Dyslexia and PressVision
What is Dyslexia?
Literally, dyslexia means difficulty reading words. As most clinical conditions, however, dyslexia exists on a continuum. There are two main forms of dyslexia, developmental dyslexia and acquired dyslexia. The acquired form typically occurs if you have trauma or bleeding in the brain that affects the pathways involved in reading. If someone can’t read at all, we call that alexia. If reading is possible but labored, we call that dyslexia. For more information about this form of dyslexia, see the information on Brain Injuries on this site.
Developmental dyslexia is the type of reading disorder that children face when they have difficulty in learning how to read. It may surprise you to learn that it was an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon) by the name of Hinshelwood who originally focused attention on developmental dyslexia in a series of papers written in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He understood that something was wrong with the communication between the visual centers of the brain and the language centers of the brain. Unfortunately contemporary ophthalmologists have distanced themselves from informed knowledge in the field, something we’ll address in the treatment section.
Most educators have shied away from using the term dyslexia, preferring instead to use terms such as specific reading disability.
Even today, in New Jersey, many parents are told that their child can’t be tested for dyslexia until age 10. Developmental dyslexia can be divided into three main subtypes:
- Dysphonesia – the auditory or phonetic type in which there is a disability in associating symbols with sounds. Phonemic awareness is poor.
- Dyseidesia – the visual type in which there are deficits in vision and memory of letters and word shapes limiting the ability to develop a sight word vocabulary. However they have the ability to acquire adequate phonetic skills.
- Mixed type combining features of the dysphonetic and dyseidetic.
Lately attention has been focused on the idea that developmental dyslexia is different pattern in the wiring of the brain that predisposes people to have talents or gifts in areas other than reading. Two prominent physicians, Brock and Fernette Eide, have written a book about the potential benefits and advantages of developmental dyslexia.
There is a very important blog that the Doctors Eide have written, which puts the visual aspect of dyslexia into perspective. They write:
"While not all children or adults with dyslexia have visual processing problems, many--at least two-thirds in some studies--do. This makes sense from a neurological standpoint, because several of the structural neurological features associated with dyslexia appear to predispose to visual difficulties. For example, coordinated control of the movements of the two eyes requires sending signals over long distances in white matter tracts, as well as sharing information between the two hemispheres of the brain, and oversight, modulation, and coordination by the cerebellum. Deficiencies in white matter function, interhemispheric communication, and cerebellar function are each known to be more common in dyslexic than non-dyslexic individuals (especially in the pre-adult years). In addition, many dyslexic children are known to have difficulty with muscular coordination, especially for fine motor actions. Consequently, it should not be surprising that their visual movement functions, which are controlled by many of the same neural pathways, are also poorly coordinated."
For additonal information, please refer to the Eide Neurolearning Blog.
For additonal information, check out our Dyslexia and Vision Blog and Vision and Reading Blog