Though Myomancy.com focuses non-language / education based methods of dealing with dyslexia its worth remembering that there are more traditional approaches that work. One of these is the Orton-Gillingham Multisensory Method. It is a phonics based program taught one-to-one in a manner that suits how most dyslexic people learn, i.e. multi-sensory with a slow, steady step-by-step approach. There is a more in-depth write up of here. This comes from an informative web site called Bright Solution for Dyslexia.
The Orton-Gillingham approach is used or has been adapted by a number of individual teachers and centres around the country. One of the biggest is Lindamood-Bell who have centres all over the US and one in the UK.
Many thanks Liz and her blog I Speak of Dreams which, amongst other things, deals with dyslexia and other education issues.
Meares–Irlen Syndrome is the description given to dyslexics whose reading can be improved by use of coloured lens or overlays. Its also known as Scotopic sensitivity syndrome. When it was first suggested that colour may make a difference to reading it met with a skeptical response in part because Helen Irlen set up the Irlen Institure to promote and sell coloured glasses.
However some research has been done to prove or disprove the existence Meares-Irlen Syndrome. Research [PDF] at the University of Essex, UK, found “that between one-fifth and one-third of unselected school-children show a significant (> 5%) improvement in their rate of reading with their chosen overlay“. Further research [PDF] on 33 children and adults with learning difficulties found “that, in some people, Intuitive Overlays significantly improve the rate of reading. Our data further demonstrate that this improvement in performance cannot be attributed to conventional optometric anomalies nor to placebo effects. We conclude that, inappropriately selected patients, individually prescribed coloured filters can have a beneficial effect not only on symptoms (Wilkins et al., 1994) but also on immediate reading performance“.
Work done at the University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia looked at the long-term effects of coloured filters [Abstract]. Their results showed “The treatment groups increased at a significantly greater rate than the control group in reading accuracy and reading comprehension“.
Previous coverage on Myomancy.com: Coloured Lenses
EYE is a device promoted as "The Total Vision Workout". This is not a specific treatment for dyslexia or ADHD / ADD but there is a lot of evidence that visual problems can be an issue (Vision and Learning, Coloured Lenses). The site makes references to a study done at the Pacific University College of Optometry but there is no link to the actual study. The college however does have a web page available on the study and has photos of the device in action.
Dr Liberman describes himself as a visionary and has doctorates in Optometry and Vision Science. He has written two books: Light: Medicine of the Future and Take Off Your Glasses and See.
The UK’s Developmental Practitioners’ Association (DPA) have unveiled its latest tool, the EASIE Programme. Designed for nursery and early year children, EASIE is the earliest school-based programme developed to promote learning readiness and prevent learning difficulty before it begins. The DPA is an association of independent practitioners who offer treatment to adults and children for a wide range of learning difficulties. The DPA has existed since 1995, promoting neuro-developmental and associated therapies/professions.
The EASIE Programme is designed for all children aged between three and seven. It helps develop balance and co-ordination, memory, concentration and organisation and prepares a child for learning. It was piloted in a Swansea, UK, school. Designed for use in the classroom or at home, the exercises, songs and music featured in the EASIE Programme can be interleaved with other learning activities. The Programme provides the instructor with clear aims, objectives and lesson plans that conform to National Curriculum requirements.
Montague Diagnostics trial of their technology on dyslexics has had a positive start. One parent has reported that ‘after 3 weeks of treatment there is a clear and evident change’.
There are still places available on the trial and anyone interested can contact them directly.
I recently visited Montague Diagnoistics Limited at their base in Cotgrave, Nottinghamsire, UK. Run by Graham Ewing and his wife Elena, Montague utilise a brand new technology from Russia called Virtual Scanning.
When I first heard about the Virtual Scanner I was extremely skeptical because it sounds, well, like pure quackery. The system is a computer based approach to diagnosing and treating a large number of physical problems as well as psychological profiling. Apparently it is used in Russia with a large degree of a large degree of success but I’ve been unable to verify this.
The basic assessment procedure involves the computer displaying a photo of some beautiful scenery or ancient ruins for 15 seconds. The computer then redisplays the same image but this time the image has its colours adjusted, e.g. it becomes very pink. The patient then has to use the mouse and a few simple on-screen controls to adjust the image back to the original colours. This is repeated four or five times with different images, some of which have to be done within a time limit. The system then processes the data and produces a psychological profile and a physiological profile broken down by organ.
The Dyslexia Institutes of America was set up by Dr Elaine Jett in 1997 to work with dyslexic children using her own treatment program. The treatment is now franchised across the US. The treatment appears to be an education / therapist based approach, focusing on teaching cognitive and phonetic skills in weekly sessions.
The site has an analysis of its results by John C. Ory, Professor, Dept. of Human Resource Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This is not a peer reviewed paper and cannot be considered truly independent as Dr Ory was a paid consultant. Also the data used was collected by the centre and not by independent evaluation. The study only covered 33 children over a twelve month period (77 over six months). The report has a number of graphs showing improvements, some of them quite impressive gains of about three grade years after twelve months of treatment. However some graphs, in some key areas such as memory, no improvement has been shown and in others the increase is only equivalent to 1 grade year after 12 months of coaching. As a scientific study this paper would be heavily criticised as there is no control group receiving no coaching or 1-to-1 coaching using normal educational methods.
Looking at the information on setting up a franchise, one of the ‘ownership advantages’, i.e. what is good for the person running the centre, is this little gem:
Clients remain in therapy for a minimum of one and a half years and as long as three years
The fact the the client has to attend, and pay, for up to three years is a great advantage to a franchise owner but not to a parent or child.
Based on the information provided by the Dyslexia Institutes of America on the web sites and on bullitin boards (see below) I am doubtful that they offer the best approach for most children. It is my guess that a child receiving 1-to-1 coaching from any suitably experienced teacher would have similar results.
This also appears to be a Dyslexia Institutes of America offical web site.
I’ve found two bulletin boards where comments have been posted about DIA and DIA franchises have commented back: International Dyslexia Association forums; I Speak of Dreams blog entry.
Following my assessment at the Sound Learning Centre I’ve been undergoing a course of light therapy treatments using Photron light simulator from created by Biotechtronics. This involves sitting in front of the machine in a dark environment for 20 minutes a day looking at flashing light. The colour and frequency of the light changes each day. The idea behind the treatment is to retrain my brain, to desensitise it to the colours that are causing me a problem.
Sound Therapy International provide treatments for Dyslexia, ADD / ADHD and Autism. The web site isn’t 100% clear but they appear to offer specially prepared audio cassettes which have classical music enhanced to train the ear in a similar method to the Audio Integration Technique. Based in Australia they have distributors in the US.
The Davis Dyslexia Correction method was created by Ron Davis who was considered ‘retarded’ until his early teens but went on to be an engineer and artist. Later in life he developed the Davis Dyslexia Correction method that utilises mental exercises and visualisation to overcome dyslexia which he described in his book, The Gift of Dyslexia. Ron Davis runs a treatment centre in California, US, and also runs training courses in Davis Dyslexia Correction so that other practitioners can teach his methods. Dyslexia.com provides further information on training courses and Davis Dyslexia Correction practitioners worldwide.