Current Status of Treatments for Dyslexia: Critical Review

Ann W. Alexander, MD; Anne-Marie Slinger-Constant, MD

Disclosures

J Child Neurol. 2004;19(10):744-758. 

In This Article

Treatments Related to the Cerebellar or Motor System

Fawcett et al. and Nicolson and Fawcett reported that many children with dyslexia perform poorly on tests assessing cerebellar processing.[45,56] The cerebellum helps control eye movements that impact reading and might also have a role in phonologic processing (mentally sounding out the letters in a word).[57] This is supported by the connection between the right cerebellum and left temporoparietal areas. Structural MRI studies by Eckert and colleagues found a decreased right cerebellar volume in their dyslexic population.[58] Based on this hypothesis of the role of the cerebellum in phonologic and other reading-related processes, an intervention has been developed, the Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Attention Deficit Treatment—an exercise-based approach to the remediation of dyslexia and related disorders. Reynolds et al. conducted a study using this approach in a population of junior high school students (mean age 9 years, 4 months) identified as being at potential risk of dyslexia by the Dyslexia Screening Test.[59,60] Although significant improvements in balance, dexterity, and eye movement control, along with reported improvements in reading, were described, methodologic flaws in the research design and problematic analysis and interpretation of the results rendered these findings of limited use in determining whether these interventions aimed at improving cerebellar function indeed result in improvement in the oral and written language skills of children with reading difficulties. The program is available commercially at the Dore Achievement Centers. It involves a home program administered daily by the parents, with supervision by the center. The International Dyslexia Association does not endorse it but encourages future methodologically sound studies to validate the efficacy of this intervention.

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