Special Issue "Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Related Developmental Disorders"

A special issue of Brain Sciences (ISSN 2076-3425).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Gloria Di Filippo

Faculty of Psychology, Niccolò Cusano University, Rome, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: developmental dyslexia; deficit in rapid naming; developmental dyscalculia
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Pierluigi Zoccolotti

1. Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
2. Neuropsychology Unit, IRCCS Fondazione Santa Lucia, Rome, Italy
3. ISTC Institute for Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, CNR, Rome, Italy
Website 1 | Website 2 | E-Mail
Interests: disorders of reading; model dyslexia; eye movements in reading

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In this Special Issue of Brain Sciences, we will examine “Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Related Developmental Disorders”. Interest in difficulty in learning to read and write has grown considerably in recent years, in part because of the impact of these deficits on the academic and personal development of affected children. By using a variety of paradigms and theoretical perspectives we have broadened our understanding of these disorders. In fact, cognitive analysis has led to important advances in the analysis of individual differences and on the role of orthographic consistency and the co-morbidity between these and related developmental disorders. Experimental studies using a variety of techniques (i.e., reaction times, evoked potentials and eye movements) have provided input for deciphering the mechanisms involved in the genesis of these disorders. Finally, neuroimaging has provided important breakthroughs on the neural bases of reading and writing disorders.

The aim of this Special Issue is to bring together research from these different perspectives to increase our understanding of reading and writing disorders. Original basic and clinical research, case reports, review articles, meta-analyses and systematic reviews related to this topic are welcomed. We look forward to your valuable contribution to this Special Issue of Brain Sciences.

Prof. Dr. Gloria Di Filippo
Prof. Dr. Pierluigi Zoccolotti
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Dyslexia
  • Dysgraphia
  • Naming deficits
  • Reading acquisition
  • Writing acquisition

