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Video Games Might Help People with Dyslexia


Dyslexia is a learning disorder. It interferes with the ability to recognize words and, for some people, to understand what they have read. Experts say dyslexia affects about five to ten percent of the population of the United State. Researchers have long known that people with dyslexia write or read words and letters backwards, in the wrong order. But a new study shows that dysiexic people may have trouble redirecting their attention between senses. It suggests that such individuals may have trouble moving quickly from what they read to what they hear. The findings were published in the journal Current Biology.

Vanessa Harrar of Britain's University of Oxford led the study. She tested 17 people with dyslexia and 19 others without any reading problems. The volunteers were asked to push a button as quickly as possible when they heard a sound, saw a light or experienced both together. Doctor Harrar compared the speed of their reactions. She found that people with dyslexia were just as fast as the others when they saw only a picture or heard only a sound. But the dyslexics had a slower reaction time when they heard a sound and saw a picture at the same time.

Doctor Harrar thinks that playing action video games could help dyslexic people move more quickly from seeing to hearing. She adds that fast moving images in video games force the eyes to move quickly. She says the games train the attention system to move quickly. The study also showed that dyslexic people might learn more quickly if they heard the sound of a letter or word before seeing it. This may affect how dyslexic children are taught to read.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Laural Bowman.