Dyslexia and Visuospatial Ability in Maltese Male Adolescents

Victor Martinelli, Josef Schembri

Abstract


A number of studies suggest that dyslexia is associated with enhanced visuospatial ability but the empirical evidence is inconsistent and there are numerous methodological issues. This study examined visuospatial ability among dyslexic and asymptomatic (non-dyslexic) adolescent boys aged 12 years. Thirty-six Maltese participants constituted the research and comparison groups. All participants were assessed on the age-appropriate section of the Spatial Reasoning Test and they were matched by age, ability measured by Ravens Progressive Matrices, socio-economic status and the type of school attended. Overall, the degree of visuospatial ability of the two groups was similar. A statistically significant advantage for the asymptomatic over the dyslexic group was evident on one task only, Hidden Shapes. In contrast, dyslexics outperformed non-dyslexics on the other three tasks constituting the battery including Jigsaws, Wallpaper and Right Angles subscales but the difference did not reach statistical significance. Although these findings did not support the notion that dyslexic individuals were more visuospatially endowed than a comparable, asymptomatic group of peers, the possibility of an underlying difference could not be discounted altogether. A number of reasons for the results obtained were examined including the relatively small sample size, participants' age, verbal mediation strategies and the nature of the visuospatial tasks. However, the findings that both groups had similar average results, with the dyslexic group having greater variation on the Hidden Shapes scale, smaller variation on Sections, Jigsaws and Wallpaper scales and the small tendency of this group to outperform the non-dyslexics group on a number of subscales warrants additional exploration of dyslexia and visuospatial ability.

DOI: 10.5901/jesr.2015.v5n3p111


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Journal of Educational and Social Research ISSN 2239-978X(Print) ISSN 2240-0524(Online)

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