New Research Supports Ron Davis’ Theories on Pictorial Understanding of Words while Reading…

February 1, 2009

A recent article, published by Medical News Today, indicates that fMRI technology has shown how the human brain processes text while reading.

A new brain-imaging study is shedding light on what it means to “get lost” in a good book – suggesting that readers create vivid mental simulations of the sounds, sights, tastes and movements described in a textual narrative while simultaneously activating brain regions used to process similar experiences in real life.

[See full article at: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/137205.php#]

Although this research was not a Dyslexia study, it is particularly important for dyslexics, as pictorial meaning of words is critical to their ability to comprehend what they’re reading.  In fact, one of the “Three Steps to Easier Reading Exercises” outlined in The Gift of Dyslexia ©1997 by Ronald D. Davis, Picture-at-Punctuation includes stopping at [major] punctuation marks and making a picture of what has just been read.  Progressing through the next sentence will build (accurately) upon the picture from the previous sentence.

For dyslexics, this reading exercise (in conjunction with the other Davis® exercises and tools) is incredibly helpful, as it either teaches dyslexics to create this visualization while reading  OR it eliminates much of the “embellishing” that happens while reading for the dyslexic, whose heightened visualization abilities are a natural talent.

It is very common to see dyslexics adding words to text, omitting words from text (commonly words that do not have pictorial meaning), and in some cases, have much more detail in their pictures than what the author has provided.  This can skew intended meaning.

Unlike verbal thinkers, who use both verbal and visual processes while reading, dyslexics attempt to process written language using their natural, multi-dimensional picture-thinking style.  Recognized object-based words will trigger a highly detailed multi-sensory picture.

For example, the dyslexic may process the word elephant – not just as a generic elephant – but rather, will visualize the elephant…the nearby herd of elephants…the jungle…the bird pecking on the elephant’s back…the dust and dirt as his big feet hit the ground…the sound of him chewing on the grass, and so on.  This may not be the picture that was intended by that word elephant.

Then there is the part of language that makes processing words very difficult  for a dyslexic – words like the, if, of, and so (commonly called “sight words”).  Verbal thinkers (non-dyslexics) can process these words easily, as they are part of the verbal thought process.   A dyslexic, however, will subconsciously try to obtain a picture for those words, just as they would with elephant. This causes confusion and reading becomes tedious, frustrating, and fatiguing.  Ultimately, confusion will build and perception of the words on the page will become distorted.

The dyslexia dilemma with reading

The dyslexia dilemma with reading

“Psychologists and neuroscientists are increasingly coming to the conclusion that when we read a story and really understand it, we create a mental simulation of the events described by the story,” says Jeffrey M. Zacks, study co-author and director of the Dynamic Cognition Laboratory at Washington University in St. Louis.     [emphasis added]

I found the following statement fascinating and would love to see the studies that this speaks to:

Previous research has shown that when people read isolated words or phrases involving vivid visual or motor contents, brain activity in sensory and motor brain regions specifically related to those contents increased. […]  [emphasis added]

I wonder what would have happened if they had isolated the “sight words” in this study, and how that might have affected the brain activity – !  What part of the brain would be activated for a word with no visual image?  How would this differ with a verbal thinker vs. a picture thinker?

Nicole Speer, lead author of this study, says findings demonstrate that reading is by no means a passive exercise. Rather, readers mentally simulate each new situation encountered in a narrative. Details about actions and sensation are captured from the text and integrated with personal knowledge from past experiences. These data are then run through mental simulations using brain regions that closely mirror those involved when people perform, imagine, or observe similar real-world activities.

“These results suggest that readers use perceptual and motor representations in the process of comprehending narrated activity[…]”

There is so much still to learn, but I am encouraged to see that research is beginning to study areas that include thought and perception as part of the equation!

For more information on the Davis theory of Dyslexia, the thinking style, or New England Dyslexia Solutions, visit http://www.ne-dyslexia.com.

