In addition to an intrinsic difficulty in reading and spelling, one of the defining characteristics of dyslexia is an enduring and pervasive difficulty in phonological coding, such that dyslexic readers find it particularly challenging to process and manipulate the constituent sounds of a language. Coexistent with this finding is the evidence that some dyslexic readers also demonstrate subtle sensory coding problems in the visual and auditory domains. Few theories have been proposed to unite these different findings within a coherent model of reading. Here the evidence for visual, auditory and phonological coding problems in dyslexia is briefly reviewed, and a hypothesis is proposed for how adequate early sensory coding may be intrinsic to phonological awareness and subsequent reading ability. In this hypothesis, a cortical network is assumed that incorporates the visual, auditory and phonological skills of reading. The visual sub‐component of the network is mediated by the dorsal visual pathway, which is responsible for the accurate spatial encoding of letters, words and text. The auditory component of the network in pre‐readers is intrinsic to the development of phonological sensitivity, and then grapheme‐phoneme assimilation as reading skills develop. In this hypothesis, some of the symptoms of dyslexia may result from subtle problems in the encoding of both visual and auditory information and their role in maintaining the synchronicity of the reading network.
Journal of Research in Reading – Wiley
Published: Aug 1, 2005
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