INTRODUCTION: Reading problems affect a significant proportion of children. Causes range from attention deficit disorders to disruption of information processing. Attempts have been made to classify reading disorders into diagnostic categories such as dyslexia, but these classifications have been unsatisfactory for a number of reasons. In this project, an attempt was made to classify children with reading difficulties based upon their electroencephalographic (EEG) spectra.
SUBJECTS: Sixty-four subjects participated in this project; all were students in grades 3 through 8 at local schools. On the basis of standardized academic test results, 33 subjects were classified as normal (no score below the 40th percentile), 14 were classified as having an isolated reading problem (a score below the 40th percentile on reading and/or language, and scores above the 40th percentile on math and/or general ability), and 17 were classified as having general problems (a score below the 40th percentile on reading and/or language, and a score below the 40th percentile on math and/or general ability).
METHODS: EEG spectra were recorded from electrode sites OZ, PZ, and CZ during the fifth minute of five tasks : sitting quietly, listening to story, reading a story, performing mental arithmetic, and copy forms. Spectra were divided into theta, alpha, and beta bands.
RESULTS: Amplitudes of the EEG bands were compared for the three subject groups. No statistically significant differences between the groups were found. Several individual subjects had spectra suggestive of attention deficit disorder.
CONCLUSIONS: Analysis of EEG spectra did not provide a useful means for differentiating the three groups of subjects used in this study. It is possible that recording at different electrode sites or using different stimulus conditions might have allowed better differentiation of the subject groups.
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