Dyslexia as a source of inequality: Research avenues for a more inclusive society

About this Session


Thu. 11.04. 10:00



Authors – Vender Maria, Chiara Melloni.

Abstract :

Growing up with a specific learning disorder may deeply impact an individual’s life, from their initial steps in school to more advanced educational pursuits and eventual entry into the workforce. Such individuals face a condition of great disadvantage and, notably, reading difficulties exert a particularly detrimental influence across a broad spectrum of educational and occupational domains ([1]). To address this potential source of social inequality, many governments have implemented specific measures and policies in favor of individuals with dyslexia. However, the road ahead is lengthy and cannot disregard the significance of “prevention” and “intervention” to (proactively) enhance reading skills in both children and adults.

In this venue, we aim to focus on two dimensions that are essential for ensuring conditions of full social equality in education and professional life. The first aims at identifying the predictors of reading skills, thus enabling an early and accurate identification of reading disorders, and bolstering linguistic fragilities with inclusive strategies, treatments and tools. The second dimension pertains to enhancing literacy skills in (young) adults, with the goal of facilitating the completion of their educational journey and entry into the workforce.

As for the first line of research, we emphasize the value of reading predictors in a multilingual society, particularly regarding the specific linguistic and literacy fragilities of migrant children learning an L2 in a school context and the issue of misdiagnosing reading disorders in this population ([2]). To this end, we will present the results of a longitudinal study that examined linguistic skills in children from preschool to the third year of primary school, analyzing their predictive role in the development of literacy in Italian.

The second research avenue focuses on the development of technologies aimed at enhancing reading skills in adults with dyslexia. Although this is a still neglected topic, with most studies focusing on children, the few available experimental evidence shows that a proper literacy intervention can be effective with adults as well ([3]). In this contribution, we will present fresh evidence of a study assessing the effectiveness of reading intervention in Italian adults with dyslexia, highlighting significant improvements also in this population, thus underscoring the importance of not surrendering to one’s vulnerabilities and of proposing suitable tools for the enhancement of literacy skills, with cascading benefits on the cultural and professional life of people with dyslexia.

[1]McLoughlin et al. (2013). ISBN:978-1-119-97394-22.

[2]Vender et al. (2021). DOI:10.3390/su132413830

[3]Vender et al. (2022). DOI:10.26346/1120-2726-189