Symptoms of hyperactivity and inattention can mediate deficits of postural stability in developmental dyslexia
Developmental dyslexia is a reading disorder associated with impaired postural control. However, such deficits are also found in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which is present in a substantial subset of dyslexia diagnoses. Very few studies of balance in dyslexia have assessed ADHD symptoms, thereby motivating the hypothesis that such measures can account for the group differences observed. In this study, we assessed adults with dyslexia and similarly aged controls on a battery of cognitive, literacy and attention measures, alongside tasks of postural stability. Displacements of centre of mass to perturbations of posture were measured in four experimental conditions using digital optical motion capture. The largest group differences were obtained in conditions where cues to the support surface were reduced. Between-group differences in postural sway and in sway variability were largely accounted for by co-varying hyperactivity and inattention ratings, however. These results therefore suggest that postural instability in dyslexia is more strongly associated with symptoms of ADHD than to those specific to reading impairment.