On Saturday 27th February, as part of our continuing professional development we took a trip to the Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre, near Farnham, for a brilliant talk by Professor John Stein of Magdalen College Oxford. Entitled 'Wobbles, Warbles & Fish - The Sensorimotor Basis of Dyslexia', the talk covered the difficulties most dyslexics experience with visual and auditory processing and perception, and how this affects their reading and spelling ability.
He provided research based answers for why these neurological difficulties occur in the magnocellular system and talked about some methods for helping. His take home messages were:
• Suspect dyslexia in any pupil much better at talking than reading or spelling, who makes obvious visual or sound sequencing errors and hates reading out loud.
• Dyslexics who experience visual difficulties with reading, such as transposing letters and losing their place, should try either yellow or blue filters to see if this helps them.
• Blue filters have also been found to help sleep difficulties, car sickness and headaches in individuals
• Dyslexics who experience difficulties with auditory perception, such as muddling the sounds of the letters 'b, d & g' and mispronouncing words, can be helped by musical training and work on rhythm, such as drumming
• Function of the magnocellular system can often be improved by eating oily fish and /or taking fish oil supplements containing omega 3 fatty acid, as neurones in the brain need these for optimal function