If you or a loved one has dyslexia, you already know that managing dyslexia symptoms can cause a great deal of strife. Dyslexia causes people to have trouble understanding the written word, which may come with frustration and embarrassment.
If your child has dyslexia, you likely noticed symptoms by the time they entered school. Perhaps they take significantly longer than their peers to dissect a paragraph or a math-word problem. Or they may feel frustrated, which can lead to emotional outbursts because they feel overwhelmed. They may be concerned because they are not at the same reading level as their peers, leading to little confidence in their abilities. Because of the challenges dyslexia presents, they may also have trouble getting to the really enjoyable part of learning.
If you personally have dyslexia, you might find that it has caused difficulties for you in the workplace. It may take much longer for you to read through a document than your coworkers, and the work may not get finished as quickly as you’d like. You may have even started losing confidence in your abilities because of this condition.
By this point, you are probably frustrated and tired. You just want to be able to understand the words written before you, instead of trying to decode what looks like an undiscernible jumble.
Dyslexia Is A Lot More Common Than Most People Realize
We Are All Born Polyglot Dr. Alfred Tomatis, 1991
Dyslexia is an incredibly common learning disorder—about 5-10% of the population has dyslexia, and if you have a reading disorder, there’s a 70-80% chance it’s dyslexia. In fact, dyslexia is likely a lot more common than the general public realizes. Many individuals with reading difficulties aren’t recognized as having dyslexia and may have come up with coping strategies to hide their struggles.
Dyslexia is tightly linked with auditory processing function and at times even with sensory-motor development as a whole. Most children are able to process sounds and connect them to the words on a page. Children with dyslexia struggle to process phenomes, the sounds that help distinguish words from each other. One study looked at this idea directly and discovered that individuals with dyslexia don’t adapt as well to sensory input—such as sound—as individuals without dyslexia.
People with dyslexia are often of average-to-above-average intelligence. This means that dyslexia can be doubly frustrating because an individual may believe that they should be better at reading and writing since they know they are smart and are fully aware of their ability to succeed in other complex tasks.
The important thing to remember is that dyslexia is not your fault, and it doesn’t define you or your intelligence. With training, you might be able to improve your ability to read, reduce dyslexia symptoms, and gain more confidence in yourself and your abilities.
Auditory Training For Dyslexia Can Help You
There are a variety of methods used to help people with dyslexia, with varying results. For example, the Orton-Gillingham method is widely used and offers success for some. However, you or your child might have already tried these methods and feel your or their skills need to improve beyond the progress achieved so far. If so, then auditory training might be the route to take.
Dyslexia isn’t just a vision disorder alone, but it is deeply rooted in how the brain processes sound. By training the auditory function, we can help mature the sound processing abilities, such as those of the primary auditory cortex, and achieve results sooner than by solely using some of the other methods.
In the book titled “Education et Dislexie” Dr. Alfred Tomatis—who developed the auditory method we work use to help address dyslexia—explained the auditory roots of dyslexia, and how he has successfully used the Tomatis Method to treat the auditory function.
Aside from having trained with Tomatis himself, what makes our dyslexia treatment unique is that we work closely with vision and other specialists. We have proceeded in this manner for the past two decades. Initially we will do testing to see what areas need to be focused on the most and what methods would work best for you or your child. Following the testing, if we believe another specialist would be better for your unique situation, we will provide referrals and accommodations.
We offer a safe, compassionate environment where our clients can learn how to improve on their own terms. Also, we are problem-oriented and strive to provide guidance for real life situations. For example, we may teach you exercises on reading comprehension that you or your child can use in everyday situations.
One of the major goals in using auditory training for dyslexia treatment is to help the brain distinguish between various similar-sounding syllables. For example, “da” and “ba” sound similar and are mirrors of each other when written. We would help clarify the “direction” of these sounds—for example, realizing that one faces left and the other right—and then have you identify them audibly. This auditory support can then reinforce the visual input, helping you to have a better idea of what sounds match with what words.
I have been working with patients with auditory-processing and learning disabilities for practically my whole professional life. Before I earned my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology I completed a Master’s degree in learning disabilities, such as dyslexia and ADHD, and worked extensively with children in clinics where this was the predominant issue, covering both testing and intervention.
Having dyslexia means that you or your children don’t have the same starting place for learning as others and that more work has to be done to get you to the same point. Because of the brain’s neuroplasticity, however, the functions that relate to dyslexia can be matured through training. If you have tried other forms of therapy and still have the desire to further improve your reading processing abilities, I would strongly recommend having an evaluation and seeing if auditory training—using the method developed by Dr. Alfred Tomatis—could be a sensible avenue for you.
You may still have concerns about auditory training for dyslexia…
Isn’t dyslexia a visual problem?
Dyslexia is strongly linked to auditory development and sensory perceptions in general. We believe that it’s important to fully mature the auditory processing ability of individuals with dyslexia; only then can the auditory and visual functions integrate optimally leading to a more accurate and rapid decoding of information when attempting to read.
However, you’d be correct in assuming that visual input is very much involved with dyslexia. That’s why we work specifically with vision experts to help you or your child get the most out of treatment.
I’m worried that dyslexia treatment will cost too much.
While cost is an understandable concern, dyslexia can be incredibly frustrating and time-consuming if not addressed. Given that our approach takes place in phases, we can evaluate and give you a general idea about your financial investment at the time of the Initial Evaluation/Testing. Although we believe that therapy is a worthy investment of time and money, we also feel that re-evaluating after every phase helps to plan and keep track of the cost/benefit and, thus, how much you are investing in yourself.
I don’t have the time.
Of course, you need to be willing to put in the time and effort in order to achieve progress. And you have to have the desire and will to grow to get the most out of therapy.
However, the evaluations we perform throughout the Tomatis Listening Intervention allow personalized and fine-tuned auditory training, and are informed by other experts, if needed. We are able to evaluate and educate you about the problem and the most efficacious course of action. This approach reduces the time you spend in intervention; therefore you can get back to your life sooner, instead of being in dyslexia therapy forever.
Learn More About Dyslexia Treatment
If you are ready to discuss what the Tomatis Listening training can do to help you address your dyslexia, I offer a free 30-minute phone consultation. You can call me at 206-522-8873. You can also phone or e-mail us letting us know if you would like to reserve a seat to attend one of our Free Monthly Presentations. Together, we can take the next step to help mature your sensory perception and start you on the path to better understanding.