Dr. Sally Shawitz is considered a leading expert on dyslexia. Recently she testified to Congress on Dyslexia and here is Dr. Shaywitz on Dyslexia.
We see Dyslexia very differently.
Dr. Shaywitz was speaking at the Miami Childrens Museum a few years ago. She was pointed out that the non Dyslexic Brain lights up in 3 spots on the left side of the brain, while the dyslexic brain lights up in only one part of the left brain and two parts of the right-brain. The right-brain is responsible for visualization and problem solving.
Dr. Shaywitz drove home the point that a student with Dyslexia needs 90 minutes a day of research based training every day for 1 to 3 years for their brain to work like a non dyslexic brain. A principal leaned over my shoulder and said, “She’s nuts”.
I then went up to Dr. Shaywitz at the end of the lecture and asked if she knew a Jewish person who could read Hebrew, but did not understand what they read.
Both her Sally and her husband Bennett raised their hands.
Dr. Sally Shaywitz quickly fired back, “That is true in Hebrew but not in English”
Her husband commented, “Sally, you didn’t really say that did you”.
We know that there are a ton of dyslexia programs that drive home phonics. phonemic awareness and some that do not let a student move on till they have mastered a skill.
While this approach works with some, it does not recognize a few things:
– Most students with dyslexia learn differently. They are often visual-spatial learners, who learn best when the student sees and experiences information. These visual-spatial learners have difficulty understanding the frequently used words (e.g why, but, what, if etc.) that do not generate a picture and recognizing words they have seen but not mastered
– Visual-spatial learners often need to master the meaning of the frequently used words and pattern recognition skills before phonics will work
– A visual-spatial learner often skips words and lines when reading. Dyslexia is not an eye-teaming issue, but eye-teaming issues exist in a large percentage of students with dyslexia
– Same for attention issues — most students with dyslexia have an attention issue
If you have a child with dyslexia, see if they are a visual-spatial learner and if your child has an eye teaming and/or an attention issue.
Dyslexia programs often claim they are multisensory — but they are rarely hands-on programs that focus on the frequently used words vocabulary, word recognition, identifying and addressing both eye teaming and attention issues, and they often do not help you to be the coach and advocate your child needs.
For more information visit Dyslexia, a Learning Disability or a Visual-spatial Learner