Volume 4 • #11 • December 2005


Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, (sp?) have a nice Kwanza, or whatever, because if you are involved in teaching a dyslectic person to read, you are about to get a gift worthy of any holiday you can think of. There has been a breakthrough in our ability to stimulate that left angular gyrus in the brain (which as all you faithful readers know, is inactive in dyslectics causing reading difficulty). And as you also know, so far we have been able to stimulate that lazy left side through the auditory system by isolating our lessons there, forcing it into activity. And it conveniently wiped out the slow signal.

This technique has worked better than anything else you can do, and that’s nice, but it has always annoyed me that you can’t also stimulate the left side visually with some sort of isolation technique. No dice. The fovea, the area you must read with, sends its input to both sides, and that’s that.

The trouble all along has been that the bridge of tissue in the middle of the brain called the corpus callosum is a slow transmitter of input from the right side to the left. So when the right side sends its auditory input to the left, it gets there late, causing out-of-sync input and a garbled message. So we have cheerfully sent only the left side the input, by-passing the poky CC and getting the straight story delivered.

But there is, as my mother used to say, more than one way to skin a cat. Instead of by-passing the slow CC, it appears that you can speed up a visual signal and send it through faster! For years people in various fields of research have known that a brighter visual signal travels faster than a darker one. So what we do is just send a faster signal through the corpus callosum to the left side using the visual system. This is done by using some safety glasses with wrap-around lenses, slightly darkened like sun-glasses, and removing just the back half of the right wrap-around part so that there is more light coming into the right eye than the left! Because these are simply tinted like sun-glasses, both eyes are reading, but the right eye gets the brighter (read that faster) signal. When you put your student in these glasses, he reads his phonics lessons with the glasses on, and then does his spelling exercises wearing both the earplugs and the glasses.

Why can’t you just remove the right lens entirely and blacken in the left one, as I have been advocating for years? It is kind of complicated to explain without charts and some knowledge of the construction of the visual system. Suffice it to say that my original glasses did reduce the confusion by eliminating one slow signal, but they didn’t stimulate the left hemisphere. This simultaneous stimulation from both visual and auditory systems seems to have a synergistic effect.

Now how’s that for a Christmas present?



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