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Learning Defect Identified in Brain

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Science  16 Aug 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5277, pp. 867-868
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5277.867b


Researchers who study learning disabilities have known for years that many children who lag behind in language or reading skills have trouble distinguishing between certain spoken syllables known as phonemes. Now, a report on page 971 describes what may be a biological basis of that problem: in at least some of these children the brain's auditory system simply doesn't recognize the syllables as different. The finding dovetails with the recent discovery that computer games designed to teach language-impaired children to distinguish between certain rapidly delivered sounds can boost their language skills, and may lead to ways to identify those children who would benefit from such training methods.