The History of Dyslexia
- In the late 1800’s dyslexia was called congenital word blindness.
- These children were often referred to an ophthalmologist, and consequently dyslexics never received effective treatment for their reading disability
- Fortunately, recent research in the 1990’s by neurologists using fMRI imaging has given us a much better understanding of this disability.
- The new science of reading now allows educators to effectively treat reading disabilities.
What is Dyslexia?
- Dyslexic children and adults have difficulty developing an awareness that spoken and written words are comprised of these phonemes or building blocks.
- There is a glitch in the neurological wiring in the brain of dyslexics which prevents them from linking letters with the sounds they make.
- While most of us can detect the underlying sounds or phonemes in a word, dyslexics can not.
- Although dyslexics may be very creative and even gifted in right brain skills like art, architecture and spatial relationships, they have difficulty with language. Dyslexics need a different teaching approach to acquire language. As Kevin tells Max, in that delightful book Freak the Mighty, “You need to be taught the voices of the letters in a special way.”
- Dr Sally Shaywitz, one of the worlds leading dyslexia researchers, compares a skilled reader and a dyslexic: “A skilled reader sees individual words like the bricks in a wall and processes them automatically…… a dyslexic reader sees an amorphous hue…the words are indistinguishable from one another”. (Shaywitz S. (2003) Overcoming Dyslexia: a New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level. New York: Knopf.