Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Multiple Deficit Theory of Dyslexia

Try as I might I haven't been able to make popular the idea of dyslexia as a syndrome. Syndrome being a term that has major essential aspects which all people must have to be considered having the dyslexia syndrome after proper reading instruction. Poor reading skills ,lack of fluency,slow inaccurate reading and poor comprehension seem to be common to all dyslexics and could be considered major essential parts. A dyslexia syndrome also has minor aspects that may or may not affect the individual and usually make up a laundry list of symptoms.

reading below grade level
trouble rhyming words
oral word confusion
short term memory problems
poor spelling
Bothered by glare on print
see text in motion
left and right confusion
auditory problems
poor phonemic understanding
reversing letters in words
writing letters backward after third grade
slow naming of pictures
delayed speech

and many more minor essentials would usually be included in the list. Most of you reading this have seen similar lists. If anyone wants to comment and have other minor essentials added to the list I will, but that is not the point of this post.

Failing to make the dyslexia syndrome popular as a way of understanding why dyslexics are different from each other and need interventions based on their individual problems, like a thief in the night, I am going to steal new terminology, modify it, and hopefully come up with terminology that the public can use to discuss the subject of dyslexia in a more comprehensive way .

My opinion is the the issue of dyslexia needs a paradigm shift , A paradigm is a system of belief
based on an individuals personal knowledge and assumptions. It is a way of looking at situations. Your personal paradigm about particular issues actually colors your opinions and behaviors.

I am sure I need to have an example of a paradigm shift to show how changing a paradigm can be powerful. Many people have the paradigm that the homeless are lazy,dirty ,thieving,drug addicted alcoholics that wouldn't work even if they had the chance and so helping them is futile .

A different paradigm might include different facts such as a large % of the homeless are veterans who suffered post traumatic stress syndrome from being exposed to horrors in war defending or country, others are hard working family people who have lost their jobs through layoffs, and some are single mother families with children who are on the street because of financial hardships that they had no control over. We can also expect a large increase in homeless from people that we actually know due to the financial depression we are having in our country. Many people are only a paycheck or medical problem away from being homeless. The conclusion from this paradigm is that many homeless are not that different from us and so are deserving of help and that with help they may indeed recover and leave the homeless population.

The second paradigm does not exclude that the first paradigm is partly true. There are indeed some homeless that will always be homeless for different reasons. The second paradigm does try to expand our thoughts and can change people's behavior to some degree. Perhaps they might consider voting for rather than against some homeless laws to protect the homeless. If nothing else, having more information is likely to help people make better informed decision about the homeless.

Back to dyslexia. I have posted before about how people tend to report about dyslexia as if it has a single cause. I propose that we now call that the Single Deficit Theory. The SDT (single deficit theory ) has been pretty common to describe dyslexia and some ore used to base SDT interventions.

The Dore Method SDT dyslexia is based on brain structure problems that can be helped by exercise programs .

Ron Davis Method SDT dyslexia is based on the fact that dyslexics think in pictures.

Irlen method SDT dyslexia reading problems are based by their sensitivity to a single color

Timing problems in the brain SDT dyslexia problems are caused by slow processing in the brain

Phonoogicial problems SDT dyslexics have problems associating sounds with letters

Auditory processing problems SDT problems differentiating individual sounds

Language processing problems SDT problems in the word formation part of the brain

Executive processing problems SDT problems sequencing thoughts

Short Term Memory Problems SDT problems with short time memory as the cause of dyslexia

MRI areas of the brain SDT every area of the brain associated with reading visual,auditory,phonemic,language processing,word formation etc has each has its day as the SDT of dyslexia

See Right Dyslexia Glasses SDT for the 10% of dyslexics that can describe specific visual problems that make reading difficult.

There are many more SDT's about dyslexia. The obvious lack in all is they have is that none account for all the different problems that dyslexics express as why individuals with dyslexia have problems reading fluently with good comprehension.

I read a post the other day about the concept of the Double Deficit Theory of dyslexia. The position was that while the author used to believe in the SDT of phonological problems she saw dyslexics that had no phonological problems still having reading difficulties She thought by adding delayed time processing problems and calling that the DDT she could now describe all dyslexics as having phonological and or delayed processing problems.

I see the DDT as still lacking as a final description of what problems all individual dyslexics have.

My first thought was that be DDT lacked any acknowledgement that some dyslexics have visual problems that make reading difficult and there needed to be at least a Triple Deficit Theory or TDT. My second thought, seconds later, was that it was unlikely that even a TDT was going to be able to accurately describe dyslexia.

This is why I am proposing the paradigm shift to the Multiple Deficit Theory of dyslexia or MDT. The value of the paradigm shift to include MDT rather than DDT or SDT is this. If you are looking for dyslexia help and the person you see believes in a SDT , say phonological problems,
then your are tested for phonological problems and any positive results for phonological problems are defined as being your dyslexia problems and any intervention is based on helping you overcome those phonological problems only. No other dyslexia problerms are looked for ,evaluated or have interventions available at that location.

