Date: 13 Dec 2011
Is a cerebellar deficit the underlying cause of reading disabilities?
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.Get Access
This study investigated whether children with dyslexia differed in their performance on reading, phonological, rapid naming, motor, and cerebellar-related tasks and automaticity measures compared to reading age (RA)-matched and chronological age (CA)-matched control groups. Participants were 51 children attending mainstream English elementary schools in Quebec. All participants completed measures of IQ, word and nonword reading fluency, elision, nonword decoding, rapid naming, bead threading, peg moving, toe tapping, postural stability, and muscle tone. Results from both group contrasts and analyses at the individual case level did not provide support for claims of motor–cerebellar involvement in either typical or atypical reading acquisition. Results were more consistent with a phonological core process account of both typical reading and reading difficulty. Phonological deficits for children with dyslexia compared to RA-matched controls were, however, only evident in group contrasts. Findings thus also have important implications for identifying at-risk readers among their same-aged peers.
Ackerman, P. T., & Dykman, R. A. (1993). Phonological processes, confrontational naming, and immediate memory in dyslexia. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 26, 597–609.CrossRef
Annett, M., Hudson, P., & Turner, A. (1974). The reliability of differences between the hands in motor skill. Neuropsychologia, 12, 527–531.CrossRef
Badian, N. A. (1993). Predicting reading progress in children receiving special help. Annals of Dyslexia, 43, 90–109.CrossRef
Bohannon, R. W. (1987). Variability and reliability of the pendulum test for spasticity using a Cybex II isokinetic dynamometer. Physical Therapy, 67, 659–661.
Bowey, J. A., Cain, M. T., & Ryan, S. M. (1992). A reading-level design study of phonological skills underlying fourth-grade children’s word reading difficulties. Child Development, 63, 999–1011.CrossRef
Bowey, J. A., & Hansen, J. (1994). The development of orthographic rimes as units of word recognition. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 58, 465–488.CrossRef
Bradley, L., & Bryant, P. (1983). Categorizing sounds and learning to read: A causal connection. Nature, 301, 419–421.CrossRef
Brookes, R. L., & Stirling, J. (2005). The cerebellar deficit hypothesis and dyslexic tendencies in a non-clinical sample. Dyslexia: An International Journal of Research and Practice, 11, 174–185.
Brown, B., Haegerstrom-Portnoy, G., Herron, J., Galin, D., Yingling, C. D., & Marcus, M. (1985). Static postural stability is normal in dyslexic children. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 18, 31–34.CrossRef
Brown, R. A., Lawson, D. A., Leslie, G. C., MacArthur, A., MacLennan, W. J., McMurdo, M. E., et al. (1988). Does the Wartenberg pendulum test differentiate quantitatively between spasticity and rigidity? A study in elderly stroke and Parkinsonian patients. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, 51, 1178–1186.CrossRef
Brown, R. A., Lawson, D. A., Leslie, G. C., & Part, N. J. (1988). Observations on the applicability of the Wartenberg pendulum test to healthy, elderly subjects. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, 51, 1171–1177.CrossRef
Bruck, M. (1992). Persistence of dyslexics’ phonological awareness deficits. Developmental Psychology, 28, 874–886.CrossRef
Bryant, P., & Goswami, U. (1986). Strengths and weaknesses of the reading level design: A comment on Backman, Mamen, and Ferguson. Psychological Bulletin, 100, 101–103.CrossRef
Campbell, D. T., & Stanley, J. C. (1963). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for field settings. Chicago: Rand McNally College.
Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed.). New York: Academic.
Corp, P. (1999). Wechsler abbreviate scale of intelligence. San Antonio: Psychological Corporation.
Cossu, G., Shankweiler, D., Liberman, I. Y., Tola, G., & Katz, L. (1988). Awareness of phonological segments and reading ability in Italian children. Applied Psycholinguistics, 9, 1–16.CrossRef
Duncan, L. G., & Johnston, R. S. (1999). How does phonological awareness relate to nonword reading skill amongst poor readers? Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 11, 405–439.CrossRef
Fawcett, A. J., & Nicolson, R. I. (1995a). Persistent deficits in motor skill of children with dyslexia. Journal of Motor Behavior, 27, 235–240.CrossRef
Fawcett, A. J., & Nicolson, R. I. (1995b). The dyslexia early screening test. Irish Journal of Psychology, 16, 248–259.
Fawcett, A. J., & Nicolson, R. I. (1996). The dyslexia screening test: Manual. London: Harcourt Brace.
