Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dyslexia: A Neurological Disorder

Up to one in five Americans have dyslexia, making it challenging for them to get through a best seller — or even a menu.

If they weren't diagnosed in school, many may incorrectly assume they're simply slow readers — "or even stupid," says Sally Shaywitz, M.D., codirector of the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity.

Dyslexia is neurological: Disruptions in key brain circuits affect the ability to retrieve or correctly order the basic sounds of language, explains Dr. Shaywitz.

Telltale clues — beyond reading in a way that feels plodding and deliberate — include exceptionally poor spelling and knowing a word but being unable to utter it correctly.

Although the process is time- consuming, you can overcome dyslexia. It requires relearning the basics of reading, all the way back to learning how to sound out words.

Group classes for adults typically meet at libraries, adult education centers, or offices of nonprofit literacy organizations several times a week for a year or longer.

You can also have private lessons with a tutor. Two reading programs that Dr. Shaywitz recommends: the Wilson Reading System (wilsonlanguage.com) and Language (voyagerlearning.com/language).

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