District of Columbia
Adults who sustain brain damage due to stroke, head injury, or traumatic surgery may develop
difficulty reading. This study examines the effectiveness of behavior-based programs to
improve reading ability in these individuals.
Acquired disorders of reading (acquired dyslexia) are common in patients with aphasia
subsequent to left hemisphere stroke. Even when language functions recover sufficiently to
enable the patient to return to work, continuing dyslexia often interferes significantly
with job performance. This study will evaluate cognitive therapies for the treatment of
Each therapy is based upon a cognitive neuropsychological model of reading; the therapies
target specific types of reading deficit and stem from the question of re-learning versus
re-organization of function. The therapies focus on dyslexic disorders stemming from the
following underlying deficits: 1) impaired access to the orthographic word form from the
visual modality (pure alexia); 2) impaired orthographic/phonologic connections
(phonologic/deep dyslexia); and 3) decreased ability to hold phonologic codes in memory
(phonologic text alexia).
Participants in this study will undergo a comprehensive and detailed battery of reading and
reading-related tests to determine the underlying impairment causing the reading deficit.
Based upon the results of these tests, the patient's dyslexic disorder will be characterized
and, if appropriate, the patient will be assigned to one of the treatment programs devised
specifically for that type of deficit. Treatment programs are evaluated for efficacy by
comparing the accuracy and speed of reading pre- and post-treatment.
- Reading deficit subsequent to stroke, traumatic brain injury, brain surgery, or other
- Ability to attend 2-3 sessions per week for several months at Georgetown University
in Washington, DC
- History of developmental dyslexia or learning disabilities
- Best corrected vision less than 20/40
- Less than 10 years of formal education
- Significant memory or comprehension problems