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By : Juhi Sinha


This is to certify that Juhi Sinha of Class

XII-A has completed her project under my
supervision and guidance and to my full satisfaction.
I also certify that information contained in this
project is true and authentic to best of my knowledge.


I would like to thank my BIOLOGY Teacher

Mrs. Pratalekha Majjumdar for her interest and
valuable guidance without which the work could not
have been completed. I would also like to express
my deep appreciation to my colleagues for providing
me with their valuable suggestions and comments for
improvement of project.
Most importantly I would like to thank the board for
providing me with such a nice opportunity that
helped me to get a better insight and a practical
knowledge about the subject.
Juhi Sinha

To study about the disease Dyslexia,
its causes and effects on people.

The word 'dyslexia' comes from the Greek and means
'difficulty with words. It is a difference in the brain
area that deals with language. It affects the underlying skills that are needed for learning to read, write
and spell. Brain imaging techniques show that
dyslexic people process information differently.
People with dyslexia tend to be right brain thinkers.
The right hemisphere of the brain is associated with
creativity, intuition, imagination, patterns and holistic
view of the world. The left hemisphere is associated
with activities requiring sequencing, ordering, and
the use of language, such as reading, writing, spelling
timekeeping and organisation.
Around 4% of the population is severely dyslexic. A
further 6% have mild to moderate problems. Dyslexia
occurs in people from all backgrounds and of all
abilities. Dyslexic people, of all ages, can learn
effectively but often need a different approach to suit
their learning style.
Dyslexia is a puzzling mix of both difficulties and
strengths. It varies in degree and from person to
person Support can be provided based on individual
need, in relation to the person dyslexic difficulties.

Each case of dyslexia is different and should be

viewed individually.
Possible strengths

Innovative thinkers
Excellent trouble shooters
Intuitive problem solving
Creative in many different ways
Lateral thinkers

Possible difficulties

Reading hesitantly
Misreading, making understanding difficult
Difficulty with sequences, e.g. getting dates in
Poor organisation or time management
Difficulty organising thoughts clearly or
structuring written work
Erratic spelling
Poor short-term memory

Dyslexia is a subtle and complex syndrome not easily

defined, however, the following definition provides
not only a comprehensive overview of the
difficulties, but offers a more positive and
encouraging way to view dyslexia:
Dyslexia is a neurological difference or dysfunction
in persons of any IQ level, from below average to
gifted. It is a neurological status which may cause
academic difficulties and impede the ability to
organize, plan and schedule effectively. As a status, it
is permanent and irreversible. Many dyslexics have
in common a history of frustration and failure,
especially in school. The difficulties, however, are
surmountable. Dyslexics also have uncommon gifts,
skills and talents in many fields; the creative arts,
architecture engineering, construction mathematics
physics, electronics, computer science, law, medicine,
banking and finance, sports entertainment and
others. In the best circumstances, dyslexia is an
opportunity to excel.
What causes Dyslexia?
Dyslexia can be hereditary, so other family members
may show similar characteristics, or it may be
acquired, for instance through minor damage at birth,
head injury, illness or stroke.

Although dyslexia cannot be made to disappear, its

effects may be much reduced when people with
dyslexia learn in ways that suit them, and at their own
speed. Dyslexic people can create and adapt
strategies to help them to overcome many of their
Scientific research
Theories of developmental dyslexia
The following theories should not be viewed as
competing, but viewed as theories trying to explain
the underlying causes of a similar set of symptoms
from a variety of research perspectives and
Research using functional brain scan technology

A University of Hong Kong study argues that

dyslexia affects different structural parts of children's
brains depending on the language which the children
read. The study focused on comparing children that
were raised reading English and children raised
reading Chinese. Using MRI technology researchers
found that the children reading English used a
different part of the brain than those reading Chinese.

Researchers were surprised by this discovery and

hope that the findings will help lead them to any
neurobiological cause for dyslexia.
Research also indicates
Genetic factors
Studies have linked several forms of dyslexia to
genetic markers. One major genetic study identified a
region on chromosome 6, DCDC2, as possibly linked
to dyslexia.
As of 2007, genetic research in families with dyslexia
have identified nine chromosome regions that may be
associated with susceptibility to dyslexia. However,
several of the major studies have not been replicated.
Modern neuroimaging techniques such as functional
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Positron
Emission Tomography (PET) have produced clear
evidence of structural differences in the brains of
children with reading difficulties. It has been found
that people with dyslexia have a deficit in parts of the
left hemisphere of the brain involved in reading,
which includes the inferior frontal gyrus, inferior
parietal lobule, and middle and ventral temporal