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Adult Dyslexia – The Best Kept Secret in the Workplace

October 1, 2008

PRESS RELEASE

Amesbury, MA, (October 1, 2008):

It is estimated that 10-15% of the population (or approximately 30 million Americans) struggle with Dyslexia. This includes adults. Some may find that number surprising – but the truth of the matter is that Dyslexic adults today are often undiagnosed and, therefore, unaware that their difficulties may be caused by Dyslexia.

As Karen LoGiudice, Founder/Facilitator of New England Dyslexia Solutions says,

“Every Dyslexic is different. Symptoms and struggles vary depending upon the person and the situation. Despite the increasing shift in perception for our younger generation that Dyslexia is a gifted thinking style, the stigma for adults that remains can lead to low self-esteem in adult Dyslexics…and wasted talent in the workplace.”

Many adult Dyslexics conceal their difficulties and are forced to compensate to get through tasks that do not suit their skill-set.
According to Kerri St. Jean, Senior Vice President, HR & Organizational Effectiveness at Comcast’s NorthCentral Division,

“Today’s workplace is filled with diverse and complex issues such as Dyslexia, workplace injuries, language barriers, family care and elder care needs, just to mention a few.

Employers and individual managers who are open to these unique circumstances and provide both a supportive work environment and actual support of the specific individuals needs, always win in the end with higher productivity, loyalty and morale. Employees will give their best and thrive when they know they can trust their manager to truly care about them as an individual and value them for their talents as well as their developmental areas.”

There are many adult Dyslexics who thrive in their fields of talent – rising above their challenges and succeeding well beyond the non-Dyslexic population. These adults include the likes of Jay Leno, Charles Schwab, Whoopi Goldberg, Richard Branson, Henry Winkler, and Tommy Hilfiger (to name a few). All of these amazing individuals are Dyslexic and attribute much of their success to it. Their multi-dimensional picture-thinking style enables Dyslexics to be highly intuitive, out-of-the-box thinkers with excellent problem-solving skills and creative talents.

Employers who place their Dyslexic employees in positions where their strengths are utilized will most likely report that these are some of the highest producing employees on their payroll. If not employed in an area of strength, Dyslexics may well exhibit inconsistent work, struggle with spelling, writing skills, fear of public speaking, or may pass up promotions that would require more administrative work.

“It is important for all of us to find careers in industries, companies and organizational cultures that play to our strengths and value our natural talents. But for Dyslexics, the importance of finding this match early on is critical,” says Kristine Steinberg, CEO of Kismet Consulting, LLC, a Business Consulting and Executive Coaching firm.

Steinberg further states,

“Dyslexics need mentors and managers that can see through some of the surface weaknesses, such as written communication or need for validation/approval, and tap into the vast creativity, perspective, and ingenious that Dyslexics possess, but are sometimes not realized. Managers and Supervisors would be wise to learn more about Dyslexia-how to identify the symptoms and help employees develop the confidence to fully express the positive aspects of their thinking and learning differences.”

Many adult Dyslexics are undiagnosed or unaware of their Dyslexia. Some common characteristics for adult Dyslexics are:

  • Employed in job/position that will conceal difficulties, or not require dealing with problematic areas.
  • Hides difficulties from co-workers, friends and even family.
  • Difficulty with tests – passing standardized tests can be a barrier to career advancement.
  • Highly successful/over achiever, or considered “not working up to potential.” Either way, displays extreme work ethic.
  • Highly intuitive – known to have “street smarts.” Is often “dead on” in judging personalities of others. “Out of the box” thinkers – strong strategizing and problem-solving abilities.
  • Remembers struggling in school. May have Dyslexic children and experience guilt when seeing own child struggle. Insecurities arise while reading to own children or helping them with homework.
  • Misspeaks, misuses, or mispronounces words without realizing it.
  • May confuse past conversations or be accused of “not listening.”
  • Difficulty remembering names of people, but remembers faces. May have compensatory tricks to help with this.
  • Difficulty remembering verbal instructions or directions. Poor recall of conversations or sequence of events.
  • May lose track of time and is frequently late – or is highly aware of it and is very rarely late.
  • Avoids reading out loud. May dislike public speaking. Will commonly perceive that they “read better silently.”
  • Has adopted compensatory tricks to remember spelling and homonyms (their, there, they’re), or misuses homonyms and has poor spelling.
  • Reading fluency and comprehension fluctuates depending upon subject matter.
  • Frequently has to re-read sentences in order to comprehend. Fatigues or becomes bored quickly while reading.
  • Reliance on others (assistants, spouses, significant others) for written correspondence.
  • Uncertainty with words, punctuation, and spelling when writing. Reliance on spell-check and grammar-check. Words out of context look “wrong.”
  • Writes with all capital letters, or mixes capital letters within words.
  • Abbreviates words frequently. Spelling is inconsistent (may spell the same word differently within the same document).
  • Poor handwriting masks spelling mistakes.
  • Work space may be extremely disorderly or compulsively orderly.
For a more comprehensive list of adult characteristics &copy Karen LoGiudice 2008, visit http://www.ne-dyslexia.com/adultdyslexiacharacteristics.html.
New England Dyslexia Solutions, located at 110 Haverhill Road in Amesbury, is a proud provider of the Davis Dyslexia Correction® program. Based on the book, The Gift of Dyslexia by Ronald D. Davis, this practical, creative-based program was created by an adult Dyslexic, researched and tested with adult Dyslexic volunteers, and is an excellent option for adults who would like to overcome their difficulties with the written word.

