New study on dyslexia and IQ
A lot of people instinctively believe--without really knowing--that poor readers are not especially smart.
A new study by researchers at the Yale School of Medicine and the University of California at Davis explains how it is that exceedingly bright and accomplished people can have great difficulty reading.
What gets in the way of many people’s ability to read is dyslexia, the most common learning disability. It is an unexpected difficulty in reading in people who have the intelligence and motivation thought to be necessary to be fluent readers.
The brains of people with dyslexia have difficulty taking images that they see or hear and turning it into understandable language, explained Sally E. Shaywitz, co-director of the newly formed Center for Dyslexia and Creativity at Yale University.
This mean that someone with dyslexia not only has trouble reading but may also have difficulty speaking quickly. Typical readers can automatically recognize words after seeing them a few times; dyslexics don’t.
There is a range of estimates of the prevalence of dyslexia in the United States but Shaywitz said it may be as high as one in five school-age children.
The new study, by Shaywitz and several other researchers and published this month in the journal Psychological Science, provides empirical evidence for the first time showing that the relationship between IQ and reading over time is not the same for dyslexic readers as it is for non-dyslexics.
In people without dyslexia, intelligence and reading do in fact connect and can influence each other over time. But in dyslexics, IQ and reading are not linked over time and do not have an affect on each other, the researchers showed.
“People expect that if you are a very good reader you must be very smart and if you don’t read well you must not be so smart,” said Shaywitz, who is the Audrey G. Ratner Professor in Learning Development at Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics and one of the country’s leading dyslexia researchers.
“Dyslexia is a paradox because it violates that assumption,” she said. “You can NOT be a great reader and be exceptionally smart.”
I’m going to be writing more about dyslexia in the coming days. Along with an interview with Shaywitz, I will write about some of the difficulties that people with dyslexia face. If you have any stories you’d like me to know, write to me at email@example.com.
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