Dyslexia – Changing the Way the Brain Works

Dyslexia - Changing the Way the Brain Works

Scans that detect brain activity show that when people read, a part of the brain called the left superior temporal gyrus (STGp) becomes very active. However, in children with dyslexia, there is little or no STGp activity during reading. These children may be extremely intelligent; their brains are just wired differently.

A study published in the April 23, 2002 issue of Neurology looked at what happened when dyslexic children, aged 7 to 17, received intensive reading instruction for 80 hours – two hours a day for eight weeks. At the end of the 8 weeks, their brain scans had changed. These children now showed a dramatic increase in STGp brain activity!

It’s not clear to me from the study how this will impact reading, or even exactly what caused the change (3/4 of the children also happened to start medicines for ADHD during the study). Nevertheless, it was clear that the brain can change the way it does things, and that important dormant areas of the brain can be turned on.

This is great news for families dealing with any type of learning disability.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing physician, author, national and international TEDx speaker, and global health advocate. He is a graduate of Princeton University and University of California San Francisco.

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