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Developmental dyslexia is diagnosed when literacy skills are not commensurate with a person's general cognitive ability and education. While the most common difficulty found in dyslexia is poor phonological processing, many dyslexics are reported to be clumsy, with poor handwriting, suggesting that there may be a motor deficit in dyslexia. To establish whether the motor difficulties described in dyslexic children persist into adulthood, we tested 18 dyslexic adults and 22 control participants on Annett's peg-moving task. The dyslexic participants performed significantly slower than control adults on the peg-moving task with their dominant hands (p=0.004). Furthermore, response times (RTs) during tasks testing component literacy skills correlated with peg-moving ability in the dominant hand in the entire group (orthographic r=0.448, p=0.005; phonological r=0.383, p=0.025). These results indicate that a motor speed deficit in dyslexia may not be simply a sign of developmental delay, but may persist into adulthood. Furthermore, motor speed may be related to the speed at which literacy information is processed.

Original publication




Journal article


Neurosci Lett

Publication Date





264 - 267


Adult, Case-Control Studies, Dyslexia, Female, Humans, Male, Motor Skills Disorders, Psychomotor Performance, Reaction Time