On the other hand if someone believes in the MDT of dyslexia then while phonological problems will probably be evaluated and intervention recommended that will not be the end of the process. Perhaps auditory processing will be evaluated next and intervention recommended if needed. Perhaps executive decision making and short term memory evaluations would follow with recommendations that interventions would or would not be needed in those areas. To be complete I would recommend visual testing for visual dyslexia and if problems are found that See Right Dyslexia Glasses are considered if necessary.

If you are out in the woods and want to have a fire and only consider that fires are made from big logs, when you return with only big logs you are going to have trouble making that fire. Call that Single Object Fire. Double Object Fire might include matches also. A Multiple Object Fire might also include an ax, dry grass, fire pit, rocks for fire pit, pine cones, bucket of water, cell phone, small dry branches, chairs, cooler with drinks,book to read, snacks, friends, music, permit or other objects as well. Few people will need all the Multiple Objects to make their fire just as most dyslexics only need help with a few different problems but only by considering that their problems need to be identified from an all inclusive list rather than than an SDT or DDT to start their reading fire.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Educational Neuroscience Dyslexia and Special Educational Needs

Too many people think that researchers have already found all the answers to why people are dyslexic by studying the brain. The following article is much broader than my usual focus on visual dyslexia. For those that really want to understand what has and has not been discovered in the field of neuroscience as pertains to dyslexia and special educational needs I think this states the information as well as anything I have read on the web.

It also inplies support for what I have long believed , that the individual educational problems that need to be worked on for the individual are not going to be identified anytime in the near future by imaging techniques. Pen and pencil and verbal type testing is much more likely to produce indications of specific skill deficiencies that need to be addressed for educational success.

While being able to describe visual problems that make reading difficult is a start in being able to define visual dyslexia, I am finding that some dyslexia evaluations are starting to include visual testing also and finding co-existing visual and non-visual problems with much success in removing the visual dyslexia problems with See Right Dyslexia Glasses.

http://www.teachingexpertise.com/articles/educational-neuroscience-where-are-we-3675 >

Are advances in brain sciences useful to the field of education? Dr Jodi Tommerdahl looks at whether breakthroughs in our knowledge of how the human brain works can provide insight into how children learn, particularly in the area of SEN, and, if so, what’s taking so long?

The rise of educational neuroscience

Monday, October 13, 2008

Misleading Dyslexia Headlines

Research Finds Genetic Causes Behind Dyslexia

That's the headline . It doesn't really say that in the article. Dyslexia reporting is often of this poor quality. I was put off by their calling dyslexia a disease but I did some research and did find that some sources include genetic defect as a definition of disease. That isn't the most common use in English but I can't say it is wrong just that many will not be familiar with how they are using the term disease.

This isn't a shout it out from the rooftops moment but I like the direction of the research. It is new, fresh and based on a different way of developing what may be a cost effective dyslexia identification method for a majority of dyslexics.

This is what the article says that relates to the headline. My analysis of the value of the research follows.

"We are trying to find out which genes cause the disease. A predisposition to dyslexia could be detected by a genetic test to support affected children appropriately at a very early age," says Arndt Wilcke, scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology (IZI) in Leipzig.

The research focus is based on the structural differences in the dyslexic brain and is trying to determine the genes that cause the structural differences. To date the genetic research has looked at families with a high incidence of dyslexia and found "dyslexia genes " related to those families but have not been successful finding " dyslexia genes" that are universal.

These scientists hope to find the gene responsible for the structural differences in the brain which is likely to be more universal to populations of dyslexics. The identification of the particular genes is still years away but their investigation is in a direction that I believe could be successful. By the time they identify the gene ( or genes) the cost of genetic testing should be relatively inexpensive. The cost of genetic testing continues to drop as new techniques are
developed and more labs have the capability to run the tests.

One down side of medical testing for dyslexia is that if 10% of the population is dyslexic then 10 people need to be tested to identify 1 dyslexic and the effective cost is 10 times the cost of the test. That is why even if fMRI testing finally becomes able to identify individual dyslexics it will never be used as a screening method.

It must be recognized that all dyslexics that take part in dyslexia studies have been identified as dyslexic by pen and paper tests and personal evaluations. As much of the testing can be done in stages eliminating many as not dyslexic early on at little cost , it may be that what is missing from dyslexia screening is not a new method but rather the failure to use the screening methods available on all our children.

Perhaps the best headline we could hope for is not a new medical breakthrough in medical testing but

Federal Government Mandates and Pays for Dyslexia Screening for All Children!!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

When Should Dyslexics Try Visual Intervention

Visual dyslexia only affects about 10% of dyslexics as the primary cause of their reading problems and so it is seldom the first thought about what intervention is needed. While that is as it should be , I don't think that it should only be considered after spending much time and money on interventions and concluding that the final results fall below what could be reasonably expected from those interventions.

