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Dyslexia in the 21st Century


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Presentation by Dr. Brock Eide, co-author of The Dyslexic Advantage, at the annual meeting of the International Dyslexia Association in Baltimore, MD. The audio may take several minutes to download. …

Presentation by Dr. Brock Eide, co-author of The Dyslexic Advantage, at the annual meeting of the International Dyslexia Association in Baltimore, MD. The audio may take several minutes to download. When the audio is read, the large arrow button in the center will be dark. Clicking on it will start the presentation.

Published in: Education

  • thank you for making your slides available for students all over the worl. I am a student of psychology from Iran
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  • Thanks for the presentation. My 2nd Grader is definitely dyslexic.
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  • I learned so much from this. I have a 2nd grader that has all the symptoms of dyslexia. It is so frustrating trying to figure it all out. He works so hard on spelling and reading. He continues to receive below average grades on reading, penmanship and English. The school has him in a reading program but it isn't helping. I work with him everyday on spelling mostly using pictures with the word which seems to help. His penmanship seems to get worse but cursive writing is better for him.
    It is hereditary. My dad dropped out of high school because reading was so hard. He did become a successful business owner.
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  • Brock it was great to meet you at IDA this year. Thanks for your contribution to our symposium. My apologies for not finding more time to chat -- it's always so hectic at IDA! Thanks, too, for making your slides and transcript available on SlideShare. I do wish more of our speakers did this. (I'm on SS, too!)