Fawcett, A. J., & Nicolson, R. I. (1999). Performance of dyslexic children on cerebellar and cognitive tests. Journal of Motor Behavior, 31, 68–78.CrossRef
Fawcett, A. J., Nicolson, R. I., & Dean, P. (1996). Impaired performance of children with dyslexia on a range of cerebellar tasks. Annals of Dyslexia, 46, 259–283.CrossRef
Fawcett, A. J., Nicolson, R. I., & Maclagan, F. (2001). Cerebellar tests differentiate between groups of poor readers with and without IQ discrepancy. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 34, 119–135.CrossRef
Fletcher, J. M., Shaywitz, S. E., Shankweiler, D. P., Katz, L., Liberman, I. Y., Stuebing, K. K., et al. (1994). Cognitive profiles of reading disability: Comparisons of discrepancy and low achievement definitions. Journal of Educational Psychology, 86, 6–23.CrossRef
Fowler, E. G., Nwigwe, A., & Wong Ho, T. (2000). Sensitivity of the pendulum test for assessing spasticity in persons with cerebral palsy. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 42, 182–189.CrossRef
Gillon, G., & Dodd, B. J. (1994). A prospective study of relationship between phonological, semantic, and syntactic skills and specific reading disability. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 6, 321–345.CrossRef
Goswami, U. (2006). Sensorimotor impairments in dyslexia: Getting the beat. Developmental Science, 9, 257–259.CrossRef
Goswami, U., & Bryant, P. (1989). The interpretation of studies using the reading level design. Journal of Reading Behavior, 21, 413–424.
Grainger, J., Bouttevin, S., Truc, C., Bastien, M., & Ziegler, J. (2003). Word superiority, pseudoword superiority, and learning to read: A comparison of dyslexic and normal readers. Brain & Language, 87, 432–440.CrossRef
Haggard, P., Miall, R. C., Wade, D., Fowler, S., Richardson, A., Anslow, P., et al. (1995). Damage to cerebellocortical pathways after closed head injury: A behavioural and magnetic resonance imaging study. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, 58, 433–438.CrossRef
Herrmann, J. A., Matyas, T., & Pratt, C. (2006). Meta-analysis of the nonword reading deficit in specific reading disorder. Dyslexia: An International Journal of Research and Practice, 12, 195–221.
Howell, D. C. (2010). Statistical methods for psychology (7th ed.). Belmont: Cengage Wadsworth.
Irannejad, S., & Savage, R. (2009). The cerebellar deficit theory of developmental dyslexia: Evidence and implications for intervention. In C. Wood & V. Connelly (Eds.), Contemporary perspectives on reading and spelling (pp. 254–270). London: Oxford Brookes University.
Jackson, N. E., & Butterfield, E. C. (1989). Reading-level match designs: Myths and realities. Journal of Reading Behavior, 21, 387–412.
Leslie, G. C., Muir, C., Part, N. J., & Roberts, R. C. (1992). A comparison of the assessment of spasticity by the Wartenberg pendulum test and the Ashworth grading scale in patients with multiple sclerosis. Clinical Rehabilitation, 6, 41–48.CrossRef
Miall, R. C., & Christensen, L. O. (2004). The effect of rTMS over the cerebellum in normal human volunteers on peg-board movement performance. Neuroscience Letters, 371, 185–189.CrossRef
Moe-Nilssen, R., Helbostad, J. L., Talcott, J. B., & Toennessen, F. E. (2003). Balance and gait in children with dyslexia. Experimental Brain Research, 150, 237–244.
National Reading Panel. (2000). Teaching children to read: Reports for the subgroups. http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/nrp/report.htm. Accessed 19 December 2008.
Needle, J. L., Fawcett, A. J., & Nicolson, R. I. (2006). Balance and dyslexia: An investigation of adults’ abilities. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 18, 909–936.CrossRef
Nicolson, R. I., Daum, I., Schugens, M. M., Fawcett, A. J., & Schulz, A. (2002). Eyeblink conditioning indicate cerebellar abnormality in dyslexia. Experimental Brain Research, 143, 42–50.CrossRef
Nicolson, R. I., & Fawcett, A. J. (1990). Automaticity: A new framework for dyslexia research? Cognition, 35, 159–182.CrossRef
Nicolson, R. I., & Fawcett, A. J. (1999). Developmental dyslexia: The role of the cerebellum. Dyslexia: The Journal of the British Dyslexia Association, 5, 155–177.
