games might help people with dyslexia
improve their ability to read, a new study suggests.
Dyslexia, which affects between 5%and 10% of people, is a learning disorder
that causes problems with reading and writing.
Standard methods of reading instruction might be counterproductive for
people with dyslexia, according to the study, which was published in the
journal Current Biology.
The researchers tested people with dyslexia and discovered that they have
difficulty managing competing sights and sounds.
Cross-sensory shift of attention
"Imagine you are having a conversation with someone when suddenly you
hear your name uttered behind you," study author Vanessa Harrar, of the
University of Oxford, in England, said in a journal news release.
"Your attention shifts from the person you are talking to – the visual – to the sound behind you," she said. "This is an example of a
cross-sensory shift of attention. We found that shifting attention from visual
to auditory stimuli is particularly difficult for people who have dyslexia
compared to good readers."
Harrar and her colleagues said programs to help people with dyslexia might
need to take these findings into account. In traditional approaches to reading,
letters are first seen and then heard, they said.
"We think that people with dyslexia might learn associations between
letters and their sounds faster if they first hear the sound and then see the
corresponding letter or word," Harrar said.
Shifting attention quickly
The researchers also suggested that video games might prove useful in
helping people with dyslexia improve their reading and writing skills.
"We propose that training people with dyslexia to shift attention
quickly from visual to auditory stimuli and back – such as with a video game,
where attention is constantly shifting focus – might also improve
literacy," Harrar said.
"Action video games have been shown to improve multitasking skills and
might also be beneficial in improving the speed with which people with dyslexia
shift attention from one task, or sense, to another," she said.
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