Learn to Read Through Sound
Reported May 2008
BOSTON (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Dyslexia can be a frustrating condition, making it difficult for children to read. Many think it is a visual issue, but a new study using a computer game reveals the problem may not only be with sight, but also sound.
Jake Lo Giudice is dyslexic and some words can be tough to identify. "I felt like I was different," Jake recalls. I felt like I was outside of the group." Jake's mother Karen uses clay models to help her son visualize non-sight words. "It's because they are picture thinkers and those words do not have a picture," Karen explained. But researchers believe the problem could also be with how the brain "hears" sounds. "We believe that these children -- from being toddlers or even earlier as infants -- have problems with processing these changes in sounds," Nadine Gaab, Ph.D., an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Children's Hospital in Boston, Mass., told Ivanhoe.
Cognitive neuroscientists believe dyslexic children's brains have problems interpreting fast-changing syllables like "ba" and "da" because their brains are wired differently. This makes reading more of a challenge. Dr. Gaab is using "sound training" through computer exercises to monitor how dyslexics process fast and slow-changing sounds. While children play the game, Dr. Gaab monitors their brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). But after eight weeks of intensive training, a dyslexic child's fMRI image shows more activity. "The brain is very plastic and so the brain learns and reconnected and built a new network," Dr. Gaab explained.
That possible reconnection could hold the key to helping dyslexics read. Researchers hope as children are diagnosed with dyslexia earlier, they can start sound training sooner and possibly reduce the severity of their condition.
Click here to Go Inside This Science or contact:
Children's Hospital Boston
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA 02115
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Dyslexia can be a frustrating condition, making it difficult for children to read. Many think it is a visual issue, but a new study using a computer game reveals the problem may not only be with sight, but also sound.
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