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A Third of Dyslexic People reported Suffering from Child Abuse

Update Date: Jul 03, 2014 03:26 PM EDT

Dyslexia, also known as developmental reading disorder, occurs due to the brain's inability to recognize and process symbols. In a new study, researchers examined the link between adults with dyslexia and their history of physical abuse. The team from the University of Toronto and the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill found that many dyslexic adults reported experiencing child abuse.

"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," said co-author Esme Fuller-Thomson, professor and Sandra Rotman Endowed Chair at University of Toronto's Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work reported by Medical Xpress.

For this study, the researchers analyzed data on 13,054 people aged 18 and older taken from the 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey. That information included 1,020 people who reported being physically abused as children and 77 people who were diagnosed with dyslexia. The researchers calculated that 35 percent of the dyslexic adults were physically abused during their childhood prior to turning 18-years-old. For non-dyslexic adults, the abuse rate was seven percent. The researchers cautioned that their findings did not suggest hat one factor led to the other.

"Our data do not allow us to know the direction of the association. 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" said 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.

The study was published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence.

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