The Davis program is a discrete, intensive, one-week program that is facilitated one-on-one, using the natural perceptual gifts and talents that both accompany and give rise to Dyslexia. Unlike other programs that require weekly visits over the course of many years, the Davis program provides a unique option for the adult Dyslexic. After the intensive 30-hour Davis program, clients complete necessary follow-up work from the privacy of their own home, on their own schedule, and at no additional cost.

The Davis program is also very effective with other learning difficulties – including ADD, ADHD, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, and Dysgraphia. The Davis program is the most widely used Dyslexia correction program worldwide. Currently being provided in 38 nations, the program methods can be used in virtually any language.

New England Dyslexia Solutions will be holding a free Adult Dyslexia seminar at its convenient office location in Amesbury, MA on Monday, November 3, 2008 at 6:30 pm. Seating is limited – pre-registration is required. For more information, or to register, visit http://www.ne-dyslexia.com/calendar.html.

ABOUT NEW ENGLAND DYSLEXIA SOLUTIONS

New England Dyslexia Solutions, the only licensed Davis® Facilitator on the North Shore, is now accepting clients. The first step is to set up an initial consultation to see if the program is a suitable solution. For more information, contact Karen LoGiudice at 978-337-7753, via email at mailto:info@ne-dyslexia.com, or visit the New England Dyslexia Solutions website at http://www.ne-dyslexia.com/.
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    New England Dyslexia Solutions announces new office location!

    October 1, 2008

    New England Dyslexia Solutions is excited to announce its new office location in Amesbury, MA!

    Located conveniently on Rte. 110, where Rte. 95 and Rte. 495 meet, New England Dyslexia Solutions is now even more accessible to all Northshore MA, Seacoast NH, and Seacoast ME locations.


    With plans to expand our seminar and workshop offerings, this move will provide attendees with a state-of-the-art conference room in a professional and comfortable environment! In addition to our FREE monthly informational seminars, keep an eye out for announcements re: Adult Dyslexia seminars, Support Groups, and other Workshops!

    Our new address is:

    New England Dyslexia Solutions
    Boston North Technology Park
    110 Haverhill Road (Rte. 110)
    Suite 516
    Amesbury, MA 01913

    978-337-7753
    karen@ne-dyslexia.com
    http://www.ne-dyslexia.com/

    Check out our upcoming events at http://www.ne-dyslexia.com/calendar.html!


    Dyslexia Research…catching up with Ronald D. Davis?

    July 15, 2008

    Listen to audio here

    When I first received the call from Laura Clarizio, a national news correspondent wanting to interview me for a story on dyslexia, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to share my knowledge…in hopes of shining some new and different light on how people perceive it.

    She told me that there was some new dyslexia research that had been done at Boston Children’s Hospital, dealing with auditory processing and fMRIs that tracked how the dyslexic brain was processing when dyslexic children listened to fast-changing sounds. This was very interesting to me, as one of the common diagnoses I see in clients is “auditory processing disorder.”

