Balance & Coordination, Dyslexia, Dyslexia Treatment, Memory, Music

Is There A Cure For Dyslexia?

Talking about curing dyslexia can get a lot of people upset. Most professionals and most sufferers think dyslexia is incurable but is this right?

As always with dyslexia the starting point is what we mean when we say someone is dyslexic. If you define dyslexia as just a problem with reading then when a dyslexic learns to read they must be ‘cured’ because they no long fit the description of dyslexia. The reality is that dyslexia is a syndrome, a collection of symptoms where the sufferer needs to have several, but not necessarily all symptoms, to be diagnosed. These symptoms include reading, spelling and writing problems plus poor short-term memory, poor phonological abilities and poor motor skills (clumsiness). This definition of dyslexia as a syndrome makes discussion of a cure even harder. How many symptoms of dyslexia have to disappear or be reduced before the person is cured?

As there is no clear definition of dyslexia or what counts as a cure I’ve come with my own.

Dyslexia is cured when a person who has previously been diagnosed as dyslexic can perform a routine tasks such as school work, playing sports or social activities in the same length of time, with the same level of effort and with the same level of success as an average person.

Now we have a definition, is a cure possible?

Yes

Various studies using fMRI and other brain scanning techniques have shown that when a dyslexic reads, they use their brain differently from non-dyslexics. These same studies also found that when treated over a number of month with a phonic based reading program, the dyslexic’s brain changes to be more like a non-dyslexics.

If the brain can change when dealing with reading then the brain can change in relationship with the other symptoms of dyslexia. By combining multiple different types of training to tackle the multiple different symptoms then dyslexia can be cured.

Tackling each symptom one at a time is a long and slow process but by treating them in a sensible order so that the conquering of one problem makes it easier to deal with the next, some time and effort can be saved. Reading, writing and spelling are learnt by an average child after they have learnt about moving their body and how to hear. So it makes sense that a dyslexia cure would tackle the symptoms in the same order.

There are several approaches to treating poor coordination. The most famous is the Dore Achievement Programme. This is the programme I used and it was very effective but other approaches exist. Such as Learning Breakthrough and INPP.

The symptom of poor phonological skills is harder to treat. There are various phonic teaching systems but these are designed to teach reading. What is required is a way of developing the ear’s ability to differentiate between any sounds not just the sounds needs for reading. This is where learning to sing can help because you need to be able to hear the differences in the notes. It also has the added benefit of improving the sense of rhythm and is a good at building self-confidence.

Once the motor and phonological problems have been tackled it is very likely that no special training will be required to tackle the remaining symptoms of poor reading, spelling and short-term memory. Now the brain has mastered the basics of movement and hearing as well as average child it will learn academic skill with the same ease as an average child. If further work is necessary then phonic and multi-sensory reading programmes are recommend. There are also numerous approaches to improving memory skills.

Curing dyslexia is possible but it certainly is not easy. To tackle even one symptom will take months of hard work, day in and day out. To tackle all of them is a task measured in years.

Previously on Myomancy: Dyslexia and fMRI, Singing Cavemen and Amusia

On the Myomancy Treatment Database: Balance, Coordination

Research: Neural deficits in children with dyslexia ameliorated by behavioral remediation: Evidence from functional MRI, Examining Rhythm and Melody Processing in Young Children Using fMRI [ PDF ].

15 Comments

  1. It is really tough just to read long posts myself. I count as a ‘cured’ dyslexic, being a prof who teaches critical thinking, writing, and does research. But I always think of it as ‘performing as a non-dyslexic’, that is, giving off the outward appearance that I have no problem with things, but it is just that. A performance.

  2. Jason,

    If an average person reads long posts quicker and with less effort than you do, then I would not count you as cured.

    Many if not all dyslexics find it necessary to put a performance in school or in work. This ability to fit in or cope does not constitute a cure.

    Only when you don’t need to put on a performance would you be cured.

    Chris

  3. Sheila

    I feel really angry when I read about “curing” dyslexia. Has anyone heard of 3-d thinking? Why would we want to cure that? Now if by cure you mean show 3d thinkers how to operate in a 2d world that is a great idea. And teach 2d thinkers how to be 3d too. Can anyone say WHOLE BRAIN. Our school systems only seem to want children with half a brain. Thanks for reading my rant.

  4. Rogene

    Can anyone tell me of their personal experiences at a DORE clinic? I am trying to decide whether to sign my son up for their program. He has been diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD.

    Help! Is it a scam or for rela?

