01 09 10

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Can ChromaGen Glasses Really Cure Dyslexia?

                                               Image offered at Chromogen Website 
If ChromaGen glasses can cure dyslexia, this implies that the root cause of this condition lies in the visual domain.  However, recent research, by Guinevere Eden, Ph.D. at George Washington University Medical Center suggests that visual processing weaknesses are not the cause of dyslexia.  Nonethless, some individuals with dyslexia also report visual distortions when reading, and for those who suffer from the illusion that words appear to move on the page and also experience headaches, fatigue, and nausea when reading, these glasses may warrant a second look. 

What is the History of ChromaGen Glasses

The ChromaGen website reports that what began as an optical corrective solution for color blindness, soon became a tool for some individuals with dyslexia when they reported a reduction in certain symptoms.  As a result, ChromaGen now offers a series of 16 lenses that are designed to help children or adults who have visual reading disorders associated with dyslexia.

How Do the Glasses Work:

According to ChromaGen, for some individuals, the eyes do not work together properly.  The visual information that travels along the brain’s neurological pathway is imbalanced.  The creators of ChromaGen glasses claim that colored lenses change the wavelength of light going into the eyes so that the speed of the information is altered.  By placing different colored filters over the eyes, the glasses can balance the information traveling to the brain.  Dr. Harris, who developed the ChromaGen lenses, also purports that 90% of individuals with dyslexia, that report visual distortions, benefit from their product.

What are the Pros
1.   ChromaGen glasses are noninvasive and could offer a quick fix for some visual processing symptoms.
2.   ChromaGen glasses are approved by the FDA.
3.   ChromaGen glasses offer a 90 day, no questions asked, money back guarantee.
4.   There are no reported side effects.

Cons
1.   ChromaGen glasses are expensive at $150.00 for a screening and $750-$1200 for a pair of glasses.
2.   ChromaGen glasses are not covered by insurance.
3.   ChromaGen glasses only address one specific symptom that effects only some individuals with dyslexia.
4.   Although the ChromaGen website offers plenty of written and video-based testimonials about the benefits of their product for individuals with dyslexia, they still need to back their claims with rigorous, quantitative research. 

If you are still curious about ChromaGen glasses, they offer a questionnaire on their website that can help you determine whether you or your loved one is a candidate for this technology.  Here is a link to the survey:

You can also view some videos about the Chromagen lenses at the following link: http://www.ireadbetternow.com/show_all_videos

In conclusion, these glasses may help some individuals with dyslexia to correct a specific visual processing issue, but it’s definitely not a cure for all the symptoms associated with this condition.  Although, there are many testimonials for this technology, one must consider the placebo effect.  But, if you really want to know for yourself, and money is not an issue, why not give it a try.  If you have any experience with these glasses, I would love to hear your feedback.
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
Follow on Bloglovin

Friday, July 19, 2013

Teaching Metacognitive Skills: A Fun, Free Illustration and Download


Many students plod through schooling as passive learners and they rarely learn to take control of their own cognition.  In contrast, others learn to be active participants in the learning process and develop metacognitive skills.  Metacognition is the awareness of one’s own cognition or thought process and it involves higher order thinking that enables understanding, analysis and control.  For many concrete learners, as well as those that struggle with attentional issues, this notion can be difficult to grasp.  However, the process can be taught through visual aids, demonstrations, discussions, group work, and graphic organizers.  In fact, the more multisensory the instruction, the greater the likelihood that all your students will master this skill. 

The Process:
After a lesson or reading, I like to summarize important details, main ideas, and then I make connections by sharing my own thought processes.  I explain to the students that I will be thinking aloud so that they can understand how I use my brain.  Then, I describe the concept of metacognition and I define it for my students.  To make the metacognitive process multisensory, I integrate visual metaphors, as I find that the images and comparisons help students to recall the meaning and the steps of execution.  Then, through guided instruction, I like to have students share their own thought processes.  Finally, I ask them to use this method independently, or in small groups, at the end of future lessons.

A Specific Example:
1.   I project the attached image for all the students to see.
2.   I begin in the middle of the image and define the knowledge nuggets or the important details highlighted in the lesson.   I explain that these are gold nuggets because they are the most valuable details and they are the ones that we need to remember.  Then, I think aloud and fill in the knowledge nuggets.
3.   I suggest that all of those knowledge nuggets can be melted down and what results is the main golden message or the main idea of the lesson.  It defines what the lesson is trying to teach.  I then provide the main golden message and write it on the lines at the top of the graphic organizer.
4.   Finally, I illustrate to the students how to make golden connections.   I call them golden connections because attaching new information to prior knowledge is another very valuable tool that helps memory. I might connect the lesson to a personal experience or a prior class topic.  I often begin these examples with, “This reminds me of…”
5.   When I’m finished, I pull away the image with my thought processes and put the same blank illustration back up for everyone to see.  Then, I ask the students to share their own thought processes.  I ask for student volunteers to fill in the suggested knowledge nuggets, main golden message, and golden connections.  With incorrect responses, I always thank the participant for sharing his or her idea and then I express that they are, “almost there or almost golden.”  Then, I guide them to the correct answers with questions and hints. 

·      Step 5 can also be completed in small groups that later present their ideas, or you can also print the graphic organizer for each student to fill out individually. 