    Of course, I signed on right away – and, with her interest in interviewing a dyslexic child as well, I invited my youngest son, Jake, to come along! Equipped with lapel microphones, bright lighting, and filming equipment, Jake and I were interviewed for about 30 minutes. Despite most of our interview ending up on the cutting room floor, it was fun to be involved in a story such as this.

    Although New England Dyslexia Solutions is not affiliated with any of the research in this news clip, the fact that the technology shows that “the brain is very plastic and so the brain learn[s] and reconnect[s] and builds a new network” is a giant step toward understanding how dyslexia can be corrected. Dyslexia is not a permanent “neurological disorder” – instead the brain can re-route itself when given proper stimulation.

    In the same way, it is our belief that continued use of the Davis® Orientation Counseling technique (as outlined in The Gift of Dyslexia) opens new neural pathways which reconnect and build effective networks that enable clients to correct their perception.

    Davis Dyslexia Association International (DDAI) is “on the record” for being open for researchers to use the same fMRI technology to see how the Orientation Counseling affects the brain’s wiring. Anyone interested in conducting such a study could contact DDAI directly at ddai@dyslexia.com.

    How the mind works with the brain’s wiring is a key piece of the puzzle that science has yet to grasp a hold of. However, recent articles are showing that researchers are now looking into how attention, focus, and the mind’s eye affect the brain and a person’s ability to perceive accurately…something that Ron Davis has been talking about for almost 20 years! See the following exciting articles recently posted on the news wire:

    ‘Mind’s Eye’ Influences Visual Perception (Medical News Today—July, 2008 )

    If you have read Ron Davis’ The Gift of Dyslexia, this article will make perfect sense to you! It is very exciting to see the scientific and medical community beginning to study the effects of the mind’s eye, imagination, visual imagery, and perception as part of the equation!

    As the article states:

    “Letting your imagination run away with you may actually influence how you see the world. New research from Vanderbilt University has found that mental imagery–what we see with the ‘mind’s eye’–directly impacts our visual perception.”

    Read the article here.

    Research is seeking what Davis already has…!

    Attention class
    Paying attention is a more important skill than you might think – and new evidence suggests it can be taught (The Boston Globe—June 29, 2008 )

    Since opening the Reading Research Council in 1982, Davis Dyslexia Association International has been demonstrating that attention and focus skills CAN be effectively taught and used by people of all ages.

    As this article states:

    “If focus skills can be groomed, as research has begun to hint, the important next question is whether, and how, attention should be integrated into education. Will attention become a 21st-century “discipline,” a skill taught by parents, educators, even employers? Already a growing number of educators are showing interest in attention training, mostly through the practice of meditation in the classroom.”

    Read the article here.

    It is my hope that science will continue down the path of researching more than just the physical elements of dyslexia and catch up with Ron Davis, a true pioneer in the field of learning! As Thom Hartmann, author of Attention Deficit Disorder: A Different Perception, and many other top selling books has said,

    “Ron Davis is a revolutionary and profound thinker and has discovered what history will record as one of the great insights in the fields of learning and how the mind works.”

    I have to agree…!

    For more information on the Davis Dyslexia Correction Program or New England Dyslexia Solutions, visit http://www.ne-dyslexia.com/, email karen@ne-dyslexia.com, or call 978-337-7753.

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    The Fabulous Famous Dyslexic…Henry Winkler

    May 14, 2008

    Listen to audio HERE!

    Mother’s Day, 2008 will go down in my books as one really cool day! Ironically, I was not with my children. Instead, I was in Andover, MA at a book signing with Henry Winkler (a.k.a. THE FONZ from Happy Days). For those of you who didn’t realize, he is also a best-selling author and among the ranks of many other extremely talented famous dyslexics.

    I really didn’t know what to expect, but I am a huge fan of Mr. Winkler’s best-selling book series, Hank Zipzer – The World’s Greatest Underachiever, and I saw this as a great opportunity to meet a man who has gone above and beyond with respect to shining light on dyslexia – both its realities/difficulties and its gifts/talents. Based on the wonderful character, Hank Zipzer, a 4th grade boy with dyslexia, Winkler’s 14-strong series of chapter books are mostly autobiographical.

