The Multidisciplinary Approach To Dyslexia: Brain, Ears, And Eyes

Since it was first identified in 1881, many theories have been put forth about the causes of dyslexia, from the brain struggling to choose a dominant hemisphere to visual memory that would not properly hold information about letters and words.

Today, with advances in neuroscience and brain imaging, scientific understanding of dyslexia has progressed greatly. And part of what has been learned about dyslexia is that it is a complicated disorder, affecting different people in different ways; it may involve vision, memory, language processing, and even auditory processing and hearing.

This is why it's so useful to take a multidisciplinary approach to dyslexia and work with multiple different areas that may be contributing to difficulty reading.

Reading Remediation

Reading remediation is the classic form of dyslexia management, and it covers a very wide range of teaching techniques. It commonly focuses on intensive time spent working one-on-one or in a small group with a teacher or tutor. Individual work is very effective because pacing is important; it's necessary to gradually attempt more difficult readings so that learned skills are reinforced while new skills are added without being too frustrating.

If you have a child with dyslexia, you should talk to their school about what programs they have in place to assist in reading instruction. If they do not have the staff to give your child the attention they need, consider hiring a reading tutor or asking your local library whether they offer individual reading tutoring.

Assistive Listening Devices

Some people with dyslexia have difficulty distinguishing similar-sounding consonants or vowels. Since they have trouble hearing the difference between, for example, catch and patch or big and bug, they also have difficulty matching sounds and written language. This can make phonetic reading instruction very frustrating.

Sometimes called FM systems, assistive listening devices – such as having a teacher wear a wireless microphone while the student wears a small receiver in their ears – can help a child more clearly distinguish these sounds. Ask if your school has these devices available; some schools may be using them for hearing-impaired students but not students with dyslexia.

Visual Therapy

Dyslexia often occurs along with some level of visual impairment. This doesn't necessarily mean that those with dyslexia require glasses; other common problems include eyes not properly converging on a single focal point or unsteady or shifting focus. A comprehensive eye exam can help catch these problems, and visual therapy means combining eye exercises and training with medical devices like glasses.

By treating the visual impairment, the efficacy of reading instruction and tutoring increases as the visual side of reading becomes easier. This is why it's a good idea to talk to an optometrist if you have a child with dyslexia. An optometrist who specializes in vision therapy or who has experience with learning disabilities is the best choice.

Contact a center like Absolute Vision Care to learn more.