THE DYSLEXIA SOLUTION

Volume 5 • #1 • January 2006

NEWSLETTER

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 the message.

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.

Teaching tip:

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.


 

 

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