Sunday, April 12, 2009


Brain Scans Shed Light On Dyslexia

New brain scans reveal more about how the minds of people with Dyslexia work. The key problem seems to be a mismatch between seeing the letter and connecting it to the sound it represents and vice-versa, said researchers from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands.

Previous studies have shown differences in the way the brains of dyslexic individuals are “wired,” as compared with the brains of “normal” people. In particular, past research has shown a “disconnect” between being able to identify the sounds within a word and matching them with letters.

The University of Maastricht study involved 13 dyslexic readers and 13 non-impaired readers. The study subjects were shown visual letters and listened to auditory speech sounds corresponding to single letters. The researchers conducted functional MRI while the participants performed a series of these experiments.

Dyslexic participants had less activation of the superior temporal cortex region of the brain which, among other things, is involved with processing sound.

Researchers looked at what happens when people with and without dyslexia try to integrate visual representations with sound representations, and even though that’s been thought to be one of the areas that’s a problem, this is novel, because they have used brain imaging technology to show it,” said Guinevere Eden, director of the center for the study of Learning at Georgetown University. A typical person has an augmented response in this part of the brain, and in dyslexics, they’re not seeing that augmentation, suggesting that there does not seem to be a system in place to show that there’s an association (between visual and sound) that’s going on. This is an important step, and it raises the potential for exploring the effects of clinical interventions and for investigating different subtypes of reading challenges.

Ron Davis, the co-founder of the Reading Research Council in Burlingame, California says that dyslexics have visual, multidimensional minds which are less predisposed to word-based thinking. “This causes dyslexics to not easily recognize printed symbols such as letters of the alphabet and written words, and have difficulty with teaching approaches, which emphasize phonics only.”

Mr. Davis said if control be gained over perceptual disorientation by using simple mental processes, and language skills taught with methods adapted to picture thinkers, then dyslexics would be able to read and write without problems.

Mr. Davis speaks from personal experience as a dyslexic and can attest to helping thousands of adults and children with dyslexia see their way of learning as a talent and to enhance their natural creative ability.

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