The National Institute of Health recently conducted a study which added further confirmation to the understanding that IQ scores and a child’s reading specific learning disabilities are unrelated. It has added to the more than two decades of cumulative knowledge regarding learning disabilities in reading. Though this study only serves to confirm what is already widely accepted in the field of learning disabilities, it will help to ensure that all children with specific learning disabilities in reading (like dyslexia) receive the necessary targeted instruction to help them learn to read.
Originally, children who were suspected of having a learning disability were tested to see whether or not their difficulties in reading were compounded by high or low IQ scores which made reading difficult. The discrepancies between IQ scores and reading abilities were then used to determine whether or not that child needed specialized targeted instruction to learn to read. However, this new study proves that IQ scores are unrelated to disabilities in reading. During the study, fMRI scanning techniques were used to measure the students’ brain activity while reading, and all the children with dyslexia showed similar brain activity regardless of their IQ scores.
Though the discrepancy test has not been required for federal funding, it is still used by many schools in determining who will receive the necessary instruction for overcoming a reading disability. However, the discrepancy model is clearly neglecting a segment of children who show no discrepancy between their reading ability and their IQ scores, and yet still possess a reading-specific disability which makes it difficult for them to receive this fundamental piece of their education. This study provides further evidence that will ensure that schools are correctly able to identify children with reading disabilities and provide the necessary specialized education to all children who need it.