DOES DYSLEXIA MAKE IT HARD TO LEARN SOUNDS?
The way we acquire new skills, such as riding a bike, is called procedural learning, and scientists think it may affect how people with dyslexia learn speech sound categories.
If that’s true, difficulty processing speech may be an effect of dyslexia, not its cause.
“Most research on the cause of dyslexia has focused on neurological impairments in processing speech sounds that make up words, and how dyslexic individuals have difficulty learning how to map visual letters to those sounds when they are learning to read,” says Lori Holt, a psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University
“Our finding that procedural learning is impaired in dyslexia is important because it links observations of procedural learning deficits in dyslexia, which are not language-specific, with the phonological impairments so typical of dyslexia.”
VIDEO GAME SOUNDS
To determine procedural learning’s role in processing speech sounds, adults with dyslexia and a control group played a video game. Holt developed the game and previously used it to show that it engages procedural learning of speech and non-speech sounds among listeners who do not have dyslexia.