chapter  2
Auditory processing and developmental dyslexia: throwing the baby out with the bathwater?
ByJENNIFER THOMSON
Pages 18

Our understanding of developmental dyslexia has progressed substantially in the past few decades. Once a contentious diagnosis, the understanding that dyslexia arises from a core phonological deficit is now widely accepted. However, phonological awareness itself depends on cognitive processes such as sensory perception, short-term memory, long-term memory and executive function (Snowling, 2000). The associations between these skills and reading ability have been subject to intensive research, often fraught with debate. Most researched are sensory abilities. Proposed sensory causes of the phonological deficit in developmental dyslexia include a magnocellular impairment in both the visual and auditory systems (e.g. Stein & Talcott, 1999); a general sensory processing deficit (Ramus, 2003), a deficit in cerebellar functioning (Nicolson et al., 1995) and deficits in basic auditory temporal processing (Goswami et al., 2002; Tallal, 1980, 2004).1 Debate has been intensified by attempts to find a ‘onedeficit-fits-all’ answer to reading difficulties. This is particularly true of research focusing on auditory perception and reading relationships: the focus of this chapter.

A first hypothesis: the Rapid Auditory Processing Deficit (RAPD)