Is dyslexia more common in males?

Neuroscientist and Speech Pathologist Dr Martha Burns answers the question “is dyslexia more common in males?” in this video interview.

Yes, it is – as are most learning disabilities, Dyslexia is more common among males.

Why do more boys have dyslexia than girls?

“In some cases it may be that the genetic predisposition is exacerbated by some other factors in the male development,” Dr Burns explains. “The male brain matures at a different rate, it seems to be more vulnerable to neurodevelopmental factors so males generally have more learning disabilities”. What does that mean?

Brain differences between boys and girls before school starts

Studies show significant differences in:

  • Processing speed: Processing speed is a cognitive predictor of reading skill. Girls show an advantage over boys by age 5 that is maintained until adulthood (e.g. Camarata & Woodcock, 2006; Irwing, 2012).
  • Impulse control (inhibition): on average, girls are better at controlling their impulses than boys. Studies have shown that young children who are better at controlling impulses are more likely to perform better on academic tests.

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References
Arnett, A.B., Pennington B.F., Peterson, R.L., Willcutt, E.G., DeFries, J.C., Olson, R. K. (2017). Explaining the sex difference in dyslexia. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 58:6, 719-727.

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