Dyslexia 'not caused by poor eyesight'

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Experts have cast doubt on the popular belief that dyslexia is a visual disorder, as a new large-scale study suggests dyslexia is not linked to eyesight problems.


Eyesight is ‘very unlikely’ to be the cause of reading problems, experts say

Researchers from Bristol and Newcastle universities carried out eye tests on more than 5,800 children, finding that those with dyslexia were no more or less likely to have any sight or eye-related problems.

This raises doubts on the efficiency or coloured overlays and lenses to help dyslexic children with reading.

The study examined the eyes of dyslexic and non-dyslexic children and found that problems such as short or long sightedness, squints or difficulties in focusing were not more prevalent in dyslexic children.

A majority of dyslexic children were found to have ‘perfect vision,’ according to the report.

According to the report’s co-author, Alexandra Creavin, eyesight is ‘very unlikely’ to be the cause of reading problems.

Separately, another leading expert and University of Cambridge professor, Usha Goswami, is also on record as sating that dyslexia is not a visual disorder.

She believes that children can overcome dyslexia with the help of nursery rhymes, dancing and singing.

Ms Goswami, a professor of cognitive developmental neuroscience who spent ten years studying children’s brains, found that the learning disorder is caused by an inability to hear the rhythm of words when they are being spoken.

She explained that contrary to popular belief, dyslexia is a language disorder rather than a visual disorder and is not linked to intelligence.

‘Psychological tests have shown that children who have dyslexia struggle with the sound structure of the spoken language,’ she told the audience in Hay-on-Wye recently.

Children with the condition are therefore unable to hear the rhythm of words when they are being spoken, rather than reading words incorrectly.

Ms Goswani recommends clapping games, music, nursery rhymes as well as dancing.

‘All kinds of rhythmic experiences can be helpful,’ she said, adding that marching to The Grand Old Duke of York would also help children in the case of dyslexia.

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