Dyslexia is a specific disorder in reading abilities. The aim of this study was to explore whether a short visual attentional training could improve reading capabilities in children with reading disorders by changing their oculomotor characteristics. Two groups (G1 and G2) of 25 children with reading disabilities and who are matched in IQ (intelligence quotient), sex, and age participated in the study. The allocation of a subject to a specific group (G1 = experimental group; G2 = control group) was generated in an unpredictable random sequence. The reading task was recorded twice for G1, i.e., before (T1) and after (T2) 10 min of visual attentional training. Training consisted of oculomotor tasks (saccades and pursuits movements) and searching tasks (three different exercises). For G2, the two reading tasks at T1 and T2 were done at an interval of 10 min instead. We found that at T1, oculomotor performances during reading were statistically similar for both groups of children with reading disabilities (G1 and G2). At T2, the group G1 only improved oculomotor capabilities significantly during reading; in particular, children read faster, and their fixation time was shortest. We conclude that short visual attentional training could improve the cortical mechanisms responsible for attention and reading capabilities. Further studies on a larger number of dyslexic children will be necessary in order to explore the effects of different training types on the visual attentional span given its important role on the orienting and focusing visuospatial attention and on the oculomotor performance in children with dyslexia.
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