One-Third of Those With Dyslexia May Have Been Physically Abused

It probably shouldn't surprise us.  But one third of people who are dyslexic claim to have been physically abused in their lifetimes.

According to newswise.com, adults who have dyslexia are much more likely to report they were physically abused before they turned 18 than their peers without dyslexia, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Toronto and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill.

Thirty-five per cent of adults with dyslexia report they were physically abused before they turned 18. In contrast, seven per cent of those without dyslexia reported that they had experienced childhood physical abuse.

Dyslexia is a reading disability that occurs when the brain does not properly recognize and process certain symbols.

“Even after accounting for age, race, sex and other early adversities such as parental addictions, childhood physical abuse was still associated with a six-fold increase in the odds of dyslexia” the Web site quotes co-author Esme Fuller-Thomson, professor and Sandra Rotman Endowed Chair at University of Toronto's Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work.

"It is possible that for some children, the presence of dyslexia and related learning problems may place them at relatively higher risk for physical abuse, perhaps due to adult frustrations with chronic learning failure” says study co-author, Stephen Hooper, professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, and Associate Dean and Chair of Allied Health Sciences at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine.

“Alternatively, given the known association between brain dysfunction and maltreatment, it could be that the experience of physical abuse may also contribute to and/or exacerbate such learning problems, secondary to increased neurologic burden.”Fuller-Thomson adds.

My only experience with the disorder is the mayor of my town who overcame it to became a lawyer, then mayor and is now governor of my state.

Though experts agree there's no definitive proof that abuse causes dyslexia, they still caution that children being treated for dyslexia should also be examined for abuse.  

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