Dyslexia and dyscalculia

Two learning disorders with different cognitive profiles

Karin Landerl*, Barbara Fussenegger, Kristina Moll, Edith Willburger

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    207 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This study tests the hypothesis that dyslexia and dyscalculia are associated with two largely independent cognitive deficits, namely a phonological deficit in the case of dyslexia and a deficit in the number module in the case of dyscalculia. In four groups of 8- to 10-year-olds (42 control, 21 dyslexic, 20 dyscalculic, and 26 dyslexic/dyscalculic), phonological awareness, phonological and visual-spatial short-term and working memory, naming speed, and basic number processing skills were assessed. A phonological deficit was found for both dyslexic groups, irrespective of additional arithmetic deficits, but not for the dyscalculia-only group. In contrast, deficits in processing of symbolic and nonsymbolic magnitudes were observed in both groups of dyscalculic children, irrespective of additional reading difficulties, but not in the dyslexia-only group. Cognitive deficits in the comorbid dyslexia/dyscalculia group were additive; that is, they resulted from the combination of two learning disorders. These findings suggest that dyslexia and dyscalculia have separable cognitive profiles, namely a phonological deficit in the case of dyslexia and a deficient number module in the case of dyscalculia.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)309-324
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
    Volume103
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009

    Keywords

    • Dyscalculia
    • Dyslexia
    • Magnitude comparison
    • Mental number line
    • Number module
    • Phonological deficits

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