What Is Dyslexia?
Reading is complex. It requires our brains to connect letters to sounds, put those sounds in the right order, and pull the words together into sentences and paragraphs we can read and comprehend.
People with dyslexia have trouble matching the letters they see on the page with the sounds those letters and combinations of letters make. And when they have trouble with that step, all the other steps are harder.
Dyslexic children and adults struggle to read fluently, spell words correctly and learn a second language, among other challenges. But these difficulties have no connection to their overall intelligence. In fact, dyslexia is an unexpected difficulty in reading in an individual who has the intelligence to be a much better reader.
While people with dyslexia are slow readers, they often, paradoxically, are very fast and creative thinkers with strong reasoning abilities.
Dyslexia is also very common, affecting 20 percent of the population and representing 80– 90 percent of all those with learning disabilities. Scientific research shows differences in brain connectivity between dyslexic and typical reading children, providing a neurological basis for why reading fluently is a struggle for those with dyslexia.
Dyslexia and the Brain
Since reading is a cultural invention that arose after the evolution of modern humans, no single location within the brain serves as a reading center. Instead, brain regions that sub serve other functions, such as spoken language and object recognition, are redirected (rather than innately specified) for the purpose of reading (Dehaene & Cohen, 2007).
Reading involves multiple cognitive processes, two of which have been of particular interest to researchers: 1) grapheme-phoneme mapping in which combinations of letters (graphemes) are mapped onto their corresponding sounds (phonemes) and the words are thus “decoded,” and 2) visual word form recognition for mapping of familiar words onto their mental representations. Together, these processes allow us to pronounce words and gain access to meaning.
In accordance with these cognitive processes, studies in adults and children have demonstrated that reading is supported by a network of regions in the left hemisphere (Price, 2012), including the
occipito-temporal, temporo-parietal, and inferior frontal cortices. The occipito-temporal cortex holds the “visual word form area.”
Both the temporo-parietal and inferior frontal cortices play a role in phonological and semantic processing of words, with inferior frontal cortex also involved in the formation of speech sounds. These areas have been shown to change as we age (Turkeltaub, et al., 2003) and are altered in people with dyslexia (Richlan et al., 2011).
Evidence of a connection between dyslexia and the structure of the brain was first discovered by examining the anatomy of brains of deceased adults who had dyslexia during their lifetimes.
What are the Brainwaves?
At the root of all our thoughts, emotions and behaviors is the communication between neurons within our brains. Brainwaves are produced by synchronized electrical pulses from masses of neurons communicating with each other.
Brainwaves are detected using sensors placed on the scalp. They are divided into bandwidths to describe their functions, but are best thought of as a continuous spectrum of consciousness; from slow, loud and functional - to fast, subtle, and complex.
It is a handy analogy to think of brainwaves as musical notes - the low frequency waves are like a deeply penetrating drum beat, while the higher frequency brainwaves are more like a subtle high pitched flute. Like a symphony, the higher and lower frequencies link and cohere with each other through harmonics.
Our brainwaves change according to what we’re doing and feeling. When slower brain waves are dominant we can feel tired, slow, sluggish, or dreamy. The higher frequencies are dominant when we feel wired, or hyper-alert.
Altering our Brainwaves
As rule of thumb, any process that changes our perception, changes our brainwaves.
Traditional Eastern methods, (such as meditation and yoga) train our brainwaves into balance temporarily. Of the newer methods, computer game type brainwave entrainment is a method to temporarily alter our brainwave status. If we are trying to solve a particular difficulty or fine-tune our brainwave function long term, state-of-the-art qEEG Neurotherapy delivers targeted, quick, and long lasting results.
But why is it possible to train and change our brainwaves? The answer is a phenomenon called Neuroplasticity.
What Is Neuroplasticity?
Our brains are constantly being shaped by experience. Most of us have very different behaviors and thoughts today than we did 20 years ago. This shift is neuroplasticity in action; changes in brain structure and organization as we experience, learn, and adapt.