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  • So glad to hear this, Derrick! Thanks for your very kind note!
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  • 1. Dyslexia in the 21st Century: Where Are We Going? “It is more important to know what sort of person has asease than it is to know what sort of disease a person has.” --Hippocrates-- Brock Eide M.D. M.A. and Fernette Eide M.D. Dyslexic
  • 2. The Scientist
  • 3. The ClinicianWhat Does a Pig Know?
  • 4. A Pig Knows Where to Dig
  • 5. Key Message From This TalkWe will never truly understand what the “dyslexicmind” is all about if our goal is simply tounderstand the brain features underlying readingdisability.We will only discover what the “dyslexic mind” isreally “for” if we broaden our focus to studycomprehensively the kinds of people who havedifficulty learning to read and spell.
  • 6. Two Ways to think about the important brain differences underlying dyslexia 1. The Deficit Model of Dyslexia 2. The Trade-Off Model of Dyslexia Question: Which model has the greater explanatory power?
  • 7. First Model Assumes:All “normal brains”should learn to readand spell without muchdifficulty, so if you can’tthere’s somethingwrong with your brain. This is the Deficit Model Of Dyslexia The brains of dyslexic individuals are trying, but failing, to work just like everyone else’s.
  • 8. Idea: The Key Brain Differences are simply those that relate to the reading and spelling challenges. Gabrielli, et al. Narrow but Great Explanatory Power: Gains in readingPopular Understanding: With the right treatment, dyslexic brains can become ‘just like everyone else’s’.
  • 9. Three problems with this approach:• Problem 1: Brain studies show that dyslexic brains don’t just work differently for reading, but for all sorts of tasks.
  • 10. Dyslexic Brains Process Sound Differently Phoneme Working Memory Control Dyslexia Good Readers Poor Readers Dyslexic difficulty hearing differences in rapid sounds Reading, listening, foreign language, note-taking, learning through lectures Auditory Brainstem ResponsesGaab et al., 2007; Beneventi et al., 2010; Chandrasekaran et al., 2009 Speech in Noise
  • 11. Dyslexic Brains Process Vision Differently Control ControlDyslexia Dyslexia Visual Motion Differences Dyslexia Slower Visual Visual Crowding & Attentional BlinkSpacing Control Letter Identification S p a c i n g improves reading accuracy Letter Size Eden et al., 1996; Hari and Renvall, 2001; Martelli et al., 2009; Zorzi et al., 2012
  • 12. Dyslexic Brains Process Motor Tasks Differently Impaired Procedural Learning Serial Reaction Time Task Response Time Dyslexia Control Control S1-2: Controls Supplementary Motor Area S4-5:Robertson, 2007; Meghini et al., 2006 Dyslexia Cerebellum
  • 13. Dyslexic Brains Perform Language Tasks Differently Blue: Dyslexics Red: Controls Dyslexia-Specific: parahippocampal gyrus, fusiform, lingual gyrus ? context word retrieval, imagerySilently Generate a Verb Associated with a NounExample: Boat...Sailing Baillieux et al., 2009
  • 14. In ShortDyslexic individuals show very different patternsof brain function for many different tasks, notjust reading
  • 15. Problem 2:On neuropsychological/cognitive testing, dyslexic individuals typically don’t just show differences in reading, but in all sorts of learning tasks
  • 16. Differences far beyond Reading and Spelling155150145140 Average135 VIQ130125 Superior VIQ120115 Very110 Superior VIQ105 VIQ > 140100 95 90 85 80Dyslexic students from our clinic – WISC IV and WIAT-III
  • 17. Problem 3: Deficit model can’tcontain all the relevant data…
  • 18. Press release, Cass School of Business, City University of London, 2004, Title: “Entrepreneurs Five Times More Likely to Suffer from Dyslexia” Who were some of these “Sufferers”?Sir Richard Branson Lord Alan Sugar Lord Norman Foster
  • 19. OtherChallengingObservations• Formal studies showing dyslexic individuals appear to advantages in various areas.• Our own observations of hundreds of dyslexic individuals and their families that they were as likely to share certain talents as challenges.
  • 20. These observations should make us stop and ask some important questions:
  • 21. Are We Missing TheBigger Picture? Question 1: Are the important brain features in dyslexia simply those that cause problems with reading and spelling, or should we look more broadly for brain differences underlying the full set of cognitive features shared by dyslexic individuals?
  • 22. Deficit or Trade-Off?Question 2: Is the “Dyslexic Brain” really tryingbut failing to be a “normal brain” as the deficit model suggests, or is it organized to create adifferent set of desirable functions that lead tospecial strengths as well as special challenges, like flip sides of the same neurological coin?
  • 23. An alternative approach to determining the relevant brain features in dyslexia: Rather than asking “What are the brain features that cause reading disability” we should ask:“What can we learn about PEOPLE who have difficulty learning to read and spell?”
  • 24. A Complete Understanding Is MultileveledA full understandingof what it means tobe dyslexic requiresresearch on severallevels including…
  • 25. NeuroethnographyHow do dyslexic individuals live and function in all domains of life?• Observation and questioning of individual subjects• Population-based studies of behavior• What patterns do they show in work, education, development, interests, accomplis
  • 26. NeuropsychologyHow do dyslexic individuals think and processinformation?• Cognitive examinations and research• Observation of thinking and learning strategies
  • 27. Cognitive Neuroscience and Functional Neuroanatomy• Patterns of brain structure, connectivity, and functional activity, not just for reading but for cognitive functions of all kinds.
  • 28. When searching for patternsat all three levels, we observed… The MIND Strengths Material Reasoning Interconnected Reasoning Narrative Reasoning Dynamic Reasoning
  • 29. Material ReasoningThe ability to reason about thephysical characteristics of objectsand the material universe(largely spatial reasoning ability).
  • 30. Dyslexia and 3D Talents: Formal Studies Demonstrate bdpq Impossible Figures Shorter Response Times with Dyslexia No Significant Difference in AccuracyBetter with impossible figures Attree et al., 2009; Karolyi et al., 2003and navigating a virtual maze
  • 31. 10% Severe Dyslexia25% Moderate Dyslexia(Population: 4%/10%)(30% at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design; similar proportions in fine arts and photography in Sweden)
  • 32. British engineering school, 26% of the enteringclass were dyslexic… Sarah Parsons, Harper Adams
  • 33. Dyslexic Architects, Engineers, Designers “Dyslexia…made me realize that people who say ‘You can’t do that’ aren’t actually very important. I don’t take ‘No’ too seriously.” – Lord Richard Rogers
  • 34. Interconnected Reasoning
  • 35. Interconnected Reasoning• The ability to spot connections or relationships between different objects, concepts, or points of view (similarity, causality, or correlation)• The ability to connect diverse perspectives (or see things from multiple points of view, often using approaches and techniques borrowed from other disciplines)• The ability to unite information into a single global or “big picture” perspective, and to determine large scale features like gist and context
  • 36. Strong Interconnected Reasoning in DyslexiaDyslexic individuals named 30% morealternative uses for items like sodacans or bricks, and were able to create30% more pictures using basic shapes(Everatt, Smythe, Steffert, 1999. Creative Insight Problems Connectfrom A only moving 3 lifting pen. Make B dots with 4 lines not circles Everatt et al., 1999
  • 37. Strong Interconnected Reasoning in Dyslexia• Strength with ambiguous sentences (The woman saw a man eating fish. The chickens were too hot to eat.)• Often recognize more distant connections on conceptual grouping tasks.
  • 38. Focus on Gist and Context• Individuals with dyslexia often depend more on the “big picture” to sort out the fine details. E.g., Dyslexic readers (especially verbally talented) use context to guess meanings of words and passages that they can’t perfectly decode (stealth dyslexics)• Poor rote fact memory without context• Natural “top down” learners• Teach: Sketch big picture first, fill in details later. Need to ‘hang’ new concepts onto old ones. ABC: “Application Before Concept”
  • 39. Narrative ReasoningThe ability to construct a connected series of mental scenes frompast personal experience, to recall the past, understand the present,or create imaginary scenes.
  • 40. Different Forms of Factual Memory• Semantic: Impersonal • Episodic: Personal• Abstract • Scene-Based• Non-contextual • Specific Time and Place• Generalized, Generic • Particular, Specific• Like dictionary definitions • Cases, Examples• “Completed” patterns • “Separated” patterns
  • 41. If we say ‘robin’ what does that make you think of?“Different robins, definitely. My mind starts jumping to robinsthat I’ve experienced, rather than a single generalizedrobin, or the Platonic ideal of the robin…”- Jack Laws, naturalist
  • 42. Personal/Episodic Memory• Speech Professor Duane Smith:• “If I hear a song, or smell something, or see an article of clothing or a car from a particular year, I can immediately imagine a scene on a particular day, or event. It drives my wife crazy because we’ll be listening to the radio, and I’ll talk about how it takes me back to 1985 when I was standing with a group of buddies at In- N-Out Burger on a Saturday night listening to that song, and what we were talking about, and she’ll say, ‘Can’t you ever just listen to the song?’”
  • 43. Dyslexic Storytellers
  • 44. Other Kinds of Dyslexic Storytellers“My whole life has been about stories and telling stories…”-Duane Smith, Communications Professor LAVC“It seems to me my strength as a lawyer was being able to tella story…” – David Schoenbrod, New York Law Professor“I always think in stories…“ CEO, ex-Google CIO Douglas Merrill
  • 45. Episodic Memory• Advantages – store vivid individual details, attend to novelty and exceptions, rich associations and connotations, divergent thinking, ideas in context / applications• Disadvantages – hard to ‘sound bite’, lots of data to organize and sequence
  • 46. Dynamic Reasoning
  • 47. Dynamic Reasoning• Recombining elements of past experience to predict or simulate future outcomes, or unwitnessed past events.• Relies on personal rather than abstract memory• Especially valuable in situations that are changing or ambiguous, where relevant variables only partially known, or are unusual or unprecedented.• Rather than following a rule-based, logical, or mathematical process, it builds upon cases or examples in an empirical “best fit” fashion
  • 48. Closely Connected with Insight/Intuition• Sarah Andrews, professional geologist, mystery writer, and dyslexic: “Given a problem and an hour to solve it, we spend 3 minutes intuiting the answer then the other 57 backtracking to check our results through data collection and deductive logic.”• Sudden leap, not stepwise or transparent• As opposed to analysis: methodical, step-by- step, transparent to explanation.• Neurobiology well worked out
  • 49. Pathologizing Creativity• Close connections between the neural networks responsible for Daydreaming, episodic memory, envisioning the future, seeing things from others’ perspectives…• These are the roots of the MIND strengths• Perhaps the dyslexic brain is not designed to come up with “right” answers, but with new or creative answers
  • 50. Diffuse Attention(Reduced Latent Inhibition) • Reduced ability to screen irrelevant stimuli from conscious awareness (distractible!) • Associated openness to experience, increased creativity • ‘Permeability of Consciousness’ Peterson, 2000
  • 51. Diffuse Attention dominates in high creative achievers: Carson, 2003
  • 52. Question: What Makes Dyslexic Brains So Different?• Must explain both patterns of strength and weakness• Must be fundamental and anatomically diffuse to affect so many different aspects of processing and cognition• One possibility discussed in our book: large- scale patterns of connectivity, as documented by Manuel Casanova and colleagues at University of Kentucky.
  • 53. One Promising Candidate• Cognitive functions emerge as circuits are formed between functional clusters of brain cells (called minicolumns).• Connections between adjacent clusters of cells with similar functions create enhanced fine detail functions like expert precision, speed, detail resolution, and efficiency. E.g., upgrading processer without adding functions can make a good calculator even better.• Connections between distant clusters results in enhanced “big picture” functions like gestalt, gist, or context detection, judgment, etc.• Pattern of spacing creates physical and functional bias for one or the other: Autism (local circuits) vs. dyslexia/adhd (distant circuits)
  • 54. Fine Detail vs. Big Picture• Fine details: discriminating closely related sounds, visual images, concepts, terms, etc.; performing simple tasks quickly and accurately (e.g., calculations, spelling, grammar, precise motor movements); precise definitions and distinctions. Trees vs. forest. Handwriting, phonics, names and dates, Where’s Waldo…• Big Picture: Context, gist, theme, symbolism, judgment, distant
  • 55. Future goals• To provoke a deeper study of dyslexia-associated talents.• To make strengths as closely associated with dyslexia as challenges• To foster the growth and use of these talents for learning and employment.• To help dyslexic individuals develop a more positive vision of their potential, and help them take full advantage of their marvelously different makeup.
  • 56. The Dyslexic Advantage Brock Eide M.D. M.A. and Fernette Eide M.D.“Probably the most helpful materials ever published on dyslexia…” --Manuel Casanova, MD, PhD, Gottfried and Gisela Kolb Professor and Chair Department of Psychiatry, University of Kentucky“A compelling call to action…” --Scientific American Mind"This is a must read for parents, educators, and people with dyslexia.“ --Gordon F. Sherman, Ph.D., Past-President International Dyslexia Association
  • 57. Dyslexia: Ability Focus Why Our Images MatterThe dyslexic brain is not designed to come up with“right” answers, but with new or creative answers
  • 58. Dyslexia:Why Our Images Matter Disability Focus
  • 59. A Dangerous Dynamic Challenges Misunderstanding of Significance Focus on Deficits/Disability Shame Concealment/Denial IsolationFailure to Form Community/Achieve Progress