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Visual Attentional Deficits in Reading Disability

Author(s): Vandana Rajaram, OD, PhD | Vasudevan Lakshminarayanan, PhD

Journal: Optometry & Visual Performance
ISSN 2325-3479

Volume: 1;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 141;
Date: 2013;
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Keywords: costs and benefits | dyslexia | spatial attention | specific reading disability

Background: Dyslexia, also referred to as specific reading disability, is a condition where an individual demonstrates a level of reading that is significantly below what may be expected for his age or intelligence. Although the phonological deficit theory of dyslexia is widely accepted, there is accumulating evidence suggesting that at least a subset of dyslexic subjects demonstrate distinct visual attentional deficits. However, it is unclear if the magnitude of visual attention at attended and unattended locations is equivalent in poor and normal readers. The aim of the present study was to examine differences in the magnitude of attentional facilitation (benefits) and inhibition (costs) in response to an abrupt onset spatial cue in children with reading disabilities in comparison to controls. Methods: A group of impaired readers (n=15), ages nine to 12 years, reading at a level at least 1.5 years below grade level and with average mathematics scores, were included in this study. The control group included an age-matched sample of normal readers (n=20). An adaptation of the covert orienting paradigm was used to investigate differences in magnitude of visual spatial attention between groups.Results: Poor readers demonstrated smaller costs (t=2.07, p

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