Some 5 to 17 percent of all children have developmental dyslexia, or unexplained reading difficulty. When a parent has dyslexia, the odds jump to 50 percent. Typically, though, dyslexia isn’t diagnosed until the end of second grade or as late as third grade — when interventions are less effective and self-esteem has already suffered.
“It’s a diagnosis that requires failure,” says Nadine Gaab, PhD, an investigator in Boston Children’s Hospital’s Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience.
But a new study led by Gaab and lab members Nicolas Langer, PhD, and Barbara Peysakhovich finds that the writing is on the wall as early as infancy — if only there were a way to read it and intervene before the academic, social and emotional damage is done.
In 2012, the Gaab Lab showed that pre-readers with a family history of dyslexia (average age, 5½) havedifferences in the left hemisphere of their brains on magnetic resonance image (MRI). “The first day they step in a kindergarten classroom, they are already less well equipped to learn to read,” Gaab says.
Some researchers have proposed that the difference reflects being raised by a dyslexic parent — perhaps, for example, being read to less. But could the difference be innate? To get at this question, Gaab and colleagues performed advanced MRI brain imaging on 14 infants with a family history of dyslexia and 18 infants of similar age with no such family history.
Read the full post on Vector: For dyslexia, writing is often on the wall from birth.
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