Mar. 11th, 2012

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OK, so probably most of my readers don’t have a need for dyslexia books. I’m posting these notes here to jog my memory in the future, and just in case anyone who needs such information drops by.

Overcoming DyslexiaOvercoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz, M.D. Shaywitz is a Yale doctor who has been involved in dyslexia research for decades, including writing an article about dyslexia that was published in Smithsonian magazine in the mid-1990s. This is a thick and comprehensive book about the history, nature and treatment of dyslexia. On the one hand, very good information, at least considering that it’s now nearly a decade old. On the other hand, the text was so dense, with tiny type and frequent fillers about the marvels of modern science, that I found myself wanting to hurl the book across the room and tell Shaywitz to get to the point already. The revolutionary teaching method promised in the subtitle was not introduced until page 172, especially amazing given that dyslexia is often inherited, making it very likely that a dyslexic parent would be trying to muddle through this. /end rant

Facts about dyslexia that I did not know: According to Shaywitz, current research indicates that the root of dyslexia is phonological, not visual as is still commonly assumed. The brain just doesn’t want to convert sounds to symbols and back. Brain scans show activity in very different parts for dyslexics and non-dyslexics, so the they are learning to read in very different ways. Dyslexia affects just as many girls as boys, and lower class as middle class, though girls and lower class kids tend to be underidentified – because girls are quiet and lower class are sadly just not expected to succeed academically. Though in general dyslexia is highly underdiagnosed, she cites research showing that about 20% of people have dyslexia. Maybe I shouldn’t be so concerned about no one else needing this information.

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