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Children With Dyslexia May Benefit From Early Musical Games - featured June 28, 2011

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[Source: Medical News Today]

Children with dyslexia often find it difficult to count the number of syllables in spoken words or to determine whether words rhyme. These subtle difficulties are seen across languages with different writing systems and they indicate that the dyslexic brain has trouble processing the way that sounds in spoken language are structured. In a new study published in the June issue of Elsevier's Cortex, researchers at Cambridge have shown, using a music task, that this is linked to a broader difficulty in perceiving rhythmic patterns, or metrical structure.

Martina Huss, Usha Goswami and colleagues gave a group of 10-year-old children, with and without dyslexia, a listening task involving short tunes that had simple metrical structures with accents on certain notes. The children had to decide whether a pair of tunes sounded similar or different. To make two tunes sound "different", the researchers varied the length of the stronger notes. However, it was not the perception of the length of these notes that was shown to affect how succesful a child completed the task, but the child's perception of "rise time", which is the time it takes for a sound to reach its peak intensity. In speech, for example, the rise time of a syllable is the time it takes to produce a vowel. Stressed syllables have longer rise times, so rise time is a critical cue that helps in the perception of rhythmic regularity in speech.

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Tags: News of the Week Dyslexia Newsletter 1 July 2011