Dyslexia is a learning disorder that results in reading and writing difficulties. Dyslexia is found in populations around the world, however rates can be particularly high in countries where the written language uses irregular spelling or features combinations of letters with different sound possibilities. English is full of these combinations (such as the ‘ou’ in cough and through) as well as different spellings that all make the same sound (such as the ‘o’ sound in stole, coal, and bowl). It is estimated that 15% of the U.S. population suffers from dyslexia.
Dyslexic people have chronic difficulty with reading, writing, and spelling. Despite being bright and motivated, a child with dyslexia will have great difficulty making connections between spoken and written language. Dyslexics may be intelligent and creative people but suffer from low self-esteem or anxiety brought on by their learning disability.
Dyslexia is a learning disorder that results in reading and writing difficulties. Dyslexia is found in populations around the world but rates can be particularly high in countries where the written language uses irregular spelling or features combinations of letters with different sound possibilities. English is full of these combinations (such as the ou in cough and through) as well as different spellings that all make the same sound (such as the o sound in stole, coal, and bowl). It is estimated that 15% of the U.S. population suffers from dyslexia.
For this week’s post, we went back into the blog archives to find our content on dyslexia that has proved most useful to our readers. We’d like to share these articles here as the ones that, going by popularity and response in the comments, resonate the most with our audience. Thank you for reading!
This post provoked some interesting discussion in the comments section. We asked readers what they thought of referring to dyslexia as a learning disability vs. a learning difference.
This question was brought up in response to a comment left by a reader on one of our Facebook posts. We looked at how different dyslexics identify with different terms and what is the reasoning behind the labels. One of our most popular articles ever. Read more.
If you’ve spent any time reading up on interventions for learning disabilities then you have probably come across the term multi-sensory learning. The phrase pops up fairly often in descriptions of dyslexia therapies, for example. But what exactly is multi-sensory learning, other than a buzzword? Read on to find out.
We absorb information in many different ways. Sometimes we learn by seeing, such as when we read a text. Or we may learn by hearing, as when a teacher explains a lesson to us.
The article takes the reader through ten steps on what do after a child has been diagnosed with dyslexia. From exploring therapies to liaising with schools to how to talk to the child herself, the article provides concrete tips on these and more issues.
Dybuster‘s software Orthograph was developed in collaboration with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. The principles behind the software came from neuroscience and computer science. An important part of the development process was rigorous user testing: how well did the software actually work? Did Orthograph really help dyslexics improve their spelling and reading?
First case study
The first study on Dybuster software was published in 2007. Eighty children between the ages of nine and eleven took part in the study, which was led by neuropsychologists Prof. Dr. Lutz Jäncke and Prof. M. Meyer. The participants included both children with dyslexia and children without.
This is a question we get from time to time here at Dybuster: can older students and adults benefit from using Orthograph? Or is the software just meant for younger children?
Most of the user studies examining the results of using Orthograph were done with children. The first study involved eighty children between the ages of nine and eleven. The next user study was again conducted with children, forty of whom were dyslexic and twenty-seven of whom were control subjects who were not dyslexic. Both studies showed conclusive results that the software helped dyslexic children improve their reading and writing skills by activating new channels for learning in the brain.
To test the software’s benefits for adults, another study was conducted at the University of Zurich with adult dyslexics as the test participants. The study found the following results:
Participants made significantly fewer mistakes after three months of using the software
After a four month break the improvements were still measurable
Adults with a higher rate of mistakes at the beginning benefited most from the software
Those are pretty encouraging results! There haven’t yet been any research studies involving Orthograph and older students (teenagers and high school students). However some of the schools that include Orthograph in their curriculum have also used the software with students up through the age of eighteen. These schools have seen improvement in these students’ reading and spelling skills.
So we do think that dyslexics in all age groups can benefit from using Orthograph. Seeing children and adults alike make progress in reading and spelling through using our software is what inspires us here at Dybuster.
Orthograph software was developed around the concept of a link between dyslexia and difficulty in mapping spoken language to written language. This difficulty is known in neuroscience as the phonological deficit.
What does this phonological deficit look like? Basically, the brain areas responsible for automating phonological processing are less populated by neurons in people with dyslexia than in people without dyslexia. This means dyslexics have difficulty converting the spoken word to writing, and the other way around.
The brain processes information through various channels. Dybuster Orthograph’s concept is based on activating new channels for learning. Words are not just depicted as black letters on a white background but shown in specific sequences of colours, forms and sounds. The syllables within a word are presented in 3D so that a spatial aspect is introduced into the learning process.
This is explained in more detail in this handy video we put together:
Using the program allows the brain to be able to link, process and combine the information from these newly activated channels. The result is that a dyslexic child is better able to map spoken language to written language and the phonological deficit we discussed above is decreased.
In a study involving 80 children, the results of using Orthograph software were compared against the progress of children who did not use the program. Playing through the learning games for a few months resulted in the users making 33% fewer spelling mistakes than previously.
Orthograph software can be tried for free: just click here to access the trial version. The games are meant not only to be fun but to allow dyslexic children to make a lasting improvement in reading and spelling.