Scientific studies of brains donated to medical

research have revealed that there are anatomical
differences in two parts of the dyslexic brain: the
cerebral cortex and the thalamus. In 1979 Albert
Galaburda of Harvard Medical School noticed
anatomical differences in the language center in a
dyslexic brain, showing microscopic differences
known as ectopias and microgyria. Both affect the
typical six-layer structure of the cortex. An ectopia is
a collection of neurons that have pushed up from the
lower layers of the cortex into the outermost one. A
microgyrus is an area of cortex that includes only
four layers instead of six. These differences affect
connectivity and functionality of the cortex in critical
areas related to auditory processing and visual
processing, which seems consistent with the
hypothesis that dyslexia stems from a phonological
awareness deficit.
Studies of both autopsied brains and living brains
using neuroimaging techniques have shown that the
brains of dyslexic children are symmetrical, unlike
the asymmetrical brains of non-dyslexic readers who
had larger left hemispheres.
Scientists do not claim that all people with dyslexia
have these structural brain differences. However, the
studies are evidence that some children's reading

problems are brain based. The challenge for

researchers is to determine how these structural
differences affect reading acquisition.

Effect of language orthography

Some studies have concluded that speakers of
languages whose orthography has a highly consistent
correspondence between letter and sound (e.g.,
Italian) suffer less from the effects of dyslexia than
speakers of languages where the letter-sound
correspondence is less consistent (e.g. English and
In one of these studies, reported in Seymour et al., the
word-reading accuracy of first-grade children of
different European languages was measured. English
children had an accuracy of just 40%, whereas among
children of most other European languages accuracy
was about 95%, with French and Danish children
somewhere in the middle at about 75%; Danish and
French are known to have an irregular pronunciation.
However, this does not mean that dyslexia is caused
by orthography: instead, Ziegler et al. claim that the
dyslexia suffered by German or Italian dyslexics is of
the same kind as the one suffered by the English
ones, supporting the theory that the origin of dyslexia

is biological. In a study by Paulescu et al. (Science,

2001) English, French, and Italian dyslexics were
found to have the same brain function signature when
studied with functional magnetic resonance imaging
(fMRI), a signature that differed from non-dyslexic
readers. However, dyslexia has more pronounced
effects on orthographically difficult languages, e.g.,
dyslexics have more difficulty in English than Italian.
Modern theories of some forms of dyslexia uses
orthography to test a hypothesis of psychological

Formal diagnosis of dyslexia is made by a qualified
professional, such as a neurologist or an educational
psychologist. Evaluation generally includes testing of
reading ability together with measures of underlying
skills such as tests of rapid naming, to evaluate short
term memory and sequencing skills, and nonword
reading to evaluate phonological coding skills.
Evaluation will usually also include an IQ test to
establish a profile of learning strengths and
weaknesses. However, the use of a "discrepancy"
between full scale IQ and reading level as a factor in

diagnosis has been discredited by recent research. It

often includes interdisciplinary testing to exclude
other possible causes for reading difficulties, such as
a more generalized cognitive impairment or physical
causes such as problems with vision or hearing.
Recent advances in neuroimaging and genetics
provide evidence that could potentially help identify
children with dyslexia before they learn to read in the
future. However, such tests have not yet been
developed and more research is needed before such
testing could be considered reliable.
Speech, hearing and listening
Speech delays may be an early warning sign of
dyslexia. Many dyslexics may have problems
processing and decoding auditory input prior to
reproducing their own version of speech. Early
stuttering or cluttering can also be warning signs of
Many dyslexics also can have problems with
speaking clearly. They can mix up sounds in multisyllabic words (ex: aminal for animal, bisghetti for
spaghetti, hekalopter for helicopter, hangaberg for
hamburger, mazageen for magazine, etc.) They also
can have problems speaking in full sentences. They
can have trouble correctly articulating Rs and Ls as

well as Ms and Ns. They often have "immature"

speech. They may still be saying "wed and gween"
instead of "red and green" in second or third grade.
Many dyslexics might have speech therapy in special
education. They may have fast speech, cluttered
speech, or hesitant speech.
Reading requires the sounding out of words.
Therefore, it makes sense that children with speech
problems can end up having reading problems later.
Many have problems with speech due to problems
with auditory processing disorder issues.
Many dyslexics have problems with phonemic
awareness. Phonemes are the smallest units in spoken
language. The Auditory related underlying causes of
dyslexia may be partially remediated by auditory
therapy or speech therapy, which help with phonemic
awareness. This may help to make sense of phonics
which may help with phonological awareness, which
is needed to sound out words.
Many acquire auditory processing disorder as an
underlying cause of dyslexia from glue ear, otitis
Some shared symptoms of the speech/hearing deficits
and dyslexia:
1. Confusion with before/after, right/left, and so on