If you would like a copy of this graphic organizer, so you too can use it for teaching metacognition, go to the following page where you can find a copy of this blog and a free link button.  Here, you can also get a free copy of my Passive vs. Active Learning Assessment. Click here
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  

Follow on Bloglovin

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Auditory Discrimination Deficits Can Result in Funny Misunderstandings


As a child, I was often teased by my silly misunderstandings of expressions, phrases, words and even lyrics to songs.  Although my hearing was excellent, I struggled with auditory discrimination difficulties.  As a result, I continually confused sounds that were similar and often misconstrued what people were telling me.   For instance, after a year abroad with my family living in England, we returned to the United States and I entered the first grade.  On the first day of school, when my teachers and peers detected my British inflections they asked me about it.  To my dismay, my explanation resulted in laughter.  When I got home I complained to my mother, with a big frown on my face, that the students and teachers had laughed at me.  I just couldn’t understand why they chuckled when I told them I had an "English accident." 

One of my current students, Ben, and I are both members of what I like to call, “the dyslexia club.”  For the two of us, the primary weakness that resulted in our diagnoses was auditory discrimination deficits.   In particular, we had fun sharing our misunderstandings of song lyrics and had a good giggle.  A week later, Ben came into my office and said, "I'm so confused.  For years I thought it was, ‘play it by year,’ and recently found out it was ‘play it by ear.’  Is that my dyslexia?"  I nodded.  He looked at me with his head cocked and his brow furrowed and said, "Play it by ear doesn't make any sense."  He had a perfect understanding of the saying and felt that his misinterpretation was a better fit for the meaning.  

Here are a couple of other cute misunderstandings that my students have made:

“Challenge words are my worst emeny.”
“It happened in a half hazard manner.”

Do you have any to share?

Remember that the kids that struggle with this cognitive processing weakness are not aware of their misunderstandings, so make an effort not to laugh at them and gently guide them to the correct pronunciation.

If you want to learn more about the research behind this, check out this article from the NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/02/health/research/02dyslexia.html?ref=dyslexia
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
Follow on Bloglovin

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Different Types of Dyslexia: Targeting Intervention


Although reading disorders were recognized back in the late 1800s, the term dyslexia didn't become a recognized condition until the 1970's-1980's.  Since then, it has received an enormous amount of research and professional based attention.  However, many educators and clinicians are still mystified about how to best pinpoint the specific needs of each student with dyslexia.  

The primary underlying cause of this confusion is the fact that there are many cognitive weaknesses or deficits that can trigger a diagnosis of dyslexia.  So much like a dart board, if service providers continue to aim interventions at the wrong place, they may play a frustrating game and they will certainly never hit the bull’s-eye.  As a result professionals have begun to propose subtypes that categorize dyslexics based on common symptoms, so individuals with dyslexia can be understood and service providers can target the needed areas of attention. 

What are the different types of dyslexia?
The three most commonly defined subtypes of dyslexia are Dyseidetic Dyslexia or Visual Dyslexia, Dysphonetic Dyslexia or Auditory Dyslexia and Dysphoneidetic or Alexic Dyslexia. 

1) Dyseidetic Dyslexia or Visual Dyslexia: is when a learner struggles with the decoding and or spelling of words because he or she has great difficulty remembering or revisualizing the word, particularly irregular sightwords (also known as eidetic words).  These learners tend to have good auditory processing skills as well as an understanding of phonics, but they struggle with visual processing, memory synthesis and sequencing of words.  Word or letter reversals when reading, as well as writing and spelling difficulties are also common.

2) Dysphonetic Dyslexia or Auditory Dyslexia: is when a learner struggles with the decoding and or spelling of words because he or she has great difficulty associating sounds with symbols (also known as phonemic awareness).  These learners tend to have good visual processing skills, but they have deficits in auditory processing as well as linking a sound to a visual cue.

3) Dysphoneidetic or Alexic Dyslexia: is when a learner struggles with both visual and auditory processing deficits.  This subcategory is known as Mixed Dyslexia or Dysphoneidetic Dyslexia 

What about the Other Cognitive Struggles that Are Often Associated with Dyslexia?
Although the above designations are somewhat helpful, they do not address all the areas that can be associated with dyslexia such as difficulties with handwriting, oral language, math, motor planning and coordination, organization, orientation to time, focus and attention, spatial perception, and eye movement control. As a result, Mattis French and Rapin proposed a different breakdown based on a study they conducted of 113 children with dyslexia. They proposed three very different classifications:

1) Syndrome I: Language Disorder - These learners experience anomia, comprehension                deficits, and confusion with speech and sound discrimination.

2)  Syndrome II: Articulatory and Graphomotor Dyscoordination - These learners exhibit gross and fine motor coordination deficits, as well as poor speech and graphomotor coordination.

3) Syndrome III: Visuospatial Perceptual Disorder - These learners have poor visuospatial perception and difficulties encoding and retrieving visual stimuli.

But What About Those That Learn to Compensate for Their Dyslexia?
Although dyslexia presents significant challenges, many learn to compensate and become successful and celebrated professionals.  Dr. Fernette and Brock Eide coined yet another term, Stealth Dyslexia, to describe gifted dyslexics who learned to compensate for reading difficulties with great analytical and problem-solving strengths.  However, these learners still experience significant difficulties with writing and spelling.  Because they are so smart, the difficulties these individuals experience are often characterized with inappropriate labels such as careless or lazy.  As a result,  many with stealth dyslexia can feel a sense of learned helplessness.


So, although these new ways of breaking dyslexia down into subcategories is helpful, clearly they still need to be refined.  I am dyslexic myself and feel that none of the subcategories or designations captures my profile.  Perhaps the solution lies in allowing each individual diagnosis to list the specific areas of cognitive deficits that impact learning so individual students can receive tailored interventions.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic.

If you are looking for multisensory and mindful materials for dyslexia remediation, come check us out at www.goodsensorylearning.com
Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Go Dyslexia, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to https://godyslexia.com/www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  
Follow on Bloglovin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...