Volume 5 #1
That thud you just heard was the second shoe dropping.
There’s big news in that thud. In the world of treating
dyslexia the first shoe hit the ground in 1973 when I discovered
that by isolating a verbal task to the left hemisphere of
the brain, I could force it into activity and get the kids
to read properly. (See www.dyslexia.org for details in case
you are a newcomer to Reading from Scratch.) The trouble
lay largely in the corpus callosum, a bridge of tissue that
connects the two halves of the brain. The brain gets input
from two sources: the eyes in the visual system, and the
ears in the auditory system. Each sends its own input to
the opposite side of the brain, and then the two halves
ship their half across the way so that the whole brain gets
Now this all works fine as long as the corpus callosum
is in good shape and is very fast at its job. But when the
signal from the right side is a few milliseconds late, it
gets out of sync with the direct one. When you are trying
to read, the left angular gyrus gets annoyed at the jittery
input, gives up and lets the right one take over. Bad mistake.
The right is hopelessly inept, the result is dyslexia.
The RfS program gets around this in the auditory system
with our earplugs and two tape recorders set up. If you give
the two ears different input, each will attend to its own
and not ship it across the way. Thus you eliminate the poky
signal and at the same time activate that left angular gyrus. But the visual
system is not so cooperative. To read, you must use the fovea, and the fovea
sends its input to both hemispheres. Case closed.
Now it appears that even if you can’t eliminate that poky visual signal,
you can – hold your breath -- speed it up! Read The Jigsaw Puzzle on the
web for the whole, fascinating story. Case reopened. One way to do this is to
take a pair of sunglasses, push on the inside bottom edge of the right lens and
pop it out. Presto, glasses that send more light into the right eye than the
left. For years I advised people to get sunglasses, pop out the right lens, but
blacken the left one. That helps too, but this modification is better because
both eyes are reading, but with different amounts of light. Using the glasses
apparently not only speeds up the signal, but also helps activate the left hemisphere.
Stimulating the language area with both auditory and visual signals at once seems
to have a synergistic effect.
The glasses should be worn both when the student is reading
in the phonics book and when he is wearing the earphones
and doing a spelling exercise with the tapes. Of course you
have to be sure there is enough light in the room! It is
a little like wearing sun glasses.