Nicolson, R. I., & Fawcett, A. J. (2006). Do cerebellar deficits underlie phonological problems in dyslexia? Developmental Science, 9, 259–262.CrossRef
Nicolson, R. I., & Fawcett, A. J. (2007). Procedural learning difficulties: Reuniting the developmental disorders? Trends in Neurosciences, 30, 135–141.CrossRef
Nicolson, R. I., Fawcett, A. J., & Dean, P. (2001). Developmental dyslexia: The cerebellar deficit hypothesis. Trends in Neurosciences, 24, 508–511.CrossRef
Nordmark, E., & Anderson, G. (2002). Wartenberg pendulum test: Objective quantification of muscle tone in children with spastic diplegia undergoing selective dorsal rhizotomy. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 44, 26–33.CrossRef
Olson, R., Wise, B., Conners, F., Rack, J., & Fulker, D. W. (1989). Specific deficits in component reading and language skills: Genetic and environmental influences. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 22, 339–348.CrossRef
Pennington, B. F., & Lefly, D. L. (2001). Early reading development in children at family risk for dyslexia. Child Development, 72, 816–833.CrossRef
Raberger, T., & Wimmer, H. (1999). Is poor reading caused by an automatisation deficit? Zeitschrift fur Padagogische Psychologie, 13, 74–83.CrossRef
Raberger, T., & Wimmer, H. (2003). On the automaticity/cerebellar deficit hypothesis of dyslexia: Balancing and continuous rapid naming in dyslexic and ADHD children. Neuropsychologia, 41, 1493–1497.CrossRef
Rack, J. P., Snowling, M. J., & Olson, R. K. (1992). The nonword reading deficit in developmental dyslexia: A review. Reading Research Quarterly, 27, 28–53.CrossRef
Ramus, F., Pidgeon, E., & Frith, U. (2003). The relationship between motor control and phonology in dyslexic children. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry & Allied Disciplines, 44, 712–722.CrossRef
Ramus, F., White, S., & Frith, U. (2006). Weighing the evidence between competing theories of dyslexia. Developmental Science, 9, 265–269.CrossRef
Reynolds, D., & Nicolson, R. I. (2007). Follow-up of an exercise-based treatment for children with reading difficulties. Dyslexia, 13, 78–96.CrossRef
Reynolds, D., Nicolson, R. I., & Hambly, H. (2003). Evaluation of an exercise-based treatment for children with reading difficulties. Dyslexia: The Journal of the British Dyslexia Association, 9, 48–71.
Rochelle, K. S., & Talcott, J. B. (2006). Impaired balance in developmental dyslexia? A meta-analysis of the contending evidence. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 1159–1166.CrossRef
Saklofske, D. H., Caravan, G., & Schwartz, C. (2000). Concurrent validity of the Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI) with a sample of Canadian children. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 16, 87–94.CrossRef
Savage, R. (2007). Cerebellar tasks do not distinguish between children with developmental dyslexia and children with intellectual disability. Child Neuropsychology, 13, 389–407.CrossRef
Savage, R., & Carless, S. (2005). Phoneme manipulation not onset-rime manipulation ability is a unique predictor of early reading. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 46, 1297–1308.CrossRef
Savage, R., Carless, S., & Ferraro, V. (2007). Predicting curriculum and test performance at age 11 from pupil background, baseline skills and phonological awareness at age 5. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 48, 732–739.CrossRef
Savage, R. S., & Deault, L. (2010). Understanding and supporting children experiencing dyslexia and ADHD: The challenge of constructing models incorporating constitutional and classroom influences. In K. Littleton, C. Wood, & J. K. Staarman (Eds.), International handbook of psychology in education (pp. 569–608). Bingley: Emerald.
Savage, R., & Frederickson, N. (2006). Beyond phonology: What else is needed to describe the problems of below-average readers and spellers? Journal of Learning Disabilities, 39, 399–413.CrossRef
Savage, R., Frederickson, N., Goodwin, R., Patni, U., Smith, N., & Tuersley, L. (2005a). Evaluating current deficit theories of poor reading: Role of phonological processing, naming speed, balance automaticity, rapid verbal perception and working memory. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 101, 345–361.
Savage, R., Frederickson, N., Goodwin, R., Patni, U., Smith, N., & Tuersley, L. (2005b). Relationships among rapid digit naming, phonological processing, motor automaticity, and speech perception in poor, average, and good readers and spellers. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 38, 12–28.CrossRef
Savage, R., & Pompey, Y. (2008). What does the evidence say about effective literacy teaching? Educational and Child Psychology, 25, 17–26.
