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Medicine and health science fair project:
What is Dyslexia?




Science Fair Project Information
Title: What is Dyslexia?
Subject: Medicine & Health
Grade level: Elementary School - Grades 4-6
Academic Level: Ordinary
Project Type: Descriptive
Cost: Low
Awards: Second Place, Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair ($50)
Affiliation: Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair
Year: 2010
Description: Main topics: brain functions, parts of the brain, nervous system, what is dyslexia, how the brain reads, comparing a dyslexic and non-dyslexic fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging).
Link: http://www.virtualsciencefair.org/2010/sambxj2
Short Background

What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a broad term defining a learning disability that impairs a person's ability to read, and which can manifest itself as a difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, and/or rapid naming. Dyslexia is separate and distinct from reading difficulties resulting from other causes, such as a non-neurological deficiency with vision or hearing, or from poor or inadequate reading instruction. It is believed that dyslexia can affect between 5 to 10 percent of a given population although there has been no studies to indicate an accurate percentage.

There are three proposed cognitive subtypes of dyslexia: auditory, visual and attentional. Although dyslexia is not an intellectual disability, it is considered both a learning disability and a reading disability. Dyslexia and IQ are not interrelated, since reading and cognition develop independently in individuals who have dyslexia.

The World Federation of Neurology defines dyslexia as "a disorder manifested by difficulty in learning to read despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence and sociocultural opportunity".

MedlinePlus and the National Institutes of Health define dyslexia as "a reading disability resulting from the inability to process graphic symbols".

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke gives the following definition for dyslexia:

    "Dyslexia is a brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person's ability to read. These individuals typically read at levels significantly lower than expected despite having normal intelligence. Although the disorder varies from person to person, common characteristics among people with dyslexia are difficulty with spelling, phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds), and/or rapid visual-verbal responding. In adults, dyslexia usually occurs after a brain injury or in the context of dementia. It can also be inherited in some families, and recent studies have identified a number of genes that may predispose an individual to developing dyslexia".

The Cerebellar Theory asserts that a mildly dysfunctional cerebellum can cause dyslexia. The cerebellum contributes to motor control during the articulation of speech, and the Cerebellar Theory proposes that articulation problems can contribute to the phonological processing deficits that can cause dyslexia. The Cerebellum also contributes to the automatisation of learnt behaviors, which includes learning the grapheme–phoneme relationships when reading text. And there are other supposed reasons for dyslexia.

There is no cure for dyslexia, but dyslexic individuals can learn to read and write with appropriate educational support.

See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyslexia

Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)

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