Article summary and video: This article published by Cornell University summarises the research of Elise Temple, who showed with FMRI that brain activation patterns in those diagnosed with dyslexia can be ‘normalised’, showing that reading can be improved with the right kind of practice.
- Elise Temple’s research findings show that those who experience developmental dyslexia are not “unmotivated” or not “trying hard enough.” Their brains simply work differently when it comes to processing information, and there is something that can be done to change that.
- Dyslexia is characterized by difficulties in phonological processing, specifically phonological awareness which is the ability to identify and manipulate the sound structure of words, and auditory processing.
- A myth around dyslexia is that children “flip letters” or “read backwards.” What actually occurs is that children with phonological processing deficits do not map letters onto the correct sounds.
- The brain is plastic – that is, it can reorganise itself with the right kind of stimulation. Researchers are using fMRI, a type of brain scan which allows them to study the ways in which the brain functions.
- The implications of Temple’s research provide an optimistic outlook for children with dyslexia – Fast ForWord training resulted in changes in brain function and improved reading ability.
Fast ForWord training improves brain function in individuals diagnosed with Dyslexia
Temple, E., Deutsch, G.K., Poldrack, R.A., Miller, S.L., Tallal, P., Merzenich, M.M., & Gabrieli, J.D. (2003). Neural deficits in children with dyslexia ameliorated by behavioral remediation: Evidence from functional MRI. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 100(5), 2860-2865.