Twenty percent of the general population is affected by dyslexia to one degree or another (from mild to severe) and often struggle in school without knowing why and without getting the right kind of assistance to help. There is an answer and there is help.
Research has shown that an Orton-Gillingham remediation system (which we use) is the only system proven to be effective for people with dyslexia (emphasize that last part). Many practitioners mix and match methodologies, which causes confusion for the child and simply doesn’t bring about remediation. So watch for that. Research has also shown that tutoring must be at least twice a week for 50 minutes to an hour, and it will take 18 months to 3 years, depending on the age of the child and other factors. If a place tutors less often, you won’t see results. If a tutor keeps a child for 2 hours once a week—well, the tutoring diminishes in effectiveness because that’s simply too long for a child with dyslexia (and, in 40% of cases, there’s ADD along with the dyslexia.) Finally, there’s no quick fix. So if you find a place that can “fix” dyslexia in a week or 12 hours or whatever, beware. So those are things to watch for when you’re researching help for your child. There are so many ways to waste one’s money!
Here are 3 things you should know:
1) Dyslexia is strongly hereditary. Geneticists have identified 6 genes linked to dyslexia, and are examining 4 more. Three of those genes are located on chromosomes 6, 15, and 1. Chromosome 6 is responsible for phonemic awareness; chromosome 15: responsible for rapid processing of language; and chromosome 1: responsible for visual memory for words. In dyslexic people, these genes are coded differently. Can you see why language is so difficult?
2) In people with dyslexia, autopsies have shown consistently that people with dyslexia have a larger right hemisphere than nondyslexic people. For that reason, dyslexic people have enormous gifts (right-brain related) that the rest of us could only wish for.
3) Functional MRI’s have shown that in a normal reader, the person processes from three parts of the brain: the occipital lobe first (it’s in the back of the brain and it grabs words for instant recognition), helped by the parietal lobe (above the occipital) and the frontal lobe. In people with dyslexia, FMRIs show no nerve endings going to the occipital and parietal lobes! Dyslexic readers are processing strictly in the frontal lobe, an extremely tedious task at best. Now here’s the striking part: After 150 hours (twice a week for an hour), FMRIs show the dyslexic brain looking exactly like the nondyslexic brain! In other words, the brain actually changed with remediation so that the person was processing reading from the occipital AND parietal AND frontal lobes of the brain.
I want people to be aware of this research because the sad part is that the results have not yet reached the schools, and your child is not likely to have a teacher who understands dyslexia. This is precisely why we started our business. Our lives are about helping children, and we could no longer keep this knowledge inside our heads where it would do absolutely no good. And if the schools don’t want this information, then we’ll spread it on our own.
To get an idea of our training, as well as keeping yourself up-to-date on dyslexia research, you might like to check out the web site of the woman who trained us: www.BrightSolutions.US. Check in from time to time because Susan Barton is phenomenal in her thoroughness.