Catching dyslexia before your child starts to read

stock-boy with bookAny child learning how to read can become frustrated at first, but once he gets the hang of it, reading can become fun. For a child with dyslexia, that day may never come.

Nadine Gaab, PhD, of Children’s Laboratories of Cognitive Neuroscience is enrolling 4- to 6-year-old children in a study to identify children at risk for dyslexia before reading instruction has even started.

Of the 2.6 million 6- to 11-year-old children diagnosed with learning disabilities in the United States, about 80 percent have dyslexia. In recent years, researchers have suggested several causes for dyslexia. One theory suggests that dyslexia may be caused by a difficulty in processing sounds quickly.

“Children with developmental dyslexia may be living in a world with in-between sounds,” Gaab says. “It could be that whenever I tell a child with dyslexia ‘ga,’ they hear a mix of ‘ga,’ ‘ka,’ ‘ba,’ and ‘wa.’” This inability to process rapid sounds becomes a problem when it’s time to turn written words into spoken language.

Gaab and her colleagues showed in 2007 that sound processing can be improved in 9- to 12-year-old children with dyslexia, using special video games that train them to listen carefully to changing sounds. After eight weeks of these games, the children showed better reading skills. What’s more, using brain imaging, Gaab showed that this training reduces functional differences between the brains of school-age children with dyslexia and those of typically developing children.

In the new study, Gaab is looking for the same sound-processing problems and assessing pre-reading skills in children as young as 4 who have a family member with dyslexia. If dyslexia can be spotted sooner rather than later, it would give these children a fighting chance, sparing them many struggles in school.

The study will be testing children through the end of November and especially needs children without a family history of dyslexia to serve as controls, particularly if they’ve just entered kindergarten. Visit Gaab’s research lab for more information.

And as a reminder to everyone: just remember that dyslexia has nothing to do with one’s level of intelligence. After all, one of this year’s Nobel Prize winners wrestled with dyslexia as a child!

4 thoughts on “Catching dyslexia before your child starts to read

  1. That American Academy of Pediatrics, Section on Ophthalmology, Council on Children with Disabilities, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus and American Association of Certified Orthoptists ,
    none of whom are qualified to diagnose dyslexia at all , make a joint statement that actually seems to be very specific against tinted lenses and vision therapy is not all that surprising but must at some level to be taken with a grain of salt.

    What I feel they are responding to as much as anything are grossly overstate claims that include not only dyslexia but all learning disabilities.

    The reality is not that there are no dyslexics that have reading difficulties because of visual problems. The problem is that the two best known proponents of visual interventions are expensive, have high failure rates, no guarantees and not a clue as how to identify those that might actually need help.

    A major requirement for any professional who deals with learning disabilities is to be able to identify who has what disability. Vision therapy claims vision therapy is necessary for all that have learning disabilities. That’s obviously untrue. Irlen lenses claim to help dyslexics, autistics, ADHD, and even good readers. That’s just about everybody.

    Dr. G. Eden, now president of the international dyslexia Association, was one of the first to study dyslexia and vision by fMRI and basically had the same results as all of the other fMRI studies done by dyslexia researchers in all of the areas of the brain associated with language processing.

    The virtually universal result of dyslexia and fMRI brain studies is that differences are seen between groups of dyslexics and non-dyslexics but with so much overlap between the two groups that individuals cannot be identified by fMRI. That is exactly the conclusion that was reached when the visual centers of the brain were studied for dyslexia.

    Since most of dyslexia research is claiming a neurological and phonological basis of dyslexia it needs to be pointed out that it is a majority’s opinion of dyslexia researchers that about 10% of dyslexics don’t fit that model and fit a visual problem model better.

    So if the question is “Do all dyslexics have visual problems?”, then the answer is for the vast majority, no. That doesn’t give medical professionals who obviously have not read all the research to write blanket statements about their being no association between dyslexia and vision.

    The Irlen method and vision therapy both claim to be research-based and it is a generally accepted fact that the quality of that research has been non-reproducible and suffers from experimental design flaws. It is not proper to conclude the results of poorly designed studies have any valid conclusions. You just cannot say that claimed positive results from poor studies are actually negative. The proper conclusion to draw from poorly designed studies is that no conclusions can be drawn.

