Although our understanding of dyslexia continues to grow and accommodations in today’s schools continue to improve, there is still much to learn about the disability. A study published in the Biological Psychiatry online journal reveals more about the dyslexic’s brain functional connectivity. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, a team of researchers at Yale monitored the brains of both nonimpaired (NI) and dyslexic (DYS) readers. They found that the DYS readers showed divergent connectivity when reading, meaning their brain didn’t regularly make the connection between the visual properties of a word and the semantic properties, or meaning of the word. NI readers are able to better integrate visual information about the word into the brain’s processing of the word than DYS readers. The study included both children and adults, and it was additionally discovered that the dyslexic adults still use phonology-based, or “sounding out”, strategies when reading while the nonimpaired readers used more visual identification of the words. Visual-based identification of words is quicker and less laborious than phonology-based identification, which explains why dyslexic adults continue to struggle with reading.

These results found by the Yale researchers deepen our understanding of how the dyslexic’s brain processes words. Knowing that dyslexics have a weaker connection between visual information processing opens doors to new learning aids for struggling dyslexics. Read the published study here in the Biological Psychiatry journal or read the Medical Daily’s summary article here.