Dyslexia is a term commonly used to refer to severe and pervasive reading impairment in otherwise normal children. Because dyslexia technically refers to reading disability in brain injured patients, organic disorder has been one of the most frequently cited reasons for why Johnny can't read. It is also one of the most misunderstood and expensive problems known to psychologists and educators. Millions of dollars are spent annually on research, assessment, and treatment programs for dyslexia from which concerned parents and teachers have sought help. Most of the research on the subject however has been characterized by poorly designed experiments, informal observations, and equivocal results.
This book makes available the first systematic and comprehensive treatment of dyslexia. It carefully examines the problem, points out the flaws in many of the educational techniques currently being used for training dyslexics, and presents new theories as to what constitutes specific reading disability.
The book is divided into three sections. Part I considers the various definitions of dyslexia that have been offered, discusses the problems inherent in choosing a meaningful research population, and surveys the major theories of this disorder from the turn of the century to the present.
Part II examines in detail the four major conceptions of dyslexia outlined in the first section—visual perception, intersensory integration, serial processing, and verbal processing. Here, Vellutino provides evidence suggesting that, contrary to popular belief, dyslexic children do not see letters backward. Instead, he suggests that specific reading disability is associated with deficiency or disorder in one or more aspects of linguistic functioning, or in visual-verbal association learning, and discusses research that supports these possibilities.
The first two sections of the book are summarized in Part III, which also suggests areas of future research and discusses the implications of research findings for the development of assessment and treatment programs for dyslexia.
The analyses, conclusions, and suggestions in this study will be of particular interest to specialists and students in developmental psychology, learning disability, education, linguistics, speech and hearing, pediatrics, neurology, and reading theory.
"A meticulously comprehensive treatment of the much-misconstrued topic of dyslexia. Divided into three major sections, the book first presents an extensive review of dyslexia research of the last 85 years. Various definitions of the condition are explored and attention is given to the methodological problems inherent to such research. The second portion of the book is devoted to a rigorous critique of the specific studies upon which the more prominent theories of dyslexia are based. The final section includes an overview and integration of the previously discussed topics, emphasizing suggestions for future research and implications for diagnosis and treatment. Although there is a proliferation of information on dyslexia, Vellutino's contribution is outstanding. Scholarly and research-oriented, it will be much used by serious students of developmental psychology, education, and reading theory."
"The book is well written, well integrated, and represents a skillful professional level of achievement."
—Carl L. Kline, M.D., American Journal of Orthopsychiatry