Developmental dyslexia: the cerebellar deficit hypothesis

Trends Neurosci. 2001 Sep;24(9):508-11. doi: 10.1016/s0166-2236(00)01896-8.


Surprisingly, the problems faced by many dyslexic children are by no means confined to reading and spelling. There appears to be a general impairment in the ability to perform skills automatically, an ability thought to be dependent upon the cerebellum. Specific behavioural and neuroimaging tests reviewed here indicate that dyslexia is indeed associated with cerebellar impairment in about 80% of cases. We propose that disorders of cerebellar development can in fact cause the impairments in reading and writing characteristic of dyslexia, a view consistent with the recently appreciated role of the cerebellum in language-related skills. This proposal has implications for early remedial treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebellar Diseases / physiopathology
  • Cerebellar Diseases / psychology*
  • Cerebellum / physiopathology*
  • Dyslexia / physiopathology
  • Dyslexia / psychology*
  • Humans