Demystifying Dyslexia

While the cause of how dyslexia develops is still unknown. Neuroscientists are learning more about the brains of those who develop dyslexia and why the struggles with reading,  letter recognition and production arise.  In sum, findings indicate that people with dyslexia use their right hemisphere of their brain to read rather than the left hemisphere of their bran to read, which typically developing readers use.  In addition, those with dyslexia process the phoneme associated with each letter at a slower rate than typically developing readers, which prevents the brain from pairing symbol and sound.  However, studies show that neuroplasticity can alleviate some of the major roadblocks in reading gains caused by dyslexia.  Readers who receieved training in multi-sensoral programs using tactile, three dimensional letters, a structured phonics programs and auditory training can recruit and/or initiate left-brain activity in reading.  Please refer to the resources posted below to for a more in-depth look at what neuroscience is finding. 

http://www.human.cornell.edu/hd/outreach-extension/upload/temple.pdf

http://www.haskins.yale.edu/Reprints/HL1610.pdf

SciLearn.com  (The Fast ForWord Program and Reading Assistant Program)

http://www.euronews.com/2013/04/30/bringing-neuroscience-into-school  (this showed the benefits of incorporating a tactile component into young children learning to read)

For years, I have advocated for simple san-serif fonts, which use letters that mimic the basic alphabet learned in kindergarten and first grade.  The font I am using now, comes close, however, the ‘a’ still differs from what children are taught early on–my favorite is Century Gothic.  For most readers, the mind can adapt; however for those who struggle reading it is possible the various fonts, especially the default Times New Roman could exacerbate an already prevalent problem.  Here is a font that supposedly helps those with dyslexia make fewer mistakes when reading because of the bottom heavy letters and slight differences in letter formation.  While the font discussed in the article is available for purchase, a similar one can be downloaded for free. 

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=new-font-helps-dyslexics-read

http://opendyslexic.org

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