To muddle things up more, there are perhaps another 20% of dyslexics who co-mingle visual and more prevalent language and auditory processing problems. As these dyslexics show the typical early speech and communication problems so common to dyslexia they are likely to be enrolled in whatever the local community has deemed the answer to dyslexia without visual problems ever being considered.

People tend to believe their own senses and assume whatever they experience is normal. This is particularly true in children. Depending on the age of the child, visual problems can sometimes be determined by discussions about their vision. Being extremely near sighted all my life my Ah-ha moment came when I went to school with my first pair of glasses. I found that my teacher was not doing her usual arm waving dance up front while explaining things by the black board but was actually writing on the black board. I had no idea . It occurred to me later that if someone had asked how well I could read the blackboard I would have answered " read what?". I also remember my first eye exam and the first question . What direction is the E pointing? my answer " what E ?". My mother almost screamed THAT E ON THE WALL , "what E? I said.

My point being that , at least for me , as a child I thought my vision was normal . My fuzzy little world where only things closer than my outstretched arm were clear was normal. Later in life I realized that any discussion about my vision would have revealed its flaws.

My criteria for whether the See Right Dyslexia Glasses will help visual dyslexics is: can the visual dyslexic describe specific visual problems that make reading difficult. That works well for adults. Children can often answer questions about how they see the page that indicate problems that to them seems normal. Are all the words clear ,sharp , in focus , stable or in motion, and look uniform?

I am going to add another indication of visual dyslexia for children that parents can check. It is not universal but often can be used as an indication of visual dyslexia. If by changing font size on the computer the child's fluency improves with increasing size then a visual problem may be indicated.

As some visual dyslexics experience problems even with the large print in first grade books it may be impossible to both increase the size and have enough words to read for a fair test for all.
It is a better test for those visual dyslexics that only started to have their problems about third grade when print size in their school books gets smaller. It might also be helpful to stop near a billboard with very large print and ask if the print looks the same as that in their books.

A careful observer can often listen to a child's speech and determine if any language or auditory processing problems are likely to lead to reading problems and need to be addressed. In an ideal world discussions about vision and how a child see the written word would also be included. As visual dyslexia is unlikely to produce any noticeable problems before school age it is important to at least have a discussion about their vision if reading problems occur.

Visual intervention should be tried when there is an indication that visual problems with seeing the printed page are present. As See Right Dyslexia Glasses have a money back guarantee they are a low financial risk and are very effective in removing visual dyslexia associated visual problems.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Dyslexia V's Visual Dyslexia

Dyslexia and visual dyslexia result in the same types of reading difficulties. Slow, inaccurate reading that results in poor comprehension of written material is common to both dyslexia and visual dyslexia.
Dyslexia and visual dyslexia are both information processing problems but have different causes. The different causes require different interventions.

Dyslexia or Visual Dyslexia ?

The problem is how someone can determine if an individual's problem results from dyslexia or visual dyslexia.

The most common research based theory of dyslexia is that it is a brain structure problem that interferes with processing the auditory and phonemic information in a normal manner.

This often shows up in speech and comprehension of speech difficulties prior to exposure to reading.This is the child who mixes up words, has trouble with rhyming and sometimes following directions. The inaccurate processing of speech makes learning to read a battle which leads to poor fluency, accuracy and comprehension. When asked to describe a page of print the response from a dyslexic is a clear, focused, uniform and stable page. This indicates that their problem is not visual.

Visual dyslexia is not an auditory or phonemic processing problem.

The visually dyslexic child does not have the speech problems associated with dyslexia of mixing up words, rhyming or following directions. His or her problems show up when difficulties with the visual aspects of reading are

Moving words, missing, transposed or reversed letters and an assortment of other visual problems are what the visually dyslexic child has to battle. When asked how the words on a page look the result is quite different for the visually dyslexic child than the dyslexic child.

I could read if only the words would stop moving or if the words would always look the same are common complaints for the visually dyslexic child.

Visual dyslexics have trouble with reading because they have trouble seeing what is written. With the See Right Dyslexia Glasses all the words on the page will be stable, uniform and in focus. That is why they are called the visual dyslexia solution.
Reading errors caused by visual problems will be eliminated with the See Right Dyslexia Glasses. The visual dyslexic will no longer have to slow down or stop to guess at words. This results in an immediate increase in reading speed, fluency and accuracy.
Spelling will also improve over time as having an accurate visual memory of words makes them easier to remember.

Dyslexia and Visual Dyslexia may co-exist.

When dyslexia and visual dyslexia co-exist it may still be beneficial to have the visual problems removed by the See Right Dyslexia Glasses. If a dyslexic can also describe a visual problem that makes reading difficult that visual problem will still be removed by the glasses. While not a complete solution he or she will no longer have to battle both types of problems when reading.

More about See Right Dyslexia Glasses