    It must also be pointed out that no educational type of dyslexia intervention has been proved to be a universal solution for all dyslexics. The generally used phrase about all educational interventions is that there are a non- trivial amount of non-responders. Some of those nonresponders are dyslexics whose reading problems are caused by visual problems and difficulties in seeing the text.

    Going back to Dr. G. Eden’s original dyslexia and vision studies, there was a report of a little girl in the study who is quoted as saying”I could read if only the words would stop walking.”. That’s a visual problem.

    My niche is visual dyslexia and I developed a universal visual dyslexia filter that I sell as See Right Dyslexia Glasses. There is one criteria Iuse to determine if a person is visually dyslexic. I believe it’s reasonable. If the person can describe a visual problem that makes reading difficult and impairs their reading ability then they are visually dyslexic.

    I’d like to say I have all these great scientific studies to prove that my glasses work. But in my opinion , what people actually want is to know that whenever dyslexia help is purchased will actually be a benefit or they can get their money back.

    The different approach I’ve taken to the visual dyslexia problem has eliminated the need for personal evaluation. I only market the product to those that can describe visual problems that make reading difficult and I offer a money back guarantee.

    While I can only help about 10% of dyslexics, that 10% is not going to be helped by educational type interventions.

    It is fairly well known that statistically dyslexics have a higher rate of poor depth perception than the general population. Eye Drs. pay attention here! As a side benefit not related to reading, See Right Dyslexia Glasses restore normal depth perception to those visual dyslexics that have poor depth perception instantly. I do understand that eye doctors do have some success improving depth perception over a long period of time.

    I mention the correction of depth perception problems because that’s something that eye doctors can measure if any of them are interested in investigating that simple claim. Did I mention 100% of the time?

    In my opinion that statement about vision and dyslexia being a myth was a slapped together,cut and pasted response to people that were overselling high failure rate methods or products.

    For information about visual dyslexia and how to remove the problems of visual dyslexia you can visit my website at http://dyslexia ,

  2. Another set of marketing hype.

    those who have developmental dyslexia are born with the genetic cognitive deficits which can cause the dyslexic symptom.

    Dyslexia is only an educational disability, dyslexia is not a medical disability or disorder. The primary cognitive skill set defcits which can cause dyslexia depends on the writing system being used. Currently here we are using the Latin Alphabet writing system and more specifically the English orthography.

    Dyslexia is only about having problems using writing system chosen and developed by your culture. Writing systems are visual notations of speech, using graphic symbols.

    There is a whole body of research regarding dyslexia especially over the last two decades. In recent months I have collated some online PubMed research paper collections regarding the various aspects of dyslexia including: Reading, Learning, Dyslexia and Phonological Processing, Dyslexia and Visual Processing, Dyslexia and Auditory Processing,
    Dyslexia and Attention, Dyslexia and Speech and Language Impairments, Dyslexia and Genetic Research, Dyslexia: Cognitive Neurology and Neurobiology, Dyslexia and Remediation, and more all of which can be accessed via the Delicious online bookmark facility at
    The Cognitive Neurology and Neurobiology collection of research papers was recently summerised and the bulk of the papers have been re-collated by year of publication at

    I have one more important collection of research papers “Living with Dyslexia” which can be located at

    First you have to identify the cognitive cause of each individuals dyslexia is or “What causes your Dyslexia” and also identify the individuals cognitive strengths which can be used to compensate for their cognitive deficits, before you can begin to suggest any coping strategies to work around their specific problems.

    There is no magic cure, and all support programs will only work for specific groups of dyslexics, and some support programs may also conflict with other groups of dyslexics cognitive learning needs.

    Basically you have to discard the marketing hype, and marketing ploys and ignore much of the dyslexia industry trying to sell their products and services. You need to identify the medical cognitive deficit(s) which cause the dyslexic symptoms. Dyslexia after all is a man made problem, we created the writing systems as a means of communication.

  3. Our schools have about 3 million child dyslexics. My research says that
    the methods used by school teachers cause dyslexia and that the 40
    million dyslexics in America are being maintained in numbers by the school output and by the failure of brain research.

    We must go back to the functions of the eye. There is failure to start teaching with strengthening of the natural peripheral vision, combined with cultivating the exclusive use of the foveola in beginning reading to
    produce foveolar (slow) readers. These are only the beginning of t;e
    list of what not to do.
    foveolar reading habit, and so on.

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