Saturday, July 23, 2011

Neurological Basis of Dyslexia- Zabidi-Hussin. A public lecture organized by Monash University and Malaysian Dyslexia Association 17th July 2011

THIS PRESENTATION AND ACCOMPANYING SLIDES MUST NOT PUBLISHED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR

The presentation reviews the essential process of childhood development to give better understanding of learning process, and reading abilities

· The human brain is the most complex structure that develops very early immediately after conception

· The brain undergoes rapid changes, increasing the number of cells and their interactions and aided by numerous essential nutrients


· Due to some , as yet unknown process, the brain organizes itself into perfect functional compartments. Each compartment communicates with one another in a very complicated manner and mediated through detailed biochemical process

· Learning is a complex process, but its abilities developed from the first day a baby is born. Multiple stimulus received by the baby from seeing, listening, feeling and sensing the environment that he lives in will all add up to the formation of memory for spoken and written words. Failure of this process will impair reading and other scholastic abilities


· A child’s brain could be best regarded as a very powerful tape recorder and will play back whatever it has recorded during appropriate times. This understanding is critical to understand attitude formation and behaviour development of a child.

· The normal development usually affects 5 main areas namely COGNITIVE (C), OPTIC (O), MOTOR (M), EMOTION AND PSYCHOCIAL (E) and LANGUAGE and HEARING (L). Each one of this can be assessed fairly accurately using appropriate developmental assessment sets such as the KIDDEQUIP DEVELOPMENTAL ASSESSMENT KITS. It is important for parents and health care providers to be able to assess these developmental sequences, as detection of early developmental delays is critical . Early delay may imply some interruption to learning abilities, some of which can be due to serious problems such as childhood blindness which may be that obvious to be seen.


· Continuous sensory input to the developing brain leads to formation of many interactions between the cells in the brain. These inputs ought to be given at the earliest opportunity during the period of childcare

· It is now known that the brains grows , not through having more cells, but through developing multiple cell-to-cell connections, aided by many factors such as nutrition and environmental stimulus
· Although many of the process of cell-to-cell connections are determined by the genes of the child, current researches have shown that environment stimulus and nutrition play critical roles, sometimes overriding genetic determinations. This knowledge should give motivation to families whose children are born with some genetics defect.

· As far as reading abilities are concerned, there are certain areas of the brain which appear to be ‘lit up’ when a child reads. In children with dyslexia, these areas appear ‘dimmed’


· The ‘dimming’ of these areas may well be genetically-determined as some genetics defects have been found in children with dyslexia. But while these areas do appear ‘dim’, some other areas in the brain appear to ‘light up’, indicating some compensation in someone who is dyslexic

· Dyslexic children do have some underlying ‘subtle’ problems in deep parts of their brain. The problems are not gross and not caused by anything that a mother could identify.


· We are all susceptible to minor errors in our brain circuit, bearing in mind the extremely complex structure of our brain and the fact that it consists of ‘electrically active wires’ packed within a small space ( the skull)!

· Dyslexic children do have some underlying ‘subtle’ problems in deep parts of their brain. The problems are not gross and not caused by anything that a mother could identify.


· We are all susceptible to minor errors in our brain circuit, bearing in mind the extremely complex structure of our brain and the fact that it consists of ‘electrically active wires’ packed within a small space ( the skull)!

· A dyslexic child is not simply ‘lazy’ in the ordinary sense of the word but does not see written words like you and me. This is seen from some of their copying skills.


· Some of them can do complicated tasks of mending a bicycle, which cannot always be done by professors of medicine!

· Part of their ‘disabilities’ involve having problems with recognizing “left’ and “right”- the so-called ‘handedness confusion, so typical of dyslexics


· The visual pathway in children with dyslexia have been known to be slightly affected. They are certainly not considered visually handicapped, but some may benefit from wearing vision filters . The exact mechanism of this is unknown and more scientific studies ought to be done before this becomes a definitive treatment

· Based on the above understanding of the brain and how it develops to achieve reading and academic abilities, the treatment of dyslexic children ought to use multiple sensory retraining methods. There are quite a number of such methods available and through perseverance and psychological support, a dyslexic child should gain enough confidence although his reading ability is significantly impaired


· As the brain communicates freely from left to right, back and forth, a single approach in training is clearly not logical in the treatment of dyslexia. The main aim is to give enough time for other parts of the brain to be able to take over the function of some deficient parts of the same brain.

· If a 60 year-old man with a stroke can recover and walks unaided after 12 months of intensive physical and psychological rehabilitation, it is then perfectly logical for a child with dyslexia to improve after intensive retraining a and psychological training too.

2 comments:

Dr. H said...

Nice slides.

UmmuLuqman said...

a great info. Thanks, Doc. However, I couldn't find the slides Dr H mentioned. Been removed? Can I have a copy of it, Dr ZH?