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Impaired Performance of Children with Dyslexia on a Range of Cerebellar Tasks

Angela J. Fawcett, Roderick I. Nicolson and Paul Dean
Annals of Dyslexia
Vol. 46 (1996), pp. 259-283
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23769464
Page Count: 25
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Impaired Performance of Children with Dyslexia on a Range of Cerebellar Tasks
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Abstract

It is now thought that the cerebellum is involved in the acquisition of "language dexterity" in addition to its established role in motor skill acquisition and execution. Mild cerebellar impairment, therefore, provides a possible explanation of a range of problems shown by children with dyslexia. The authors have established suggestive evidence in support of this hypothesis in tests of balance and of time estimation. In a further test of the hypothesis, a battery of clinical tests for cerebellar impairment, including tests of muscle tone and of coordination, was administered to matched groups of children with dyslexia and control children aged 10, 14, and 18 years (55 subjects in all). The children with dyslexia showed highly significant impairments on all the cerebellar tests, and significant impairment compared even with reading age controls on 11 of the 14 tasks. Deficits on the majority of tests were among the largest found in our research program. The findings, therefore, provide further intriguing evidence of cerebellar impairment in dyslexia. We speculate that the well-established phonological deficits in dyslexia may arise initially from inefficient articulatory control attributable to cerebellar impairment.

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