2. Difficulty learning the alphabet

3. Difficulty with word retrieval or naming
4. Difficulty identifying or generating rhyming
words, or counting syllables in words
(phonological awareness)
5. Difficulty with hearing and manipulating sounds
in words (phonemic awareness)
6. Difficulty distinguishing different sounds in
words (auditory discrimination)
7. Difficulty in learning the sounds of letters
8. Difficulty associating individual words with their
correct meanings
9. Difficulty with time keeping and concept of time
10. Confusion with combinations of words
11. Due to fear of speaking incorrectly, some
children become withdrawn and shy or become
bullies out of their inability to understand the
social cues in their environment

Reading and spelling

Spelling errors Because of difficulty learning

letter-sound correspondences, individuals with

dyslexia might tend to misspell words, or leave

vowels out of words.
Letter order - Dyslexics may also reverse the
order of two letters especially when the final,
incorrect, word looks similar to the intended
word (e.g., spelling "dose" instead of "does").
Highly phoneticized spelling - Dyslexics also
commonly spell words inconsistently, but in a
highly phonetic form such as writing "shud" for
"should". Dyslexic individuals also typically
homophones such as "their" and "there".
Vocabulary - Having a small written vocabulary,
even if they have a large spoken vocabulary.

Writing and motor skills

Because of literacy problems, an individual with
dyslexia may have difficulty with handwriting. This
can involve slower writing speed than average or
poor handwriting characterised by irregularly formed
letters. They may use inappropriate words when
Some studies have also reported gross motor
difficulties in dyslexia, including motor skills
disorder. This difficulty is indicated by clumsiness
and poor coordination. The relationship between
motor skills and reading difficulties is poorly

understood but could be linked to the role of the

cerebellum and inner ear in the development of
reading and motor abilities.

Mathematical abilities
Dyslexia should not be confused with dyscalculia, a
learning disability marked by severe difficulties with
mathematics. Individuals with dyslexia can be gifted
in mathematics while having poor reading skills.
However, in spite of this they might have difficulty
with word problems (i.e., descriptive mathematics,
engineering, or physics problems that rely on written
text rather than numbers or formulas). Individuals
with dyslexia may also have difficulty remembering
mathematical facts, such as multiplication tables,
learning the sequence of steps when performing
calculations, such as long division, and other
mathematics which involve remembering the order in
which numbers appear. This may be exhibited by
having a slow response in mathematical drills and
difficulty with word problems.
Creativity, arts, business
Dyslexic people often have a natural flair for one or
more of the arts such as music, dance, drawing or

acting. Dyslexic people also often possess a natural

ability to see patterns in noise, producing creative
abstract ideas pulled out of what many would look
upon as mundane sensory environments.
A study has found that entrepreneurs are five times
more likely to suffer from dyslexia than average

There is no cure for dyslexia, but dyslexic individuals

can learn to read and write with appropriate
education or treatment. There is wide research
evidence indicating that specialized phonics
instruction can help remediate the reading deficits.
The fundamental aim is to make children aware of
correspondences between graphemes and phonemes,
and to relate these to reading and spelling. It has been
found that training, that is also focused towards
visual language and orthographic issues, yields
longer-lasting gains than mere oral phonological

Emotional aspects
Whilst most of the work around Dyslexia tends to be
focused on coping with the learning difficulties in
reading and writing there is also a need to understand
how Dyslexia affects an individual's emotional
"In some cases, people have 'coping strategies'
which cease to work in certain circumstances
(for example, where someone who stutters or has
dyslexia is placed under stress). If it is possible
that a person's ability to manage the effects of
the impairment will break down so that these
effects will sometimes occur, this possibility must
be taken into account when assessing the effects
of the impairment."
Some disagreement exists as to whether dyslexia
does indeed exist as a condition, or whether it simply
reflects individual differences among different
"The Dyslexia Myth" is a documentary that appeared
as part of the Dispatches series produced by British
broadcaster Channel 4. First aired in September 2005,
it claims to expose myths and misconceptions that
surround dyslexia. It argues that the common

understanding of dyslexia is not only false but makes

it more difficult to provide the reading help that
hundreds of thousands of children desperately need.
Drawing on years of intensive academic research on
both sides of the Atlantic, it challenged the existence
of dyslexia as a separate condition, and highlighted
the many different forms of reading styles.








