Redefining Dyslexia [Premium]

Redefining Dyslexia [Premium]

In the past year, there have been some remarkable papers published in the field of dyslexia. By and large, the changes seem to be good news and more inclusive of the diverse ways that dyslexia presents – including gifted individuals with dyslexia. But change is likely to be messy – and schools and educational and research groups are likely to different and present different information to students and their families. THE PENDULUM SWINGS AGAIN ON DISCREPANCY Although the earliest professional accounts about dyslexia recognized the unexpected connection of high intelligence with difficulties in reading, writing, and spelling, the dyslexia field has been involved in many warring opinions about whether cognitive tests are worthwhile. Without pointing fingers, many researchers and educational leaders over the years questioned […]

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What’s the Point of the Dyslexic Mind?   with Dr Brock Eide [Premium]

What’s the Point of the Dyslexic Mind? with Dr Brock Eide [Premium]

This webinar was rescheduled from a planned presentation at Cambridge University. Although dyslexia has traditionally been defined in negative and narrow terms, these definitions are poorly matched to the breadth of research on dyslexic children and adults. Here the Eides present their case that dyslexia should not be defined solely as a defect or deficiency, but rather as a cognitive specialization – that prioritizes episodic cognition.

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Schools Missing the Boat on Dyslexia and Math [Premium]

Schools Missing the Boat on Dyslexia and Math [Premium]

Forty-four percent of dyslexic students also meet diagnostic criteria for math disability, according to researchers, but math rarely receives specific designations on students’ individualized education plans. What is the result? Dyslexic students with math disabilities underperform, fail, get held back, and find themselves excluded from certain academic tracks and majors (like science, technology, and engineering). What they really need though are informed teachers and school programs that understand their specific needs and teach them based on their strengths. CHALLENGES AND STRENGTHS IN MATH In a review of 50 consecutive dyslexic students seen in our clinic, the following patterns were seen in their WISCIV IQ and WIAT-III achievement scores. Our practice was unusual because we had many gifted referrals from the Silicon Valley and many students […]

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Weak Studies Challenge Orton-Gillingham Intervention

Weak Studies Challenge Orton-Gillingham Intervention

  After all the hard work increasing dyslexia awareness and passing laws to improve teacher training (some of the efforts just beginning), one small paper has attracted some attention in the media, attempting to push back against the benefits of Orton-Gillingham/Structured Literacy instruction in public schools. The paper (Stevens et al., 2021) unfortunately has already begun to echo in the general media (including NPR ). The danger is that may interfere with literacy training efforts that were only just approved or begun, setting back programs that might have been one of the few bright spots facing dyslexic students struggling with decoding. There are many problems with the study, but a glaring mistake was the authors’ decision to NOT restrict their review to students with dyslexia, […]

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Sky’s the Limit: Finding Self-Efficacy [Premium]

Sky’s the Limit: Finding Self-Efficacy [Premium]

“If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning…” — Mahatma Gandhi More people may have heard about self-esteem than self-efficacy, but self-efficacy may be a more important quality that will predict how a person may make personal life goals and meet challenges in the future. Self-esteem relates to how one values oneself. Self-efficacy, on the other hand, is a belief in how you can be successful or achieve something in the future.   MAJOR INFLUENCES ON SELF-EFFICACY Dr. Albert Bandura, a pioneer in the study of self-efficacy, states that the major influences on self efficacy are: — mastery experiences (starting out as a beginner […]

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Understanding Dyslexia as an Exploratory Advantage [Premium]

Understanding Dyslexia as an Exploratory Advantage [Premium]

“Approaches to explaining developmental dyslexia must account for both the difficulties and the enhanced abilities that are typical of people with developmental dyslexia. All the proposed strengths… relate in some way to seeking out the unknown, often at the expense of exploiting known information. A useful framework for tying together these observations is cognitive search, which involves a trade-off between exploration–exploitation.” — Helen Taylor and Martin David Vestergaard   In an extraordinary article in Frontiers in Psychology, two Cambridge University scholars have put forth a paradigm-shifting concept of dyslexia that integrates over a century of research from diverse perspectives. It is a tour-de-force that might help society put dyslexia in its proper context. From the paper (the simple term “dyslexia” is substituted for developmental dyslexia […]

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Dyslexia as an Evolutionary Advantage

Dyslexia as an Evolutionary Advantage

Dyslexia is not a neurological disorder or even an impairment, but rather a concession for having cognitive strengths in exploration, big-picture thinking, creativity, and problem-solving that have contributed to human survival amid changing environments. This insight comes from a new study published in Frontiers in Psychology that finds an association between the learning difference and “an explorative bias.” — Additude Magazine, on the recent paper by Taylor and Westergaard   Cambridge scholars Helen Taylor and Martin David Vestergaard are shaking up the world with their article, Developmental Dyslexia: Disorder or Specialization in Exploration? In just a week, the article already had more views that 98% of all Frontiers articles. I’ve begun to a do a deep dive in our Premium magazines, but one of the reasons […]

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Processing Speed and Dyslexia [Premium]

Processing Speed and Dyslexia [Premium]

Why isn’t there a “diagnosis” of processing speed impairment? For practical reasons, a label or diagnosis can help justify the need for extended time accommodations, reduce the quantity of homework, or similar requests. Without a formal diagnostic code, medical or educational professionals may also be more likely to overlook the need for accommodations… something that can have negative effects on grades and standardized test scores. Processing speed is also a curious phenomenon in the setting of dyslexia because speed is not typically slow for everything but rather certain types of activities that place especially heavy demands on reading, writing, and rote memory. If students are only partially remediated, they will be a great deal slower, needing extra time to decode text as well as integrate information. […]

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PTSD and Dyslexia

PTSD and Dyslexia

“This study identified that emotional trauma took place in all participants, and this resulted in many having Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder manifestations as a result of returning to school for their own children. Participants still noted anger and resentment as adults towards their childhood teachers…” — Neil Alexander-Passe   In Neil’s study of PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder in dyslexic adults in the United Kingdom, he found that all experienced emotional trauma in their time in the public school system and over half (64%) experienced PTSD or school avoidance symptoms when re-entering schools as parents, resulting in anxiety with many stating that they felt powerless as a child. PTSD symptoms occurred in the same frequency whether or not adults had achieved advanced degrees.

From […]

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Poor Outcomes for Reading Recovery [Premium]

Poor Outcomes for Reading Recovery [Premium]

“Initial gains from first-grade intervention didn’t last and kids performed worse in third and fourth grade…”   Over 2 million students in the US have been taught reading with based Reading Recovery, a short term intervention program that uses pull-out one-to-one tutoring to first grade students. It was one of the few programs supported by the What Works Clearing House to improve general achievement (see report here – link goes to a public google drive which contains the report). However, new data suggests that at long-term following, students who received Reading Recovery performed worse than their peers by the 3rd and 4th grades:   The researchers at the University of Delaware gave possible reasons for negative results:   Of note, Reading Recovery had received $55 […]

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