Il contributo di James Hinshelwood alla comprensione dei disturbi acquisiti ed evolutivi di lettura

Pierluigi Zoccolotti


Riassunto: Viene descritta l’opera di James Hinshelwood, un chirurgo oculista inglese il quale, a cavallo della fine del XIX secolo analizza prima una serie ampia di casi dislessia acquisita e successivamente una serie di casi con disturbi di tipo evolutivo. La proposta interpretativa di Hinshelwood accomuna il disturbo evolutivo per tipologia (anche se non per gravità) a quello mostrato da pazienti con alessia pura senza agrafia o word blindness. Nel corso del ventesimo secolo, tuttavia, l’idea di una base visiva del disturbo evolutivo viene progressivamente messa da parte a favore di interpretazioni che enfatizzano la perturbazione di processi centrali di tipo fonologico e/o lessicale. Viene qui proposto che l’intuizione di Hinshelwood di una continuità tra disturbi evolutivi e word blindness debba essere riconsiderata alla luce sia di dati comportamentali sia di recenti studi di neuroimmagine funzionale.

Parole chiave: Dislessia acquisita; Dislessia evolutiva; Disgarfia acquisita; Alessia pura; James Hinshelwood.


The Contribution of James Hinshelwood to the Comprehension of Acquired and Developmental Reading Disturbance

Abstract: This paper describes the work of James Hinshelwood, a British ocular surgeon at the turn of the 19th Century who analyzed a large number of cases of acquired dyslexia and then of developmental disturbances. Hinshelwood’s theoretical framework associates the developmental disorder for type (if not severity) with that shown by patients with pure alexia without agraphia or word blindness. During the 20th century, the notion that the developmental disorder has a visual basis progressively lost ground in favour of interpretations emphasizing the perturbation of both phonological and lexical central processes. Here we propose that Hinshelwood’s hypothesis of continuity between developmental dyslexia and word blindness deficits should be reconsidered on the basis of behavioural and recent functional neuroimaging data.

Keywords: Acquired Dyslexia; Evolutive Dyslexia; Acquired Dygraphia, Pure Alexia; James Hishelwood.

Parole chiave

Dislessia acquisita; Dislessia evolutiva; Disgarfia acquisita; Alessia pura; James Hinshelwood.

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