    Having arrived at the function an hour and a half early, I was excited to be right at the front of the line. People started assembling and the buzz of excitement was growing. In one way or another, Henry Winkler had touched the life of each person in line…either with his acting, producing, writing, or other experience!

    As people around me were sharing their stories, we all were surprised to see Henry Winkler, himself, walking toward us – happy to see the crowd. He introduced himself to most everyone, taking pictures and shaking hands with awed fans on the sidewalk. No sneaky back-door entrances for him…as he was ushered in by staff, he thanked everyone for coming and walked through the front door.

    This was a good sign, and things just kept getting better! Inside, Henry Winkler entered the stage-front area of the town hall to a huge round of applause. Dressed in jeans, a blue blazer, pink tie, and casual shoes, he hopped up on the stage and introduced himself. His in-person energy is FUNNY, warm, approachable, and very candid!

    He started off by saying,

    “I stand before you being an actor, a director, a producer, [and author]. I am a husband, a father to three children […] and I am in the bottom 3% in this country academically.”

    Despite this jaw-dropping comment, his delivery was with such grace, humility, and humor, that it was a clear demonstration that academic success is NOT the only measure of greatness!

    He spoke of his life growing up in New York – the same apartment building where Hank Zipzer lives. He talked about his real-life teacher (also a character in his books) who, unfortunately, always called Winkler lazy and not working to his potential. He spoke of his parents, who didn’t understand him or his academic difficulties.

    Winkler was 31 years old when he found out that he was dyslexic…having spent most of his life believing that he was “dumb.” His story is similar to many dyslexic adults…a huge percentage of which are undiagnosed even now.

    When his son started showing signs of difficulty in school, they decided to have him tested for a learning disability. As the results came back and they learned more about dyslexia, Winkler had the realization that they were not only diagnosing his son, but were also describing HIM!

    He finally had a name…he was NOT STUPID, he was NOT LAZY, he WAS trying to live up to his potential. He was DYSLEXIC!

    Winkler half-jokingly described his definition of dyslexia as:

    • You spend 1/3 of your time trying to figure it out.
    • You spend 1/3 of your time trying to figure out why you CAN’T figure it out, and
    • You spend 1/3 of your time trying to cover up your shame and humiliation for not keeping up.

    He continued on to reveal that his natural talents, dreams, extreme hard work, and personality were attributes that enabled him to put one foot in front of the other, every day, to get where he wanted to be. He believes that this potential lives within everyone! He went on to say,

    If you will it, it is not a dream. I now have found in my life that that is a phrase that makes the world turn on its axis. If you will it, it is not a prayer. What you want, if you hold it in your brain, and you never let your dream go, and put one foot in front of the other…if you will it, it is not a dream. There is no reason you cannot have whatever it is you are imagining.

    Every human being who has a learning challenge – how you learn has NOTHING to do with how brilliant you are. Because you learn differently, it does not mean that you don’t have GREATNESS inside of you! Every one of you has GREATNESS inside of you and your job is to figure out what your gift is and give it to the world…and the world cannot wait to see what you give…I know I can’t!

    Each progression in his career, each journey to a new level, was originally something he felt he couldn’t do…didn’t know how. But by putting one foot in front of the other, found out he COULD and DID learn how. When his agent suggested that Winkler write children’s books about his dyslexia, he thought that he could NEVER do that. It took two years before he decided that it was a possibility, and agreed to meet with his co-writer, Lin Oliver. They are now working on their 15th book. Reflecting on his journey, Winkler said,

    “I said I could never do this. I said, ‘It is impossible…I have nothing to say.’ …You put one foot in front of the other – it is AMAZING what you can figure out…what you can accomplish. You don’t even KNOW what you can accomplish until you try it. Never say never!”

    There were many times throughout his speech that were incredibly inspiring. There were many dyslexic children in the audience, and he gave special care to directing much of his speech toward them. He answered questions and was amazingly open and candid about his experiences.

