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Cortex. 1996 Jun;32(2):335-45.

Reading skills in children with Turner's syndrome: an analysis of hyperplexia.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Essex, Colchester. tempc@essex.cc.uk


Most neuropsychological studies of cases of chromosomal abnormalities report associations with disorders or disabilities. Studies of Turner's Syndrome (TS), in which their is functional absence of the information carried on the short arm of the second X chromosome, have emphasised disorders of spatial skill and potential abnormality of the parietal lobes or right hemisphere. In contrast, language skills have received little investigation despite suggestions by Shaffer (1962) of considerable verbal skill. This paper reports on an analysis of reading skill, in girls with TS. The girls with TS attained reading levels higher than those predicted on the basis of their age and intelligence. Moreover, they attained significantly higher reading levels than controls. Unlike many previous studies of hyperlexia, reading comprehension was also better than controls. The hyperlexia of the girls with TS was characterised by strength in both lexical reading systems, as assessed by the ability to read irregular words, and strength in alphabetical or phonological reading skills, as assessed by the ability to read long unfamiliar regular words. Hyperlexia need not therefore co-occur with comprehension difficulties nor need it reflect strength in only part of the reading system. In TS it appears to represent a genuine hyperdevelopment of a skill. The strength of reading skill counterbalances the spatial difficulties of a comparable sample of girls with TS (Temple and Carney, 1995), and with other verbal skills may potentially be exploited in remedial enterprises.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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