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      Sensorimotor Integration in Dyslexic Children under Different Sensory Stimulations


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          Dyslexic children, besides difficulties in mastering literacy, also show poor postural control that might be related to how sensory cues coming from different sensory channels are integrated into proper motor activity. Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the relationship between sensory information and body sway, with visual and somatosensory information manipulated independent and concurrently, in dyslexic children. Thirty dyslexic and 30 non-dyslexic children were asked to stand as still as possible inside of a moving room either with eyes closed or open and either lightly touching a moveable surface or not for 60 seconds under five experimental conditions: (1) no vision and no touch; (2) moving room; (3) moving bar; (4) moving room and stationary touch; and (5) stationary room and moving bar. Body sway magnitude and the relationship between room/bar movement and body sway were examined. Results showed that dyslexic children swayed more than non-dyslexic children in all sensory condition. Moreover, in those trials with conflicting vision and touch manipulation, dyslexic children swayed less coherent with the stimulus manipulation compared to non-dyslexic children. Finally, dyslexic children showed higher body sway variability and applied higher force while touching the bar compared to non-dyslexic children. Based upon these results, we can suggest that dyslexic children are able to use visual and somatosensory information to control their posture and use the same underlying neural control processes as non-dyslexic children. However, dyslexic children show poorer performance and more variability while relating visual and somatosensory information and motor action even during a task that does not require an active cognitive and motor involvement. Further, in sensory conflict conditions, dyslexic children showed less coherent and more variable body sway. These results suggest that dyslexic children have difficulties in multisensory integration because they may suffer from integrating sensory cues coming from multiple sources.

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          Developmental dyslexia: the cerebellar deficit hypothesis.

          Surprisingly, the problems faced by many dyslexic children are by no means confined to reading and spelling. There appears to be a general impairment in the ability to perform skills automatically, an ability thought to be dependent upon the cerebellum. Specific behavioural and neuroimaging tests reviewed here indicate that dyslexia is indeed associated with cerebellar impairment in about 80% of cases. We propose that disorders of cerebellar development can in fact cause the impairments in reading and writing characteristic of dyslexia, a view consistent with the recently appreciated role of the cerebellum in language-related skills. This proposal has implications for early remedial treatment.
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            Coupling of fingertip somatosensory information to head and body sway.

            Light touch contact of a fingertip with a stationary surface can provide orientation information that enhances control of upright stance. Slight changes in contact force at the fingertip provide sensory cues about the direction of body sway, allowing attenuation of sway. In the present study, we asked to which extent somatosensory cues are part of the postural control system, that is, which sensory signal supports this coupling? We investigated postural control not only when the contact surface was stationary, but also when it was moving rhythmically (from 0.1 to 0.5 Hz). In doing so, we brought somatosensory cues from the hand into conflict with other parts of the postural control system. Our focus was the temporal relationship between body sway and the contact surface. Postural sway was highly coherent with contact surface motion. Head and body sway assumed the frequency of the moving contact surface at all test frequencies. To account for these results, a simple model was formulated by approximating the postural control system as a second-order linear dynamical system. The influence of the touch stimulus was captured as the difference between the velocity of the contact surface and the velocity of body sway, multiplied by a coupling constant. Comparison of empirical results (relative phase, coherence, and gain) with model predictions supports the hypothesis of coupling between body sway and touch cues through the velocity of the somatosensory stimulus at the fingertip. One subject, who perceived movement of the touch surface, demonstrated weaker coupling than other subjects, suggesting that cognitive mechanisms introduce flexibility into the postural control scheme.
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              Postural control in children. Coupling to dynamic somatosensory information.

              The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether the coupling between dynamic somatosensory information and body sway is similar in children and adults. Thirty children (4-, 6-, and 8-year-olds) and 10 adults stood upright, with feet parallel, and lightly contacting the fingertip to a rigid metal plate that moved rhythmically at 0.2, 0.5, and 0.8 Hz. Light touch to the moving contact surface induced postural sway in all participants. The somatosensory stimulus produced a broadband frequency response in children, while the adult response was primarily at the driving frequency. Gain, as a function of frequency, was qualitatively the same in children and adults. Phase decreased less in 4-year-olds than other age groups, suggesting a weaker coupling to position information in the sensory stimulus. Postural sway variability was larger in children than adults. These findings suggest that, even as young as age 6, children show well-developed coupling to the sensory stimulus. However, unlike adults, this coupling is not well focused at the frequency specified by the somatosensory signal. Children may be unable to uncouple from sensory information that is less relevant to the task, resulting in a broadband response in their frequency spectrum. Moreover, higher sway variability may not result from the sensory feedback process, but rather from the children's underdeveloped ability to estimate an internal model of body orientation.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                16 August 2013
                : 8
                : 8
                : e72719
                [1 ]Graduate Program in Human Movement Sciences – Institute of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, Cruzeiro do Sul University, São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
                [2 ]Institute of Biosciences, Sao Paulo State University, Rio Claro, São Paulo, Brazil
                University of Chicago, United States of America
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: ARV MR PBF JAB. Performed the experiments: ARV MR PBF JAB. Analyzed the data: ARV MR PBF JAB. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: ARV MR PBF JAB. Wrote the manuscript: ARV MR PBF JAB.

                Copyright @ 2013

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                : 19 March 2013
                : 15 July 2013
                Funding provided by Grant Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo (FAPESP)/Brazil(corresponding author) #2009/16051-8; Assistantship FAPESP/Brazil (ARV) #2010/03676-7 and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico/Brazil (MR) #558552/2010-2. ( http://www.fapesp.br/) ( http://www.cnpq.br/). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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