Shaywitz, S. E., Morris, R., & Shaywitz, B. A. (2008). The education of dyslexic children from childhood to young adulthood. Annual Review of Psychology, 59, 451–475.CrossRef
Shaywitz, B. A., Shaywitz, S. E., Blachman, B. A., Pugh, K. R., Fulbright, R. K., Skudlarski, P., et al. (2004). Development of left occipitotemporal systems for skilled reading in children after a phonologically-based intervention. Biological Psychiatry, 55, 926–933.CrossRef
Shipley, R. E., & Harley, R. J. (1971). A device for estimating stability of stance in human subjects. Psychophysiology, 7, 287–292.CrossRef
Siegel, L. S., & Ryan, E. B. (1988). Development of grammatical-sensitivity, phonological, and short-term memory skills in normally achieving and learning disabled children. Developmental Psychology, 24, 28–37.CrossRef
Simos, P. G., Fletcher, J. M., Bergman, E., Breier, J. I., Foorman, B. R., Castillo, E. M., et al. (2002). Dyslexia-specific brain activation profile becomes normal following successful remedial training. Neurology, 58, 1203–1213.
Snowling, M. J. (1981). Phonemic deficits in developmental dyslexia. Psychological Research, 43, 219–234.CrossRef
Snowling, M. (1998). Dyslexia as a phonological deficit: Evidence and implications. Child Psychology & Psychiatry Review, 3, 4–11.CrossRef
Steven, J. (1996). Applied multivariate statistics for social sciences (3rd ed.). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Stillman, B., Phty, D., McMeeken, J., & Phty, D. (1995). A video-based version of the pendulum test: Technique and normal response. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 76, 166–176.CrossRef
Stoodley, C. J., Fawcett, A. J., Nicolson, R. I., & Stein, J. F. (2006). Balancing and pointing tasks in dyslexic and control adults. Dyslexia, 12, 276–288.CrossRef
Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2007). Using multivariate statistics (5th ed.). New York: Pearson Education.
Tallal, P. (2006). What happens when dyslexic subjects do not meet the criteria for dyslexia and sensorimotor tasks are too difficult even for the controls? Developmental Science, 9, 262–264.CrossRef
Thompson, G. B., & Johnston, R. S. (2000). Are nonword and other phonological deficit indicative of a failed reading process? Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 12, 63–97.CrossRef
Torgesen, J. K. (2002). The prevention of reading difficulties. Journal of School Psychology, 40, 7–26.CrossRef
van IJzendoorn, M. H., & Bus, A. G. (1994). Meta-analytic confirmation of the nonword reading deficit in developmental dyslexia. Reading Research Quarterly, 29, 267–275.
Vellutino, F. R., Fletcher, J. M., Snowling, M. J., & Scanlon, D. M. (2004). Specific reading disability (dyslexia): What have we learned in the past four decades? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, 2–40.CrossRef
Wagner, R. K., & Torgesen, J. K. (1987). The nature of phonological processing and its causal role in the acquisition of reading skills. Psychological Bulletin, 101, 192–212.CrossRef
Wagner, R. K., Torgesen, J. K., & Rashotte, C. A. (1999). Comprehensive test of phonological processing. Austin: PRO-ED.
Wesseling, R., & Reitsma, P. (2001). Preschool phonological representations and development of reading skills. Annals of Dyslexia, 51, 203–229.CrossRef
White, S., Milne, E., Rosen, S., Hansen, P., Swettenham, J., Frith, U., et al. (2006). The role of sensorimotor impairments in dyslexia: A multiple case study of dyslexic children. Developmental Science, 9, 237–255.CrossRef
Wilkinson, G. S. (1993). Wide range achievement test 3. Wilmington: Wide Range, Inc.
Woodcock, R. W. (1987). Woodcock reading mastery tests—Revised. Circle Pines: American Guidance Service.
Woodcock, R. W., & Johnson, M. B. (1989). Woodcock–Johnson psycho-educational battery—Revised (WJ-R). Allen: Developmental Learning Materials.
- Is a cerebellar deficit the underlying cause of reading disabilities?
Annals of Dyslexia
Volume 62, Issue 1 , pp 22-52
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer US
- Additional Links
- Balance automaticity
- Cerebellar deficit
- Phonological deficit
- Reading disability
- Reading-level design
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Office of Students with Disabilities (OSD), McGill University, 3600 McTavish Street, Room 3100, Brown Student Services Building, Montreal, Quebec, H3A 1Y2, Canada
- 2. Faculty of Educational and Counseling Psychology, McGill University, 3700 McTavish Street, Montreal, Quebec, H3A 1Y2, Canada