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Clinical and Electrophysiological Differences between Subjects with Dysphonetic Dyslexia and Non-Specific Reading Delay
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(9), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8090172
Received: 1 August 2018 / Revised: 3 September 2018 / Accepted: 7 September 2018 / Published: 10 September 2018
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Abstract
Reading is essentially a two-channel function, requiring the integration of intact visual and auditory processes both peripheral and central. It is essential for normal reading that these component processes go forward automatically. Based on this model, Boder described three main subtypes of dyslexia:
[...] Read more.
Reading is essentially a two-channel function, requiring the integration of intact visual and auditory processes both peripheral and central. It is essential for normal reading that these component processes go forward automatically. Based on this model, Boder described three main subtypes of dyslexia: dysphonetic dyslexia (DD), dyseidetic, mixed and besides a fourth group defined non-specific reading delay (NSRD). The subtypes are identified by an algorithm that considers the reading quotient and the % of errors in the spelling test. Chiarenza and Bindelli have developed the Direct Test of Reading and Spelling (DTRS), a computerized, modified and validated version to the Italian language of the Boder test. The sample consisted of 169 subjects with DD and 36 children with NSRD. The diagnosis of dyslexia was made according to the DSM-V criteria. The DTRS was used to identify the dyslexia subtypes and the NSRD group. 2–5 min of artefact-free EEG (electroencephalogram), recorded at rest with eyes closed, according to 10–20 system were analyzed. Stability based Biomarkers identification methodology was applied to the DTRS and the quantitative EEG (QEEG). The reading quotients and the errors of the reading and spelling test were significantly different in the two groups. The DD group had significantly higher activity in delta and theta bands compared to NSRD group in the frontal, central and parietal areas bilaterally. The classification equation for the QEEG, both at the scalp and the sources levels, obtained an area under the robust Receiver Operating Curve (ROC) of 0.73. However, we obtained a discrimination equation for the DTRS items which did not participate in the Boder classification algorithm, with a specificity and sensitivity of 0.94 to discriminate DD from NSRD. These results demonstrate for the first time the existence of different neuropsychological and neurophysiological patterns between children with DD and children with NSRD. They may also provide clinicians and therapists warning signals deriving from the anamnesis and the results of the DTRS that should lead to an earlier diagnosis of reading delay, which is usually very late diagnosed and therefore, untreated until the secondary school level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Related Developmental Disorders)
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Open AccessArticle Dyslexia and Fonts: Is a Specific Font Useful?
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(5), 89; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8050089
Received: 2 April 2018 / Revised: 27 April 2018 / Accepted: 10 May 2018 / Published: 14 May 2018
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Abstract
Nowadays, several books published in different fonts advertised as being particularly suitable for dyslexics are available on the market. Our research aimed to assess the significance of a specific reading font especially designed for dyslexia, called EasyReading™. The performances of good readers and
[...] Read more.
Nowadays, several books published in different fonts advertised as being particularly suitable for dyslexics are available on the market. Our research aimed to assess the significance of a specific reading font especially designed for dyslexia, called EasyReading™. The performances of good readers and dyslexics were compared. Fourth grade primary school students (533 students in total) were assessed based on reading tasks presented with two different layouts: the popular Times New Roman and EasyReading™, in order to investigate whether children’s performances were influenced by the fonts used. The results of the study were both statistically and clinically significant, proving that EasyReading™ can be considered a compensating tool for readers with dyslexia, and a simplifying font for all categories of readers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Related Developmental Disorders)
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Open AccessArticle Rapid Automatized Naming, Verbal Working Memory, and Rhythm Discrimination as Predictors of Reading in Italian Undergraduate Students with and without Dyslexia
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(5), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8050087
Received: 29 April 2018 / Revised: 9 May 2018 / Accepted: 10 May 2018 / Published: 13 May 2018
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Abstract
Whereas the clinical manifestations and the neuropsychological predictors of Developmental Dyslexia (DD) are already well documented in Italian-speaking children, empirical evidence on DD in Italian adults is in contrast rather scarce. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of
[...] Read more.
Whereas the clinical manifestations and the neuropsychological predictors of Developmental Dyslexia (DD) are already well documented in Italian-speaking children, empirical evidence on DD in Italian adults is in contrast rather scarce. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of a subset of neuropsychological skills, which have been identified by previous literature to be related to reading, in the decoding abilities of a group of Italian undergraduates with and without DD. For this purpose, 39 university students aged between 19 and 27 years, 19 of whom with a diagnosis of DD, underwent an assessment battery including standardized reading tests, rapid automatized naming (RAN), verbal working memory, and rhythmic pattern discrimination tests. Cross-group differences confirmed significantly lower performances of undergraduates with DD in all measures but rhythm discrimination, compared to typical readers, thus showing a non-compensated neuropsychological profile. Regression analyses showed that, while reading speed was strongly and uniquely predicted by RAN speed, reading accuracy was concurrently predicted by RAN and rhythmic abilities. Finally, RAN speed emerged as a strong predictor of reading performance and risk of receiving a diagnosis of DD. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Related Developmental Disorders)