    There were also many times throughout his speech where I could corrolate what he was describing to classic disorientation symptoms– and wished so much that I could tell him that there is an easy way to control them! All throughout the Hank Zipzer books, there are descriptions of disorientation … Hank can’t figure out WHY he can’t seem to get it…WHY he can’t remember the spelling words he studied for…WHY reading is so hard…! As a Davis® Dyslexia Correction facilitator, I would love to see Hank have a Davis® program and feel the effects of having tools to help him!

    At the very end of his absolutely wonderful talk, once again I was first in line – this time for an autograph! There were so many people there…he was not going to personalize any of the autographs (per the staff). I gave him my book and awkwardly said, “YAY! I get to be first!” As he signed my brand new Hank Zipzer book (#14), I pulled a copy of the book, The Gift of Dyslexia, out of my bag and in the chaos and rush from the crowd, I only managed to say a few quick words about it. He accepted the book graciously. I’d be crazy to think that he doesn’t already have a LIBRARY of books that have been given to him…but I dare to dream.

    I left knowing that I would always remember this event that FAR surpassed anything I was expecting…and, my dream that Henry Winkler will read The Gift of Dyslexia (a book that has changed the lives of so many of the people he is also trying to reach) continues. In true Henry Winkler style, I can’t wait to hear what he thinks about it! 🙂

    Oh, and when I got home and checked out his autograph? He DID personalize it! He wrote: “You are 1st! – Henry Winkler” Very cool!
    Thank you, Henry Winkler, for being such an amazing, open, honest, talented, funny, and, of course, FAMOUS dyslexic.

    Thanks, too, to the Andover Bookstore for hosting this wonderful event! For more information on the Davis program or New England Dyslexia Solutions, visit http://www.ne-dyslexia.com/, email karen@ne-dyslexia.com, or call 978-337-7753.

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    The Gift of Reading…How much is it worth?

    April 23, 2008

    Listen to audio HERE

    In today’s economy, people around the country are having to pull in their “financial belts” and, in some cases change the way they are spending money – and focus on the really important things in life.

    When times like these come, it is a good time to reflect on all of the blessings we have – our conveniences, our homes, our food, and, of course our family and friends. Really, we live in abundance. No matter what our situation, we live in abundance.

    Despite the economy, it appears that Americans are still vacationing, still having Chemlawn spray their lawns, still buying flat screen televisions, Blackberries, IPods, and going out for dinner. This is a good thing! We’re going to be fine…there is abundance all around us and we’re still enjoying it!

    So, why am I, resident Dyslexia specialist, talking about the ECONOMY? Well, I recently added the frequently asked question, “How much is the program?” to my website’s FAQ page.

    I debated about this, as my fear is that some people will make quick decisions based on price – especially with the economy the way it is today! However, as I have searched for different services that I am seeking, I am usually grateful to find one that doesn’t make me jump through hoops to find out the “small print.” I am one who likes to have a sense as to what I’m getting myself into and I don’t like surprises.

    So, I answered the question…knowing the service that I offer is worth so much more than what it costs. I have the luxury of being in a business where lives are changed – clients find themselves, understand themselves, and break free of their limitations! I guide them and facilitate them to this…they make it happen.

    As the answer to my FAQ question goes, the program is usually $3000. I know that, for most American families, this is not a small chunk of change…nor is it probably sitting around waiting to be spent. I would consider myself one of those average Americans…and when I had to make the decision as to what to do to help my son, it was with HOPE for his future that I came up with up the money (in a most unusual way). I remember, distinctly, the stress of knowing that, “if this doesn’t work, it will be devastating.” We wouldn’t have another $3000 lying around to try something else, and I knew that time was short for my son’s patience and willingness to keep trying new things.

    I checked out many different options for my son before choosing the Davis® Dyslexia Correction Program. I surfed the web late at night, after long days of stressful work, hoping to find some sort of reassurance that the program would work! The testimonials seemed amazing…perhaps too good to be true…was it too good to be true?