With every repetition of a thought or emotion, we reinforce a neural pathway - and with each new thought, we begin to create a new way of being. These small changes, frequently enough repeated, lead to changes in how our brains work.
Neuroplasticity is the 'muscle building' part of the brain; the things we do often we become stronger at, and what we don’t use fades away. That is the physical basis of why making a thought or action over and over again increases its power.
Over time, it becomes automatic; a part of us. We literally become what we think and do.
Neuroplasticity is at work throughout life. Connections within the brain are constantly becoming stronger or weaker, depending on what is being used. Younger people change easily; their brains are very plastic. As we age change doesn't come as easily; the brain loses some of its plasticity and we become more fixed in how we think, learn, and perceive.
Since the brain is pivotal to all we think and do, by harnessing neuroplasticity we can improve everything we do and think. qEEG Neurotherapy works with these fundamental principles of neuroplasticity to help us take control of our mind.
What Is qEEG Neurotherapy?
Since we've already learned about the roll Brainwaves play in our life and how neuroplasticity works, we are able to explain why qEEG Neurotherapy is able to reverse brain conditions and mental disorder symptoms.
Using sensors on the scalp, we can measure and monitor brainwave activities. With brain analysis software (QEEG brain map), we can identify what specific activity is giving rise to our symptoms. By the way, qEEG stands for, Quantitative, Electroencephalography.
Once we know the areas of concern, we can create a training plan to help draw our brain into a comfortable, efficient status. That brings us to qEEG Neurotherapy.
During a qEEG Neurotherapy session, we compare what our brain is actually doing to what we'd like it to be doing. When our brain is nearing a more comfortable state, we are rewarded with a positive response on a computer screen.
Usually this ‘neurofeedback’ is in the form of a video game, music, or movie.
The sounds and images tell us immediately when our brain approaches a more efficient place and when not. When the movie plays, it is because our brain is approaching the desired state. When the movie stops, it is because our brain is heading the other way.
Much like physical exercises develop specific muscles, the more our brain is exercised into reaching a more comfortable, more efficient position, the better it gets at it.
Why? Correct! Because of the Neuroplasticity. As with learning any new skill, it simply requires time and repetition.
How does qEEG Neurotherapy help with Dyslexia?
BCI supported qEEG Neurotherapy targets the symptoms of dyslexia at their foundation – the brain!
Often visual, auditory, and/or executive processing deficiencies are present in those with learning disabilities, and qEEG Neurotherapy directly targets these areas of brain function.
Not only can it target the primary symptoms, but also the secondary symptoms of learning disabilities including social emotional and self esteem difficulties.
qEEG Neurotherapy produces long-term changes in an individual’s functioning and mental health.
There is a great deal of research that supports qEEG Neurotherapy for those with learning disabilities, cognitive deficits, and emotional dysfunction.
In addition to this research, there is support for treating symptoms and deficits that are specifically related to dyslexia with qEEG Neurotherapy . By examining various regions of the brain through brain imaging, including qEEGs (brainmaps) and Neurocognitive screening, researchers have found that structural differences in the left side of the brain are present in those with Dyslexia and can be treated with neurotherapy.
This makes sense given that the left side of the brain is primarily involved in the representation and comprehension of language.
Breteler (2010) conducted research examining the improvements in children with dyslexia and specifically looked at reading and spelling. They were able to find a significant improvement in spelling for the children that received the neurofeedback training when compared to the control group that did not receive the neurofeedback training. Also, their findings suggest that improvement in attentional processes in the brain could be partially what is contributing to the spelling improvements (Breteler, 2010).
Attention difficulties (ADD/ADHD) are common for those of all ages with various learning disabilities. Hundreds of individuals with these diagnoses and more have seen improvements with neurofeedback training at Cognitive Solutions Learning Center in Chicago. Neurofeedback training has shown a high level of clinical success around the world, and is supported by a strong base of research in neuroscience. There is a solution to help individuals with brain based disabilities like dyslexia make changes to their brain that have a lasting impact, no matter their age.
If you feel you or your child may suffer from dyslexia contact us: