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Attention Dysfunction Subtypes of Developmental Dyslexia

Monika Lewandowska, Rafał Milner, Małgorzata Ganc, Elżbieta Włodarczyk, Henryk Skarżyński

Bioimaging Research Center, World Hearing Center, Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing, Warsaw/Kajetany, Poland

Med Sci Monit 2014; 20:2256-2268

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.890969

Available online:

Published: 2014-11-12

Background: Previous studies indicate that many different aspects of attention are impaired in children diagnosed with developmental dyslexia (DD). The objective of the present study was to identify cognitive profiles of DD on the basis of attentional test performance.
Material and Methods: 78 children with DD (30 girls, 48 boys, mean age of 12 years ±8 months) and 32 age- and sex-matched non-dyslexic children (14 girls, 18 boys) were examined using a battery of standardized tests of reading, phonological and attentional processes (alertness, covert shift of attention, divided attention, inhibition, flexibility, vigilance, and visual search). Cluster analysis was used to identify subtypes of DD.
Results: Dyslexic children showed deficits in alertness, covert shift of attention, divided attention, flexibility, and visual search. Three different subtypes of DD were identified, each characterized by poorer performance on the reading, phonological awareness, and visual search tasks. Additionally, children in cluster no. 1 displayed deficits in flexibility and divided attention. In contrast to non-dyslexic children, cluster no. 2 performed poorer in tasks involving alertness, covert shift of attention, divided attention, and vigilance. Cluster no. 3 showed impaired covert shift of attention.
Conclusions: These results indicate different patterns of attentional impairments in dyslexic children. Remediation programs should address the individual child’s deficit profile.

Keywords: Attention - physiology, Case-Control Studies, Child, Dyslexia - psychology, Neuropsychological Tests, Principal Component Analysis, Reading