Volume 3 #3 March
Last month I wrote about how the technique of Enhanced Lateralization can improve reading in adults as well as kids. My faithful readers also know by now that stimulating the left hemisphere always caused my students to cheer up within a couple of weeks of starting. For thirty or more years, I didn’t know why. The mystery finally became clear just a couple of years ago when I found that left-hemisphere stimulation was being used by a psychiatrist to reduce depression.
A friend who was interested in helping dyslectic adults, applied, way back in 1986, to the Department of Education in Boston for a grant to do a study of the RfS technique. Her study had three groups of adults, one using the RfS program with the equipment for lateralizing, one using the RfS program without the equipment, and a third using a standard curriculum for adults with reading problems. The results were mind-boggling. RfS with the equipment got increases in learning speed and comprehension from six times to 12 times as fast as the standard method.
The rest I will let one of the students in that study tell you from a presentation he was asked to make at a conference co-sponsored by the Literacy Coalition of Western Massachusetts.
The only way I can explain what life is like after learning how to read, is by comparing it to when I couldn’t read. The one thing I can say up front, is the main difference is attitude....When I was asked to speak here today about what life is like after learning how to read, I thought to myself this is going to be a snap. My life has changed tremendously, or so I thought. But when I sat down to write some notes, I found that my life hasn’t changed so much, but my attitude toward life has changed tremendously. I had a job before, I had bills that had to be paid, children to bring up, just like any reader. I still have these things to do, but they don’t seem to take as much effort. They’re not so cold and burdensome. Now they are challenging and fun. FUN, a word I had never associated with life before learning to read. Things were fun, but life wasn’t, and that’s attitude.
Before learning to read, if there was a job I wanted, I might go and apply for it, and if I did, when sitting in the interviewer’s office, after I had taken the employment application and snuck down the street, I would whip out my trusty little cheat sheet, so I could fill out the application “in the privacy of my shame,” and take it back, filled out, of course! Then, sitting in the office, I would think am I a good enough actor to sell this person a defective bill of goods?
The key words here are might, cheat, sheet, disguise, and the big one, the most important one to non-readers, SHAME! Your attitude toward everything is distorted. Now in the same situation I am selling a product that is fully operational-- worth the investment to the employer. Not just because I can read, write and spell, but because of the attitude that grows out of it.
Learning to read isn’t a magic pill that changes your life overnight, but it is a magic pill that lets you stand just tall enough to be eye to eye with others. To the non-reader who wonders if the effort to learn is worth it is this: there is no pot of gold at the end of the rinbow, but there is a rainbow. And to those of you who wonder if teaching the learning-disabled is worth it, Yes, and thank you.