• Vesna Pejic Vulic

The Dyslexic Brain (according to Prof John Stein)

A few short weeks ago I attended the 'Learning Difference Convention' in Sydney. I was drawn to the lectures by Prof John Stein, whom I have been following and admiring for a few years already.

Today, I want to share with you a couple of 'take-aways' from this convention, which I find extremely important for the public (and especially people with reading/learning difficulties) to know.

I am simplifying and summarizing the findings for you:

The Magnocellular Neuronal System

This system needs to work seamlessly in order to enable fundamental auditory, visual and motor temporal sequencing for successful communication, speech, reading, attention, coordination and social interaction.

For us, two parts of this Magnocellular Neuronal System are important:

  • Weakness in the visual magnocellular system leads to visual perceptual instability. This in turn causes confusions in letter positioning and fuzzy orthographic representations. Professor Stein uses this slide in his lecture.

  • If someone has auditory magnocellular weakness, the breaking down of words into phenomes is impeded, resulting in lower phonological skills.

Dyslexics have different brains

Research has shown that people with Dyslexia have different brains due to mildly impaired development of magnocells (see above for the implications of this).

Professor Stein quotes different reasons for this: either genetic vulnerability or nutritional deficiency. Which leads me to the next two, very important points on how these differences can be addressed:

1) Vision Training & Auditory Training

Professor Stein stresses that by conducting Auditory and Vision Training, these brain changes can be addressed. We have been conducting our Integrated Vision Therapy with wonderful results already for over 10 years.

We have just started to recommend the FORBRAIN training device for people with auditory processing weaknesses and find that this further enhances the effect of the total therapy provided at Orthovision. I am extremely pleased to have come across this device at the convention in Sydney - upon trying it out on myself it was immediately clear to me that this would be very beneficial for many of my clients.

2) Increase your Omega 3d intake!

Professor Stein stressed that the modern diet plays a big part in the (poorer) development of the brains.

Numerous scientific articles have shown that by ingesting too much Omega 6 (from corn and soya bean oils) and not enough Omega 3 (from fish), the ratio of Omega 6:3 which should be 1:1 is currently 7:1.

This has a big impact on the brain. Prof Stein quoted a research which was done with poor readers: The reading skills of test persons who increased their Omega 3 EPA & DHA intake improved much faster than the reading skills of the placebo group!

So - increase your Omega 3 dosage today - not only your brain will benefit, but it has been proven to help against: - depression & anxiety - improve eye-health - reduce symptoms of ADHD - to fight inflammation - to fight auto-immune diseases and many more.

I am so glad I went to this convention - and am extremely pleased to have come back with a few new tools for our therapy sessions as well as the confirmation that our approach to the treatment of learning difficulties at Orthovision is very comprehensive and up to date.

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