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International Expert - Colloquium on Dyslexia: Present State of Research 1997

Greifswald, Germany

Sponsored by
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, The Auswärtige Amt in Bonn, The Bundesverband Legasthenie, and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern

During the Annual Meeting of the German Association of Dyslexia 1997 in Greifswald an International Colloquium was organized by Burkhart Fischer and Monica Biscaldi from the University of Freiburg. The goal was to present the latest results from the different fields of research and to arrive at statements on the present state of research on dyslexia.

What is Dyslexia?

  1. The reading and spelling processes are extremely complex and require coordination of many brain functions. Problems can arise at one or more functional levels.
  2. Developmental dyslexia is a neurobiologically-based deficit in acquiring reading and spelling skills, relative to the person's general intellectual abilities.
  3. Dyslexia is suggested by discrepancy between performance on intelligence tests and reading/spelling tests. Distinguishing between pure dyslexia and reading/spelling problems arising without neurological causes is often difficult.

What causes dyslexia?

  1. Genetic factors seem to play a role in many cases of dyslexia. Linkage to chromosomes 6 and 15 have been confirmed and others are being investigated. At the present time, no genetic diagnostic test is available.
  2. Dyslexia has been associated with "abnormal" neuroanatomical and neurofunctional characteristics.
  3. There is currently evidence for a variety of processing impairments associated with reading/spelling disability, including phonological deficits and impairments in temporal and attentional aspects of visual and auditory processing, and motor control.
  4. Impaired optomotor control and binocular instability can be associated with reading/spelling problems.
  5. Sensory impairments in vision and audition can contribute to the development of reading/spelling problems.
  6. Progress is being made in the development of methods for assessing various aspects of processing related to reading and spelling disabilities.

Remediation of dyslexia

  1. Before considering other treatments for reading/spelling problems, peripheral sensory deficits in vision and audition should be treated.
  2. Encouraging reading disabled children to read is important, since the practice of reading increases reading skills. Children with reading problems often avoid reading, which contributed to slow skill development. Parental assistance and computer aided reading can help in encouraging children to read. Severe cases must be regarded and treated as diseases.
  3. Since there are different types of impairments underlying reading disorders, it is necessary to identify the type of remediation for particular persons. Training in phonological awarness and phonological coding has been shown to be helpful to many children. Effectiveness of other types of sensory-motor training, including their temporal aspects, are being investigated.
  4. Many methods are proposed for the remediation of dyslexia that have not been established to be effective using well- controlled studies. Parents and teachers should be careful in purchasing expensive equipment or programs on which adequate research has not been performed.

The authors: A. Warnke (Würzburg, Germany); G. Schulte-Körne (Marburg, Germany); S. Smith (Boulder, USA); H. Wimmer (Salzburg, Austria); J. Stein (Oxford, England); N. v. Steinbüchel (München, Germany); M. Biscaldi (Freiburg, Germany); G. McConkie (University of Illinois, USA); J. Hyöna (Turku, Finland); B. Fischer (Freiburg, Germany). Assisted by a teacher, I. Weigt (Kiel, Germany) and a dyslexic mother with two dyslexic children, U. Jung (Bosau, Germany).


Contributions to the Expert-Colloquium in Greifswald, Germany, 1997

Andreas Warnke, K. Hennighausen, and H. Remschmidt (University of Würzburg, Germany):
"Dyslexia: anatomical and functional conditions of cortical information processing"

Gerd Schulte-Körne, T. Grimm, M. Nöthen, and H. Remschmidt (University of Marburg, Germany):
"Genetics of reading and spelling disability - Results of family studies and linkage analyses"

Shelley Smith and Richard Olson (University of Colorado, USA):
"Genetic and environmental influences in dyslexia"

Gerd Schulte-Körne, W. Deimel, J. Bartling, K. Hennighausen, and H. Remschmidt (University of Marburg, Germany):
"Neurophysiological examination of auditory processing abilities in spelling disabled children and adults"

Heinz Wimmer (University of Salzburg, Austria):
"Is the phonological deficit explanation of dyslexia correct for German dyslexic children?"

John Stein (University of Oxford, England):
"The magnocellular theory of developmental dyslexia"

Nicole von Steinbüchel (University of Munich, Germany):
"Association of temporal discrimination and laguage competence in aphasic patients, reading and writing impaired children, and children with dyslexia"

David Zola, and G. McConkie (University of Illinois, USA):
"Children's word perception: oculomotor control and perceptual strategy"

Monica Biscaldi, and B. Fischer (University of Freiburg, Germany):
"Reflexive and voluntary components of saccade control in dyslexia"

Jukka Hyöna (University of Turku, Finland):
"Dyslexic readers' eye movement patterns in reading and non- reading tasks"

Ivar Lie (University of Oslo, Norway):
"Visual factors in reading difficulties" (Paper referred by J. Stein)


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letzte Änderung: 30. November 2008

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