  5. sophy

    Hello Rogene (and any one else who is deciding)
    My son started the programme 7 long months ago and although we were not convinced it would work it seemed worth a try. Until recently I was also desperately searching for reassurance from those who’ve succeeded.But last week, to my amazement and delight, my son’s tests are showing that the treatment is starting to work! His eye tracking which was very poor has improved resulting in more ease with reading – he used to jump to the wrong line and repeatedly miss out words. There are other small improvements – thinking faster, tying shoelaces, thinking ahead resulting in him being ‘thoughtful’ and helpful. Small beginnings but I’m now convinced it’s the right thing to do and we can continue for the next year, or however long it takes, knowing that it really works.
    No one seems to want to answer Rogene which is a problem I have found with Dore achievers – where are they? If anyone has any ideas about how to get them to come forward please let me know. We all need to hear from them.

  6. Divya Bhatia

    Dore seems to be aggresivly advertised for their so called cure , but are there any other sites offering better services/cures? Can one really cure dyslexia? At best one may be able to learn to read or write properly or even learn to concentrate or chanelise his concentration instead of drifting away to another world while he or she may be engaged in a conversation with another person and to get help in these spheres is just fine.You may even learn to walk straight and catch a ball that is thrown at you but what about everything else? the so called treatments may not entirly be a cure but I am sure it will be of help in everyday life if i can concentrate, complete a conversation,spell my words correctly,be able to convey my thoughts successfully to the other person while talking to him/her and do all the other simple things that I find hrad to do today.
    If I could afford the Dore “cure” then I would surely try it .The fact is that Dore is not available in my country (India) and even if it was, I cannot afford it at these prices.If Dore is truely that effective how come we dont see “clones” cropping up offering the same “cure” at a cheaper price? There are software available on the internet that help in pronounciation the name is Pronunciation Power 2 try searching for it on google.com .

  7. Keith

    He talks about the Dore program which is now out of business. Unfortunately dyslexia manifests itself with such obvious symptoms such as reading, spelling, poor hand writing, However dyslexia is much more then that. I am dyslexic and it has made my life incredibly difficult and I have had to compensate in order to get by. Compensating is very difficult and takes alot of effort. The problem is that after awhile you become so tired and burned out of compensating that things begin to fall apart. But this problem has affected my personality, my job, my relationships with other people. It has been a very difficult problem to live with. As Harold Levinson says in his book “smart but feeling dumb,” most dyslexics do NOT overcome, or grow out of the problem, without treatment.

  8. John Smithe

    I have had dyslexia and I cope with it with my poor math skills, but other that that I function fine, My mother droppped out of high school for the same reason. My child in university had the same issues, we had to have special math tutors, he can’t spell too well and drops vowels when he spell’s but does well in oral speech. One of his teachers diagnosed him with Irlen’s syndrome sold us these filter’s to assist him in reading, asked us to buy him rose colored glasses, he hated them and with good reson he did not need them, it is more about how the brain is failing to process the data and not about sight. He once won the prize for reading the most books in junior high. He has read all the Harry Potter series, need I say more.
    This is not the cure for dsylexia, it is for Irlen’s Syndrome, these quacks are trying to make a quick quid by palming off an old cure
    here are the links:

    http://specialed.about.com/od/disabilities/a/Irlen.htm
    http://irlen.com/index.php?s=selftests

  9. Billy

    I’m with Keith on this one! like many others I’m Dyslexic and I cant stand it, i wish there was a definitive cure! Though my issues lie with the inability to spell, to punctuate effectively and the ability to retain knowledge. Ironically i would love to be well read and greatly build on my vocabulary but my condition inhibits this! On the whole i do not consider myself to be stupid and other symptoms such as ill-coordination and clumsiness i certainly do not suffer from.

    My comprehension is probably the worst thing i would like to read things once or twice and understand right away, but instead it takes me a lot longer so any novel i pick up ends up being put down after 100 or so pages and i have to keep back tracking. So within a short timeframe all the fun of reading is lost. If anyone can offer any advice on vocab building and comprehension techniques or treatment it would be greatly appreciated.

    Having said all that, there is always “to what extent” obviously those who are dyslexic all have a variety of different needs and the condition is embedded at different levels. But i feel that if dyslexia was incurable or untreatable then no dyslexics would progress? everyone has the ability to lean no matter what level you are at so information can still be retained and your reading and writing age will flourish as you grow older but perhaps at a slower rate, this also depends greatly on the subject materials well i think.

