Dyslexia Brain Research: Universal Applications. (Curriculum Update: The Latest Developments in Math, Science, Language Arts and Social Studies)

District Administration, October 2002 | Go to article overview
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Dyslexia Brain Research: Universal Applications. (Curriculum Update: The Latest Developments in Math, Science, Language Arts and Social Studies)


There's a new reason for districts to offer the best reading instruction for early readers and to identify disabilities when children begin school. Through functional magnetic resonance imaging technology, researchers in the Department of Pediatrics at Yale University have identified a disruption in the neural circuitry for reading in the brains of dyslexic children.

Published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, the study examined the brain wiring of 144 children from ages 7-18 and included both good readers and those with reading disabilities. The research links to a 1998 study of adults, which showed the same disruption and left researchers questioning how long it had existed. "We now can show that there is [early on] a glitch in the wiring--that it persists and that it affects those areas involved in reading fluently," says Sally Shaywitz, a professor of pediatrics at Yale School of Medicine and co-director of the Yale Center for the Study of Learning and Attention.

Shaywitz co-authored the study with her husband, Bennett Shaywitz, a Yale Child Study Center professor of pediatrics and neurology. "Dyslexic children can't use the highly specialized area [of the brain] that is activated in good readers," he says.

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