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What is Dyslexia?

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?

  • FMRIDyslexic 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…bricks… 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.


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