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Neuropsychologia. 2012 Dec;50(14):3681-92. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2012.07.016. Epub 2012 Jul 20.

When 'slime' becomes 'smile': developmental letter position dyslexia in English.

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Department of Cognitive Science, ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia.

Erratum in

  • Neuropsychologia. 2013 May;51(6):1143-4.


We report the first three cases of selective developmental letter position dyslexia in English. Although the parents and teachers of the children were concerned about these children's reading, standard tests did not reveal their deficit. It was only when the appropriate target words were presented, in this case, migratable words, that their letter position dyslexia was detected. Whereas previous research has described cases with acquired and developmental forms of letter position dyslexia in Hebrew and Arabic readers, this is the first report of this type of reading disorder in English. The cardinal symptom of letter position dyslexia is the migration of letters within the word (reading slime as 'smile'; pirates as 'parties'). These migration errors occur in reading aloud as well as in tasks of silent reading. This study provides further evidence that migration errors emerge at the level of early visual-orthographic analysis, in the letter position encoding function. Alternative explanations for the occurrence of migration errors such as poor phonological processing or a deficit in the orthographic input lexicon are ruled out.

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