There is an ongoing debate about whether the cause of dyslexia is based on linguistic, auditory, or visual timing deficits. To investigate this issue three interventions were compared in 58 dyslexics in second grade (7 years on average), two targeting the temporal dynamics (timing) of either the auditory or visual pathways with a third reading intervention (control group) targeting linguistic word building. Visual pathway training in dyslexics to improve direction-discrimination of moving test patterns relative to a stationary background (figure/ground discrimination) significantly improved attention, reading fluency, both speed and comprehension, phonological processing, and both auditory and visual working memory relative to controls, whereas auditory training to improve phonological processing did not improve these academic skills significantly more than found for controls. This study supports the hypothesis that faulty timing in synchronizing the activity of magnocellular with parvocellular visual pathways is a fundamental cause of dyslexia, and argues against the assumption that reading deficiencies in dyslexia are caused by phonological deficits. This study demonstrates that visual movement direction-discrimination can be used to not only detect dyslexia early, but also for its successful treatment, so that reading problems do not prevent children from readily learning.
Lawton, T. (2016). Improving dorsal stream function in dyslexics by training figure/ground motion discrimination improves attention, reading fluency, and working memory. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 10, 16. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2016.00397