Postural control and automaticity in dyslexic children: The relationship between visual information and body sway
Difficulty with literacy acquisition is only one of the symptoms of developmental dyslexia. Dyslexic children also show poor motor coordination and postural control. Those problems could be associated with automaticity, i.e., difficulty in performing a task without dispending a fair amount of conscious efforts. If this is the case, dyslexic children would show difficulties in using “unperceived” sensory cues to control body sway. Therefore, the aim of the study was to examine postural control performance and the coupling between visual information and body sway in dyslexic children. Ten dyslexic children and 10 non-dyslexic children stood upright inside a moving room that remained stationary or oscillated back and forward at frequencies of 0.2 or 0.5 Hz. Body sway magnitude and the relationship between the room’s movement and body sway were examined. The results indicated that dyslexic children oscillated more than non-dyslexic children in both stationary and oscillating conditions. Visual manipulation induced body sway in all children but the coupling between visual information and body sway was weaker and more variable in dyslexic children. Based upon these results, we can suggest that dyslexic children use visual information to postural control with the same underlying processes as non-dyslexic children; however, dyslexic children show poorer performance and more variability while relating visual information and motor action even in a task that does not require an active cognitive and conscious motor involvement, which may be a further evidence of automaticity problem.