Reading, Dyslexia, and Problematic
Pablo Picasso’s dyslexia is commonly cited as a reassuring example of how a dysfunction in one area doesn’t preclude excellence in another. Unfortunately, the converse is usually the case: problems in one area are very often related to problems in another, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as the Matthew effect: “To all those who have, more will be given.”
In Chapter 5, we noted that there was a connection between dyslexia and dyscalculia. Studies differ in their estimates, but between one-third and two-thirds of all children with dyscalculia also have dyslexia.1,2 There is a similarly strong correlation between attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and an increased risk of both dyslexia and dyscalculia, whereby between twenty and forty percent of those who have the one diagnosis also have the other.3,4 Just how these relationships arise remains something of a mystery, but we can find one clue to the puzzle by looking at how the brain organizes reading and writing. So let us now turn to reading acquisition and the brain areas involved so that we can come a little closer to the crux of dyslexia and to its possible causes.
In the 1980s, neuropsychologist Uta Frith of University College, London, formulated a theory of reading development based on three strategies: (1) logographic; (2) alphabetic; and (3) orthographic.5 The first stage of reading development is the instant