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Open AccessArticle Prevalence of Developmental Dyslexia in Spanish University Students
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(5), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8050082
Received: 12 March 2018 / Revised: 24 April 2018 / Accepted: 4 May 2018 / Published: 8 May 2018
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Abstract
A recent concern in the field of dyslexia studies is the lack of awareness and attention to university students suffering from this condition. If this problem is serious in countries where the relative opacity of the writing system allows for an early detection
[...] Read more.
A recent concern in the field of dyslexia studies is the lack of awareness and attention to university students suffering from this condition. If this problem is serious in countries where the relative opacity of the writing system allows for an early detection and, therefore, effective interventions, it is most critical in countries where transparent spelling makes such detection difficult, except in the most severe cases. In Spain, the diagnosis of dyslexia is rare among university-level adults. The present study pursues three aims: (a) to put forward a screening instrument for the detection of university students at risk of dyslexia, (b) to determine the ratio of university students that could be at risk of dyslexia by means of two different procedures, and (c) to create awareness for a disorder that causes hitherto unrecognized difficulties for an important subgroup of the college population. Six hundred and eighty-six university students in four different fields of study within the general area of Social Sciences from a public University in Madrid completed a Spanish-adapted version of a protocol including stress assignment, spelling words and nonwords, and timed phonological working memory of reading and writing task. Results showed that between 1.6% and 6.4% of this population could be at risk of suffering dyslexia. Such risk is not evenly distributed across the four fields of study. As for gender, the first criterion used yields 1.8 males at risk for every female, but the second criterion has as many males as females at risk. Women were significantly better than men in word spelling. Spelling was best predicted by the timed phonological working memory task of reading and writing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Related Developmental Disorders)
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Open AccessArticle Musical Experience, Sensorineural Auditory Processing, and Reading Subskills in Adults
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(5), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8050077
Received: 9 April 2018 / Revised: 20 April 2018 / Accepted: 25 April 2018 / Published: 27 April 2018
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Abstract
Developmental research suggests that sensorineural auditory processing, reading subskills (e.g., phonological awareness and rapid naming), and musical experience are related during early periods of reading development. Interestingly, recent work suggests that these relations may extend into adulthood, with indices of sensorineural auditory processing
[...] Read more.
Developmental research suggests that sensorineural auditory processing, reading subskills (e.g., phonological awareness and rapid naming), and musical experience are related during early periods of reading development. Interestingly, recent work suggests that these relations may extend into adulthood, with indices of sensorineural auditory processing relating to global reading ability. However, it is largely unknown whether sensorineural auditory processing relates to specific reading subskills, such as phonological awareness and rapid naming, as well as musical experience in mature readers. To address this question, we recorded electrophysiological responses to a repeating click (auditory stimulus) in a sample of adult readers. We then investigated relations between electrophysiological responses to sound, reading subskills, and musical experience in this same set of adult readers. Analyses suggest that sensorineural auditory processing, reading subskills, and musical experience are related in adulthood, with faster neural conduction times and greater musical experience associated with stronger rapid-naming skills. These results are similar to the developmental findings that suggest reading subskills are related to sensorineural auditory processing and musical experience in children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Related Developmental Disorders)
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Open AccessArticle Revisiting Strephosymbolie: The Connection between Interhemispheric Transfer and Developmental Dyslexia
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(4), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8040067
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 6 April 2018 / Accepted: 12 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract
The hypothesis that an atypical hemispheric specialization is associated to developmental dyslexia (DD) is receiving renewed interest, lending some support to Orton’s theory. In this article, we investigated whether interhemispheric transfer processes (IHT) are likely to be involved in developmental dyslexia. In this
[...] Read more.
The hypothesis that an atypical hemispheric specialization is associated to developmental dyslexia (DD) is receiving renewed interest, lending some support to Orton’s theory. In this article, we investigated whether interhemispheric transfer processes (IHT) are likely to be involved in developmental dyslexia. In this study, we tested 13 children with developmental dyslexia and 13 matched controls (aged 8 to 13 years) in four different tasks. In a tactile transfer task, the dyslexic children’s performance was less accurate. In a standard Poffenberger paradigm, dyslexic children performed slower than the controls in all conditions and did not show any difference between crossed and uncrossed conditions. Furthermore, they showed an increased asymmetry of performance according to the responding hand, while controls gave more coherent responses. In a visual task of object orientation discrimination, dyslexic children had slower Response Times (RTs) than controls, especially for mirror-reversed objects in the right visual field. Finally, a higher number of dyslexic children showed mirror-drawing or mirror-writing with respect to controls. Our results as a whole show that children with DD are impaired in interhemispheric transfer, although the differences in performance among dyslexic individuals suggest the impairment of different psychophysiological mechanisms. As such, a common origin in terms of connectivity problems is proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Related Developmental Disorders)
