U-of-L Researcher Shows New Link Between Dyslexia, Autism

by scrosby on July 21, 2009

A University of Louisville neuroscientist has research published today in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders that establishes a new link between autism and dyslexia.

Dr. Manuel Casanova says he conducted his research on human brains through autopsies.

He says researchers previously considered autism and dyslexia problems with brain development or size, but his research shows otherwise.

“That’s almost like a paradigm shift. It’s a different perspective of looking at the problem,” says Casanova. “But now we’re thinking about circuitry. The thing that joins autism and dyslexia together is circuitry.”

In fact, Casanova says in terms of brain circuitry, autism and dyslexia are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Therefore, he says, they’re working to develop new treatments for dyslexia that model existing autism treatments, but that work in the opposite way.

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annie July 21, 2009 at 5:18 pm

Autism treatments do not work very well. It would be good to encourage fathering all babies by a man’s 35th birthday though.

Ann Millan July 22, 2009 at 8:04 pm

I am the parent of a 38 year old daughter with autism. I am excited about the research link with autism and dyslexia.
Why? In 1980 I read the book, “The Solution to the Riddle of Dyslexia” by Harold Levinson, M.D. He since has written 6 other books.
I took our daughter to Dr. Levinson and he started her on a regiment of vitamins and Dramanine. Dramanine was too strong for her and he put her on Marezine. She was on it for ten years daily, .25 mg. I took her off, thinking she didn’t need it anymore. Frustrated with her regression I put her back on it in her 20’s. She’s been on it every since and I can tell when she doesn’t take it. She now takes .50 mg a day.
Our daughter is chemincally sensitive, that we’ve know for years. She is currently on the DAN protocol with GFCF diet. And she is on the Marezine.
I’m glad you are looking at the connection. I definitely see that it helps her.
Oh, today she is working two jobs (cashier at Publix and Receptionist at the YMCA), she drives her own car, lives in her own condo, is a part of her community. She loves her life.
Keep up the connection.

Jeri Johnson July 22, 2009 at 10:25 pm

I am a parent of an 11 year old who was diagnosed with dyslexia 4 years ago. It was odd for him to be diagnosed with dyslexia because he was reading at the 5th grade level in kindergarten. He was/is a sensitive boy and he is very smart, perceptive, and very shy, and quiet. By second grade it was real obvious he knew how to read, but could not spell AT ALL. He could not even see the words in the right order when he wrote them. He is 11 and he can spell better, read really well (9th grade level), and he is still a bit shy and sensitive. He does take everything literal, and has a hard time with high order learning questioning. I just never felt dyslexia was the right label for him. This Spring I found the term hyperlexia in a book. It is a brain circuitry problem. Hyperlexia is on the Asperberger’s Spectrum, but it has some traits of dyslexia too.–The problem is getting the right diagnosis. I have a Special Ed teaching endorsement, and I could not even help get my son the right diagnosis for 4 years!!–Perhaps, I may try getting him to a DAN doctor to try and see if this can help him too.–I am excited to learn more about this connection between autism and dyslexia. I hope dyslexia/hyperlexia start being acknowledged more in the schools and in the medical profession. If you hear any more about this connection, please post. Thanks.

Cindy July 22, 2009 at 11:56 pm

You can be dyslexic and still compensate well enough to read many years above grade level. It is not at all uncommon among very gifted dyslexics. Dyslexia does not mean “can’t read”. It can be surprisingly global in it’s effects. What you describe sounds like stealth dylexia, which describes my son very well.

One thing to look at is comprehension. If your son reads but doesn’t understand, that may be a hyperlexia issue, but the inability to spell sounds quite dyslexic.

Wendi July 24, 2009 at 10:14 am

Interesting they feel that autism and dyslexia are on opposite ends of a brain circuitry spectrum! I have Asperger AND dyslexia.

For you parents out there… I LOVE to read, though I’m very slow. It has been a lot better since I got my Irlen filters a few years ago.

I’m 42 and when I was in school, they did absolutely nothing for me other than try to humiliate me in front of my peers so I would “try harder” and keep sending notes home to my parents to tell them I had to practice reading at home (I was already reading at home as much as possible) – I am so glad they at least recognize dyslexia now and all that stuff is HOPEFULLY in the past (though I have 3 kids of my own on the spectrum and realize not all of it is gone!)

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