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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2003 Jul;44(5):712-22.

The relationship between motor control and phonology in dyslexic children.

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Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, UK.



The goal of this study was to investigate the automaticity/cerebellar theory of dyslexia. We tested phonological skills and cerebellar function in a group of dyslexic 8-12-year-old children and their matched controls. Tests administered included the Phonological Assessment Battery, postural stability, bead threading, finger to thumb and time estimation.


Dyslexic children were found to be significantly poorer than the controls at all tasks but time estimation. About 77% of dyslexics were more than one standard deviation below controls in phonological ability, and 59% were similarly impaired in motor skills. However, at least part of the discrepancy in motor skills was due to dyslexic individuals who had additional disorders (ADHD and/or DCD). The absence of evidence for a time estimation deficit also casts doubt on the cerebellar origin of the motor deficiency. About half the dyslexic children didn't have any motor problem, and there was no evidence for a causal relationship between motor skills on the one hand and phonological and reading skills on the other.


This study provides partial support for the presence of motor problems in dyslexic children, but does not support the hypothesis that a cerebellar dysfunction is the cause of their phonological and reading impairment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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