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Open AccessArticle Enhanced Sensitivity to Subphonemic Segments in Dyslexia: A New Instance of Allophonic Perception
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(4), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8040054
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 16 March 2018 / Accepted: 22 March 2018 / Published: 26 March 2018
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Abstract
Although dyslexia can be individuated in many different ways, it has only three discernable sources: a visual deficit that affects the perception of letters, a phonological deficit that affects the perception of speech sounds, and an audio-visual deficit that disturbs the association of
[...] Read more.
Although dyslexia can be individuated in many different ways, it has only three discernable sources: a visual deficit that affects the perception of letters, a phonological deficit that affects the perception of speech sounds, and an audio-visual deficit that disturbs the association of letters with speech sounds. However, the very nature of each of these core deficits remains debatable. The phonological deficit in dyslexia, which is generally attributed to a deficit of phonological awareness, might result from a specific mode of speech perception characterized by the use of allophonic (i.e., subphonemic) units. Here we will summarize the available evidence and present new data in support of the “allophonic theory” of dyslexia. Previous studies have shown that the dyslexia deficit in the categorical perception of phonemic features (e.g., the voicing contrast between /t/ and /d/) is due to the enhanced sensitivity to allophonic features (e.g., the difference between two variants of /d/). Another consequence of allophonic perception is that it should also give rise to an enhanced sensitivity to allophonic segments, such as those that take place within a consonant cluster. This latter prediction is validated by the data presented in this paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Related Developmental Disorders)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Reading Deficits in Intellectual Disability Are still an Open Question: A Narrative Review
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(8), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8080146
Received: 12 July 2018 / Revised: 2 August 2018 / Accepted: 3 August 2018 / Published: 7 August 2018
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Abstract
Background. In children with intellectual disability (ID), the acquisition of reading skills constitutes a basic step towards the possibility of independent living, social inclusion and participation. Methods. We carried out a narrative review of the literature on reading fluency and accuracy of individuals
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Background. In children with intellectual disability (ID), the acquisition of reading skills constitutes a basic step towards the possibility of independent living, social inclusion and participation. Methods. We carried out a narrative review of the literature on reading fluency and accuracy of individuals with ID resulting from different genetic syndromes (Fragile X, Williams, Velocardiofacial, Prader-Willi, and Down syndrome). Our aim was to define their reading profiles in light of the dual-route reading model. For this purpose, studies that examined both word and non-word reading in children with ID were included in the analysis. Results. Seventeen studies emerged based on the selection criteria. The results were different depending on the control group used. A deficit in reading non-words emerged in studies that used the reading-level match design but not when standardized scores were used, when controls were age-matched or when a mental age matching was used. Thus, a deficit in reading non-words emerged only in studies that used the reading-level match design. However, severe methodological criticisms were recently raised about the use of this matching design. Conclusions. In view of the methodological problems in using grade equivalents, it is premature to draw definite conclusions about the reading profile of children with ID resulting from different genetic syndromes. In any case, the reviewed evidence provides little support for the idea that children with ID have selective difficulty in phonological reading. Thus, the reading profile of children with ID remains an open question that needs to be investigated by means of methodologically sound research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Related Developmental Disorders)
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Open AccessReview What is Developmental Dyslexia?
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8020026
Received: 11 January 2018 / Revised: 30 January 2018 / Accepted: 2 February 2018 / Published: 4 February 2018
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Abstract
Until the 1950s, developmental dyslexia was defined as a hereditary visual disability, selectively affecting reading without compromising oral or non-verbal reasoning skills. This changed radically after the development of the phonological theory of dyslexia; this not only ruled out any role for visual
[...] Read more.
Until the 1950s, developmental dyslexia was defined as a hereditary visual disability, selectively affecting reading without compromising oral or non-verbal reasoning skills. This changed radically after the development of the phonological theory of dyslexia; this not only ruled out any role for visual processing in its aetiology, but it also cast doubt on the use of discrepancy between reading and reasoning skills as a criterion for diagnosing it. Here I argue that this theory is set at too high a cognitive level to be explanatory; we need to understand the pathophysiological visual and auditory mechanisms that cause children’s phonological problems. I discuss how the ‘magnocellular theory’ attempts to do this in terms of slowed and error prone temporal processing which leads to dyslexics’ defective visual and auditory sequencing when attempting to read. I attempt to deal with the criticisms of this theory and show how it leads to a number of successful ways of helping dyslexic children to overcome their reading difficulties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Related Developmental Disorders)

