of future reading disorders than are language abilities at the pre-reading stage," Andrea Facoetti, of the University of Padua, said in a journal news release.
Researchers followed children in Italy for three years beginning when they were in kindergarten and just starting to learn to read. They continued their study till the children were in second grade. The scientists analyzed the children’s visual spatial attention, or their ability to distinguish between what is relevant and what is irrelevant, by asking them to identify certain symbols while they were being distracted. The children were also given tests on syllable identification, verbal short-term memory and rapid color naming.
The study found that children who had problems with visual attention also had trouble reading, the researchers said.
"This is a radical change to the theoretical framework explaining dyslexia," Facoetti said. "It forces us to rewrite what is known about the disorder and to change rehabilitation treatments in order to reduce its impact."
The study's authors stated that simple visual-attention tasks would help identify children at risk for dyslexia early on. "Because recent studies show that specific pre-reading programs can improve reading abilities, children at risk for dyslexia could be treated with preventive remediation programs of visual spatial attention before they learn to read," the researchers said in the news release.
The study was published online in the journal Current Biology.
Children with dyslexia who are not diagnosed early may grow frustrated and show signs of depression and low self –esteem. MedicineNet.com has an excellent review of dyslexia with causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options.