Dyslexia Essay

Dyslexia Essay

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Dyslexia- literally meaning poor language- is characterized by difficulities in comprehending, and expressing the written/oral language. It is neither a disease, nor a behavioral or psychological problem. It has no cure. Dyslexia was first described, in 1896, by an english ophthalmologist W.P. Morgan, who called it "word blindness". For years, dyslexia has been misdiagnosed for mild retardation, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and plain stupidity. When in reality intelligence was not the problem. In fact, many dyslexics are generally creative with average to superior intelligence, and have unusual talents in the arts, athletics, engineering, or electronics. They excel in areas that require visual, spatial, and motor integration. Here are some of the reading mistakes which generally pertain to dyslexics: difficulity with sound symbol matching punctuation omission of syllables poor phonetic decoding skills poor comprehension in oral and silent reading poor letter sequencing in spelling and reading confusion on similar-looking words, such as form and from When describing her experience with dyslexia one women wrote"....Sometimes Vicki could look at a page full of words and it would make perfect sense. Other times the words looked backwards to her. There were days when the lines rearranged themselves before her very eyes. Some times the words just blurred together and looked like a foreign language ;and then there was the line that kept repeating. Over and over, it would jump out at her and she'd read this same line a dozen times or more like a skipping record. She couldn't get her eyes to shift past this line of type and find the next line. She was stuck in a rut with no way out....."3 There are also a variety of non-reading problems which exists along- side with poor reading left-right confusion difficulty remembering ordered lists ;ex. months of the year difficulty remembering groups of unrelated facts ;ex times tables abnormal distractibility, "twichiness" problems with find motor control in hand writing You cannot tell if a person is dyslexic ;except for the occational impression of a child being a bit "twitchy" ;without the technology of high- speed photography. It shows that the movements on the right side of the body are out of sync with the left. For example ;if a dyslexic child blinks, the right eyelid goes down a split-second before the left, and if she smiles the right side of her mouth turns up a milli-second before the left one. Why all of this confusion between the left and right sides? It is because of abnormalities in the brain.1 The left-hemisphere of your brain basically deals with most of the things you need for reading, such as matching letters with sounds. The right hemisphere deals in areas of space and patterns, it does not understand parts of speech or keep track of letter order in spelling. In between the two hemispheres', there are abundance of nerve cells called the corpus callosum. It acts like a bridge where information from one side of the brain is transmitted to the other. It also decides which side the information is sent to.3 In a dyslexic brain, the corpus callosum is slow and weak ;therefore it may not deliver language to the correct side. Also, because it transmits slowly part of the information arrives out of sync with the rest. Basicually a dyslexic person uses the right hemisphere instead of the left hemisphere to read and spell. It has also been found that in a dyslexic brain the language area is smaller than in a standard brain. Which is why it is understandable that with a deficted corpus callosum, overeager right hemisphere, and an undersized left language area, people with dyslexia have such a hard time. Researchers are getting a clearer picture of why this is happening by using new imaging techniques. Brain scans are now showing that when Dyslexics try to decipher words, certain areas in the back of the brain are underactive, while other areas in the front are overactivated. In the September issue of the American Journal of Neuroradiology, Berningerm and Todd Richards reported on a study in which they scanned the brains of six dyslexic and seven nondyslexic boys performing three different tasks: tell two musical tones apart, distinguishing real spoken words from nonsense and picking out rhyming syllables. The only difference was in the rhyming task. Dyslexics scored significantly lower and scans showed that regions in the front of their brains were in overdrive. This suggests that dyslexics have to work much harder to analyze sound patterns. The "sounding-out" process wasn't efficient. Although there is no cure for dyslexia, there is a technique call "Enhanced Lateralization" by which the left side of the brain is forced to work by having the right side distracted. This technique has dramatically improved reading.7 Students taught under Enhanced Lateralization have commonly achieved reading upgrade by two and three years in one year of tutoring.6 Even though the reading skills improve, the corpus callosum remained weak and unchanged. Therefore the Enhanced Laterization method of learning does not solve the problem, it mearly goes around it. There are ways to teach someone with dyslexia in public school, rather than study with Enhanced Lateralization. The teacher just has to make adjustments in their teaching method. Here are some Do's and Don'ts in teaching a dyslexic student: Do praise where possible encourage mark written work on content rather than spelling mark on oral responses whenever possible if reading long words divide syllables with a pencil line give plenty of time to copy work form blackboard have an expectation of success Don't make read in public ridicule or employ sarcasm compare with others make write work out Dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of, nor to sneer at. Many wonderful, athletic, talented, intelligent people have dyslexia such as: Actors & Entertainer: George Burns Cher Tom Cruise Danny Glover Whoopi Goldberg Jay Leno John Lennon Robin Williams Harrison Ford Scientists Harvey Cushing, Surgeon Artists & Designers Walt Disney Writers Avi Lewis Carroll Agatha Christie Through the years, the research on dyslexia has progressed immensly. We came from a time when people hid their disabilities, to learning why they happen, and then helping them. Who know what will happen when technology, again, increases to a higher standard.

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