Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dyslexic Advantage - Memory and Dyslexia

Dyslexic Advantage - Memory and Dyslexia

A recent study from Norway shows what people with dyslexia have known a long time...that working memory is affected in dyslexia. In the picture below, control subjects trying to keep letter sounds in mind vs. subjects with dyslexia.

One of the most common mistakes we see in educators approaching the subject of dyslexia is to think the only issues is phonological awareness. Some students have both, but for most, the memory is a problem as big or even bigger than distinguishing sounds.

Problems from Working Memory Challenges

•Hard time following conversations in background noise
•Trouble learning a foreign language
•Problems following a foreign language speaker
•Dismissed as 'inattentive ADD'
•Have to write auditory information down to remember

The importance of realising that working memory issues are affecting dyslexia is that working memory seems to be highly trainable.

Some of greatest leaps in IQ's we've seen over the years have been in students who acquire more strategies to organise their ideas and who work hard at tasks to train up their working memory.

It doesn't always have to be expensive software programs to train up working memory - it can involve persisting at difficult working memory tasks like mathematics, writing, or acquiring an 'easier' foreign language.

Working memory problems also highlight the need to employ multisensory approach to learning sounds. Making images, humorous, or other more interesting information to forgettable facts or sounds can help the data to 'stick'.

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