I have observed very similar

symptoms in three children who I
have been helping in school. None
of these children get any help in
their schools at this time and the boys have been
branded as possible behavioral and lazy problem

Difficulty copying from the board

My learner says he has these
difficulties copying from the board:
Not enough time to copy from the
I lose my place. I try hard but get
lost. It takes me a long time to check
nearly every word to find my place. It is easier in
the dyslexia group because I can ask where I am.
When my teacher checks my work I have lots of
I don't like having to stay in to finish copying from

I can't read the joined up writing, I don't always

I never know what I have written.
I can't see the words on the whiteboard. They can
move around and sometimes I see two words the
I can read the board better in the dyslexia support
group because the teacher writes on a blue
Difficulty copying homework from the board
The first week of school my grandson came home
every day very angry. I or his mother started going
to school for the last period to see if we could detect
the problem.
I noticed that Josh became very frustrated when his
homework assignments were written
on the new white eraser board in
black small letters. Josh sits toward
the back of the room in a cluster of
five desks pushed together. The
teacher writes their assignments on
the eraser board approximately four
minutes before the last bell rings.
Josh has a very hard time putting down the numbers
and letters on his assignment page in the proper

Evolutionary hypothesis
This theory posits that reading is an unnatural act,
and carried out by humans for an exceedingly brief
period in our evolutionary history (Dalby, 1986). It
has been less than a hundred years that most western
societies promoted reading by the mass population
and therefore the forces that shape our behavior have
been weak. Many areas of the world still do not have
access to reading for the majority of the population.
There is no evidence that "pathology" underlies
dyslexia but much evidence for cerebral variation or
differences. It is these essential differences that are
taxed with the artificial task of reading. The native
reading hypothesis of dyslexia is another
evolutionary theory which argues that because
spoken language is naturally learned in the first few
years of development, similarly, written language is
best learned at the same early age. It suggests that
many forms of dyslexia are therefore, to some extent,
a result of introducing reading too late in
neurodevelopment. This means that the typically late
reading of dyslexics might sometimes be the cause of
dyslexia, rather than the other way around, and many
cases of dyslexia might be prevented by the earlier
introduction of reading instruction.

Phonological hypothesis
The phonological hypothesis postulates that dyslexics
have a specific impairment in the representation,
storage and/or retrieval of speech sounds. It explains
dyslexics' reading impairment on the basis that
learning to read an alphabetic system requires
learning the grapheme/phoneme correspondence, i.e.
the correspondence between letters and constituent
sounds of speech. If these sounds are poorly
represented, stored or retrieved, the learning of
grapheme/phoneme correspondences, the foundation
of reading by phonic methods for alphabetic systems,
will be affected accordingly.
Rapid auditory processing theory
The rapid auditory processing theory is an alternative
to the phonological deficit theory, which specifies
that the primary deficit lies in the perception of short
or rapidly varying sounds. Support for this theory
arises from evidence that dyslexics show poor
performance on a number of auditory tasks, including
frequency discrimination and temporal order
judgment. Backward masking tasks, in particular,
demonstrate a 100-fold (40 dB) difference in
sensitivity between normals and dyslexics. Abnormal
neurophysiological responses to various auditory
stimuli have also been demonstrated. The failure to

correctly represent short sounds and fast transitions

would cause further difficulties in particular when
such acoustic events are the cues to phonemic
contrasts, as in /ba/ versus /da/. There is also
evidence that dyslexics may have poorer categorical
perception of certain contrasts.
Cerebellar theory
Yet another view is represented by the
automaticity/cerebellar theory of dyslexia. Here the
biological claim is that the dyslexic's cerebellum is
mildly dysfunctional and that a number of cognitive
difficulties ensue. First, the cerebellum plays a role in
motor control and therefore in speech articulation. It
is postulated that retarded or dysfunctional
articulation would lead to deficient phonological
representations. Secondly, the cerebellum plays a role
in the automatization of overlearned tasks, such as
driving, typing and reading. A weak capacity to
automatize would affect, among other things, the
learning of graphemephoneme correspondences.
Support for the cerebellar theory comes from
evidence of poor performance of dyslexics in a large
number of motor tasks, in dual tasks demonstrating
impaired automatization of balance, and in time
estimation, a non-motor cerebellar task. Brain
imaging studies have also shown anatomical,

metabolic and activation

cerebellum of dyslexics.




Magnocellular theory
There is a unifying theory that attempts to integrate
all the findings mentioned above. A generalization of
the visual theory, the magnocellular theory postulates
that the magnocellular dysfunction is not restricted to
the visual pathways but is generalized to all
modalities (visual and auditory as well as tactile).
Furthermore, as the cerebellum receives massive
input from various magnocellular systems in the
brain, it is also predicted to be affected by the general
magnocellular defect (Stein et al., 2001). Through a
single biological cause, this theory therefore manages
to account for all known manifestations of dyslexia:
visual, auditory, tactile, motor and, consequently,
phonological. Beyond the evidence pertaining to each
of the theories described previously, evidence
specifically relevant to the magnocellular theory
includes magnocellular abnormalities in the medial as
well as the lateral geniculate nucleus of dyslexics'
brains, poor performance of dyslexics in the tactile
domain, and the co-occurrence of visual and auditory
problems in certain dyslexics.