Authors: Sandro Franceschini, Sara Bertoni, Giovanna Puccio, Simone Gori, Cristiano Termine & Andrea Facoetti.

Article: Visuo-spatial attention deficit in children with reading difficulties.

Publication: Scientific Reports ( 12, Article number: 13930 2022 | DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-16646-w

[Full Text] [PubMed]


Although developmental reading disorders (developmental dyslexia) have been mainly associated with auditory-phonological deficits, recent longitudinal and training studies have shown a possible causal role of visuo-attentional skills in reading acquisition. Indeed, visuo-attentional mechanisms could be involved in the orthographic processing of the letter string and the graphemic parsing that precede the grapheme-to-phoneme mapping. Here, we used a simple paper-and-pencil task composed of three labyrinths to measure visuo-spatial attention in a large sample of primary school children (n = 398). In comparison to visual search tasks requiring visual working memory, our labyrinth task mainly measures distributed and focused visuo-spatial attention, also controlling for sensorimotor learning. Compared to typical readers (n = 340), children with reading difficulties (n = 58) showed clear visuo-spatial attention impairments that appear not linked to motor coordination and procedural learning skills implicated in this paper and pencil task. Since visual attention is dysfunctional in about 40% of the children with reading difficulties, an efficient reading remediation program should integrate both auditory-phonological and visuo-attentional interventions.

Tagged as: children, vision training, and visual attention


Franceschini, S., Bertoni, S., Puccio, G. et al. Visuo-spatial attention deficit in children with reading difficulties. Sci Rep 12, 13930 (2022).

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