A Test of the Cerebellar Hypothesis of Dyslexia in Adequate and Inadequate Responders to Reading Intervention


The cerebellar hypothesis of dyslexia posits that cerebellar deficits are associated with reading disabilities and may explain why some individuals with reading disabilities fail to respond to reading interventions. We tested these hypotheses in a sample of students who participated in a grade 1 reading intervention study (n = 174) and a group of typically achieving students (n = 62). At posttest, students were classified as adequately responding to the intervention (n = 82); inadequately responding, with decoding and fluency deficits (n = 36); or inadequately responding, with only fluency deficits (n = 56). Based on the Bead Threading and Postural Stability subtests from the Dyslexia Screening Test – Junior, we found little evidence that assessments of cerebellar functions were associated with academic performance or responder status. In addition, we did not find evidence supporting the hypothesis that cerebellar deficits are more prominent for poor readers with “specific” reading disabilities (i.e., with discrepancies relative to IQ) than for poor readers with reading scores consistent with IQ. In contrast, we found that measures of phonological awareness, rapid naming, and vocabulary were strongly associated with responder status and academic outcomes. These results add to accumulating evidence that fails to associate cerebellar functions with reading difficulties


​Barth, A. E., Denton, C. A., Stoebing, K. K., Fletcher, J. M., Cirino, P. T., Francis, D. J., & Vaughn, S. (2010). A test of the cerebellar hypothesis of dyslexia in adequate and inadequate responders to reading intervention. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 16, 526–536. doi:10.1017/S1355617710000135