A study done in Italy found that signs that a child has dyslexia appear long before the child starts to learn how to read. Typically, in the United States, dyslexia is not considered until young children begin to learn to write and read. The Italian study found a new way to help with dyslexia. However, the treatment may not work with children who communicate in English.
Dyslexia is a type of learning disability. A person who is dyslexic will have problems reading because his or her brain does not properly recognize and process certain symbols. Those symbols include letters of the alphabet. Dyslexic children, and adults, will have difficulty comprehending visual information, like symbols and patterns.
Previously, Dyslexia was considered to be a language comprehension problem, (and nothing more). A study done by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that the brains of people who are dyslexic actually process speech differently than those who do not have the learning disability. Dyslexic brains put together words, and smaller units of sound, differently, too.
Now, dyslexia is still considered to be a reading disorder that comes from a spoken language problem. A new study shows that the ability to have the right amount of visual attention plays a critical role in learning to read. It is vitally important that a child’s brain is able to properly process and recognize visual symbols.
The study was done in Italy. The study involved 96 Italian children who were in Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade. Researchers followed the children for three years. They discovered that the kids who had difficulty identifying symbols within patterns and sentences had a harder time learning how to read later on.
The researchers believe that this means that we need to change the treatment for dyslexia. New treatment needs to incorporate a way to help children with the difficulty that they are having with processing visual information. If I am understanding correctly, what the researchers are saying is that kids who are dyslexic need to have treatment that involves more focus on teaching their brains to recognize letters, and small parts of words, before they jump into “sight words”.
This new treatment will probably work great with Italian children, but, it is not ideal for American children. Dr. Stefanie Hines is the director of the Center for Human Development at Beaumont Children’s Hospital in Michigan. She pointed out that Italian children speak Italian, and American children speak English. Those two languages are very different from each other.
I don’t speak Italian, but I do speak Spanish. Spanish and Italian are similar enough where I can read some Italian. In Italian, one letter of the alphabet is always going to sound the same way, each and every time. Vowels have only one sound connected to them. In English, one symbol, or letter, can have more than one sound. For example, there is a long a sound, and a short a sound, and you cannot easily discern which sound will be used just by identifying that a particular word includes the letter a.
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