Other

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Open AccessReply Reply to: “The Relationship between Eye Movements and Reading Difficulties”, Blythe, Kirkby & Liversedge
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060099
Received: 30 May 2018 / Accepted: 31 May 2018 / Published: 4 June 2018
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Abstract
This is my response to the critique by Blythe et al. of my review ‘What is Developmental Dyslexia?’. In this response, I provide greater detail about the evidence supporting the view that faulty eye movement control can cause dyslexics’ visual reading difficulties and
[...] Read more.
This is my response to the critique by Blythe et al. of my review ‘What is Developmental Dyslexia?’. In this response, I provide greater detail about the evidence supporting the view that faulty eye movement control can cause dyslexics’ visual reading difficulties and that impaired development of the visual magnocellular system may be the underlying cause. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Related Developmental Disorders)
Open AccessComment Comments on: “What Is Developmental Dyslexia?” Brain Sci. 2018, 8, 26. The Relationship between Eye Movements and Reading Difficulties
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(6), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8060100
Received: 17 May 2018 / Accepted: 31 May 2018 / Published: 4 June 2018
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Abstract
We are writing in response to the review article: Stein. J. (2018). What is Developmental Dyslexia? Brain Sciences, 8, 26, doi:10.3390/brainsci8020026. We consider that the section entitled, “Eye Movement Control”, presents a misleading characterisation of current empirical and theoretical understanding. We
[...] Read more.
We are writing in response to the review article: Stein. J. (2018). What is Developmental Dyslexia? Brain Sciences, 8, 26, doi:10.3390/brainsci8020026. We consider that the section entitled, “Eye Movement Control”, presents a misleading characterisation of current empirical and theoretical understanding. We outline five specific points relating to Stein’s views on eye movement control and developmental dyslexia with which we disagree and conclude that disruption to oculomotor behaviour occurs as a consequence of processing difficulty that individuals with dyslexia experience as they engage in reading. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Related Developmental Disorders)
Open AccessConcept Paper Is Dyslexia a Brain Disorder?
Brain Sci. 2018, 8(4), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci8040061
Received: 15 January 2018 / Revised: 23 March 2018 / Accepted: 4 April 2018 / Published: 5 April 2018
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Abstract
Specific word reading difficulty, commonly termed ‘developmental dyslexia’, refers to the low end of the word reading skill distribution but is frequently considered to be a neurodevelopmental disorder. This term implies that brain development is thought to be disrupted, resulting in an abnormal
[...] Read more.
Specific word reading difficulty, commonly termed ‘developmental dyslexia’, refers to the low end of the word reading skill distribution but is frequently considered to be a neurodevelopmental disorder. This term implies that brain development is thought to be disrupted, resulting in an abnormal and dysfunctional brain. We take issue with this view, pointing out that there is no evidence of any obvious neurological abnormality in the vast majority of cases of word reading difficulty cases. The available relevant evidence from neuroimaging studies consists almost entirely of correlational and group-differences studies. However, differences in brains are certain to exist whenever differences in behavior exist, including differences in ability and performance. Therefore, findings of brain differences do not constitute evidence for abnormality; rather, they simply document the neural substrate of the behavioral differences. We suggest that dyslexia is best viewed as one of many expressions of ordinary ubiquitous individual differences in normal developmental outcomes. Thus, terms such as “dysfunctional” or “abnormal” are not justified when referring to the brains of persons with dyslexia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dyslexia, Dysgraphia and Related Developmental Disorders)
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