Steven Spielberg says movies saved him from the stress and shame of dyslexia. (TE call home?) Henry Winkler (The Fonz) became master of the ad lib, since he couldn't make sense of the "Happy Days" scripts. Toby Cosgrove became a cardiac surgeon and is now CEO of Dr. Mike's Cleveland Clinic. These are just three of the more than 50 million North Americans who have dyslexia.
But what exactly is dyslexia? Simply put, it's the inability to connect letters with sounds and put those sounds in the right order. Reading depends on accurate, consistent sound processing and ordering - even if, while you're reading, those sounds are heard only inside your brain!
This new understanding of the sound-reading connection means some kids can ease their reading woes with auditory therapy. The therapy involves listening to sounds, syllables, words, and sentences (no reading), then trying to identify differences in pitch and accurately ID the meaning of a word or phrase by choosing a picture that represents it. This can rewire the brain so that sound is processed more accurately, and, yep, that improves reading.
Early indications of dyslexia include: difficulty repeating a list of numbers or words, an inability to rhyme words or to enjoy hearing rhymes, confusing up/down and over/under, or misstating colors' names (saying "blue" for "green").
So, if you suspect your child has processing problems, get a diagnosis and begin auditory therapy BEFORE he or she starts trying to read. Remember, dyslexia needn't keep your child from enjoying school or success as an adult.
© King Features Syndicate