  10. When it comes to associating the word “cure” with dyslexia what we get is a lot of debate but what we are really dealing with is a play on words or semantics. Dyslexia is a gift once you heal the reading and writing differences. It’s that simple! Therefore, I submit that no one that is dyslexic wants to be cured… there are just too many gifts associated with the condition. That said, it is imperative that we heal the reading and writing differences of the dyslexic so that he can academically compete with his peers and avoid altogether the awful self-esteem issues that tend to plague a high percentage of us. So how do you heal the reading disability? It’s simple and it’s inexpensive!
    After 14 years of working with the dyslexic and being a 55-year-old successful business entrepreneur, I have learned that the dyslexic thinks in a very high percentage of three-dimensional thought. This is significant because when I asked you to picture “ball” your mind immediately visualizes some type of a three-dimensional ball, but when I ask you to picture “the” your mind only pictures the letters because there is no three-dimensional meaning for the word “the”. Parents, the long and the short of it is… all abstract words and symbols must be made concrete with three-dimensional meaning in the dyslexic’s mind for him to become a skilled reader. The Learning to Read Program is a one of a kind program that uses the three-dimensional senses of touch, sight, sound, and movement to master the abstract and make it concrete. Once abstract words and symbols become concrete in the dyslexic‘s mind then the reading becomes fluid and with fluidity comes not only comprehension but also the joy of reading.
    So, back to “cure” and what can be cured. What we can cure by utilizing the dyslexic mind to its full potential is the disease- like symptoms that will impact our knowledge-based industries. The dyslexic has a propensity to excel in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Our goal at AtlantaCuresDyslexia is to get every dyslexic child to the sixth grade where he can read proficiently and can academically compete with his peers. After the sixth grade his natural interests and talents will take over. The probability that he will go into the knowledge-based industries is very high but the best part is he now has the choice to fulfill his potential and choose whatever career he may desire.

  11. Rachel Waugh

    My daughter took part on the Dore program for 10 months aged 8-9 her reading improved from a 3a to 4 in this time, we were all delighted. In addition other improvements were visible in her balance, eating with a knife and fork and fastening shoe laces.

    Dore has restarted again and I am delighted as we need to help her with eye tracking, as she still misses out words and needs to point with her finger.

    I would recommend Dore it may not be a ‘cure’ but it has helped my daughter.

  12. I am sorry if what I am about to say is a little harsh nevertheless; I have to say it. Parent, teachers and so called professionals “PLEASE!” stop using words like: disorder, suffer, plagued, syndrome or symptoms just to name a few. A dyslexic person (that will be the last time I will use the word dyslexic. I will use Global Thinkers/3D Thinkers) is not sick, they are not handicapped and they most certainly are not “plagued” with anything. This type of talk lowers a child’s self-esteem and you end up raising a drug addict or worse, inmate number a18677-8345…

    Your child only issue is that they are a (PGT) predominantly Global Thinker (about 10% of the world) living in a (PLT) predominantly Linear Thinking world (the rest of the world).

    “Linear thinkers prefer a very structured approach to learning. If a learning process involves progression (Step A, Step B, Step C, etc.) linear thinkers will feel more comfortable starting Step B only after Step A has been completed. Mathematics and accounting are considered linear subjects since they involve a process-oriented presentation of information”.

    “Global thinkers (or “strategic thinkers”) are more comfortable with new information if they can put it into context with the big picture. They also tend to be impatient with linear subjects and linear-oriented instruction – they prefer access to all the information (early on) so they can relate it to their overall goals”.

    The keyword here is, predominantly i.e. no one is 100% either way. When a (PGT) is asked to think and learn in a (PLT) environment they become disoriented. You can also reverse that as a, (PLT) will find it very hard to learn in a (PGT) environment. e.g. I worked for many years as a construction manager and excelled in many areas of that job however; I had issues with some tasks.

    A big part of that job was scheduling different tasks on a project. I usually had a real hard time putting the initial schedule together and a task that usually disoriented me terribly. However; when that schedule went wrong, as they do 99% of the time, I excelled at getting them things back on track. Most the other mangers, (PLT) became severally disoriented. I fact I was the go to guy in the office when a project had sever problems.

    The point is this, your kid is going to have issues in life and they are issues that most of the world does not understand because these are not the issues they experience. I often hear these words “How do you figure that out” often from (PLT). All (PGT) are different but, this disorientation with the linear world we all share.

    Try this test I call the, let your kid loose in the library test. Give him/her a goal, like find as much information on dinosaurs’ as you can. Show him/her where to find the auditory, the visual and written word info. I guarantee he/she will come back with the knowledge if not bring them back and let them loose again on their own and they will find it without any help given enough time. If you were to do that with a linear thinker they would have to ask the librarian where the info is and if the librarian skips one step they become disoriented. EVERY ONE OF US HAS ISSUES TO DEAL WITH… Oh and one more thing if you think there is some sort of cure or someone tells you there is hide your wallet because it is not cancer. You can become better at linear thinking but you are and always will be a 3D thinker.

    All errors and omissions are due to my lack of linear thinking skills, deal with it.

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