One’s intelligence appears unrelated to the specific brain pattern that causes dyslexia, researchers reported Thursday. The findings are important because they suggest that IQ shouldn’t be considered by education specialists when diagnosing dyslexia. In fact, doing say may bar some children from receiving special education services to improve reading comprehension.

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, was undertaken because many educators diagnose dyslexia based on a lag between reading scores and overall IQ scores. Researchers, led by Dr. Fumiko Hoeft at Stanford University, measured brain activity in 131 children ages 7 to 16. The group reflected a range of reading abilities and IQ scores, but evidence of dyslexia was shown to be independent of IQ score.

If IQ score is abandoned as a way to diagnose dyslexia, more children with lower-than-average IQs who have trouble reading should get needed reading-comprehension services.

“The evidence indicates that any child with a reading difficulty, regardless of his or her general level of cognitive abilities (IQ), should be encouraged to seek reading intervention,” the authors wrote.

By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
The study appears in the journal Psychological Science.
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