Improving brain connections could help dyslexics

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Researchers claim to have discovered evidence which sheds light on the causes of dyslexia and could lead to new techniques being developed to better support children with dyslexia.

The results, reported in the journal Science, suggest new possibilities for action to strengthen brain pathways before the damaging effects of reading failure are felt.

Lead researcher Dr Bart Boets of the Leuven Research Consortium in Belgium believes that his team’s work will help provide a more accurate conceptual understanding of the dyslexia disorder. He says it also informs us about a very specific dysfunctional connection, and this knowledge should be taken into account while designing the most appropriate intervention techniques.

“With the current knowledge, it might be possible in the future to design more focused and effective interventions that specifically target improving the specific connection between frontal and temporal language regions”, says Dr Boets. “In this regard, I think for instance about innovative non-invasive brain stimulation techniques, like paired-associative transcranial magnetic stimulation, that might be used for this aim.”

The focus on disconnections would seems to support the work already being undertaken by many dyslexia practitioners who use multi-sensory techniques to stimulate the development of alternative pathways linking print, sound and meaning.

UK charity Dyslexia Action has welcomed the study for providing scientific support for current teaching methods and opening up new opportunities for the development of improved interventions to enhance brain connectivity in areas critical for dyslexia. While cautioning that the research will not have immediate implications for practice, the charity’s Head of Research, Dr John Rack, said “It is a very important step forward in our understanding of the neurological basis and could have important implications for different kinds of interventions in the future.” He believes that this work could help open up new techniques to identify those with dyslexia early on so that action can be taken to strengthen brain pathways while the brain is more plastic.

SEN News Team
Author: SEN News Team

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