The Phonological Processing Deficit (PPD) hypothesis remains the most influential theory to explain why some children fail to acquire appropriate reading skills. However, current research suggests that there may be other deficits operating, and that the phonological processing deficit may be just one manifestation of a deeper underlying anatomical syndrome that originates in the cerebellar or vestibular areas of the brain. Claims that exercise regimes or programmes of vestibular stimulation may provide a ‘cure’ for developmental dyslexia (specific reading difficulties) prompt scepticism among the scientific community and raise concerns about the exploitation of vulnerable parents. The paper provides a review of research into the causes of specific reading difficulties at the behavioural, cognitive and biological level of explanation, and considers whether or not there is any theoretical basis for the use of exercise-based intervention programmes. Following consideration of recent findings from a range of scientific disciplines, it is concluded that such ‘unconventional’ methods of intervention may draw some theoretical support from the scientific literature, although researchers are cautioned to be wary of comorbidity issues. It is also concluded that more rigorous and independent evaluations of the success (or otherwise) of exercise-based interventions are needed.
Pope, D., & Whiteley, H. (2003). Developmental Dyslexia, Cerebellar/Vestibular Brain Function and Possible Links to Exercise-based Interventions: A Review. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 18(1), 109-123. https://doi.org/10.1080/0885625032000042348