    I decided that, at minimum, I would have my son assessed for the program – and then we could go from there. There was no decision to be made until we at least did that. I remember sitting there and seeing my son interact with the facilitator – I was there for the Perceptual Ability Assessment – and was shocked to see that my son could do it with EASE. We heard about the details of the week-long program…what they would do, how they would use clay and learn how to focus. I left feeling good, but still had that nagging uncertainty – not knowing if we were making the right decision. Finally, I asked Alex what HE thought (imagine that!?!?!?!?) and he said that he really wanted to give a try. Knowing that he is very insightful about people and himself, that was it. I made a commitment to him and myself that this was the route we would go.

    Now…where was the money going to come from? We didn’t have it. However, I knew it was something that we HAD TO DO for our son. If it worked, it would be the best money we ever spent…I couldn’t imagine spending money on anything more important than relieving his frustration, his low self-esteem, his struggle.

    This is where motivation kicks in. Think of a time when there was something that you wanted. It felt so far out of reach…but you kept your mind and focus on it. Did it happen? If you wanted it badly enough, I’m sure it did! I believe that whatever we are passionate about, whatever we truly are on fire for, we will receive. And, I can prove it!

    After we decided that our son would have a Davis® program, we literally had no idea how we would pay for it, schedule for it, or even when it would happen, but I was positive that we would make it happen – some way, some how. This is where my miracle stepped in…About 3 weeks after making the decision, I received an email from my employer at the time, announcing a Talent Show at a sales meeting that I had been invited to attend in Atlanta, GA. “Big cash prizes!”

    Sitting alone in my office, I fondly thought about my two experiences with Karaoke at a local Chinese restaurant and realized that, if there were big cash prizes, and I won, then we’d be a step closer to my son’s program. So, I wrote back and said, “Sign me up for a solo!” My co-workers accused me of being insane (they had heard me sing karaoke!), but I didn’t care. I was determined to win the grand prize.

    I had about 6 weeks to prepare. During that time, I re-wrote the words to Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” – including names of my company’s “big wigs” and writing about “surviving” our company’s recent acquisition. Let’s just say that I’m a much better writer than I am a singer…but I love to sing.

    Fast forward to the night of the talent show. I was now accusing MYSELF of being insane. The crowd was over 800 people and the #1, #2, and #3 executives in the company were the judges! The stage was ENORMOUS – with two huge jumbotrons on either side of it that would display my lyrics (and possibly an enormous video stream of me singing! HELP!). I was sick as a dog. I couldn’t believe what I had volunteered myself to do. Every time I wanted to chicken out, however, I thought of my son’s face – bravely asking for help that day after the assessment. I was GOING to win.

    When my name was called to come out on stage, I whispered under my breath, “Ok, Alex…this is for you.” I felt a surge of determination run through me like never before. I ran out on stage, made a crazy wise-crack to the judges and proceeded to belt out my jingle like Gloria Gaynor herself (well…close enough)! When the grand prize winner was announced, I went up to the stage to accept…well…my son’s future! I was presented with $3000!

    Why is this story important? I guess it is just to show that nothing is impossible. Despite this miracle story, I know that no matter what, I would have found a way to raise the money to help my son. It became my priority – and with priorities come abilities and opportunities.

    So, if you believe that you or your child could benefit from a Davis program, please don’t see the cost as unachievable. I work in an industry where creativity is embraced – and that does not just include working with clay! Get creative! We’ll find a way to work it out! The experience of a Davis program is so vastly different from any other program out there…it is far more than a “reading program” – it promotes lifelong learning and self-understanding that can be implemented in all areas of life. In my opinion, there is no greater gift for any human being than that!

    To look at a price and deem it “impossible” is a sure-fire way of limiting further abundance in life. Had I done that, my life would be very different than it is today. My son would be 13 years old and most likely miserable – not able to cope with the demands of his classes and peer perceptions of his “intelligence.” I would most likely still be chugging along, day after day, working at a company where the only difference I could make was to a “bottom line.” The decision to do a Davis program has changed the entire course of our lives!!! How could it change yours?

    For more information on the Davis program and possible scholarship opportunities, visit www.ne-dyslexia.com or email Karen LoGiudice at karen@ne-dyslexia.com or pick up the phone and dial 978-337-7753! There is always a way…

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    The Definition of Insanity…

    January 20, 2008

    Listen to audio HERE!

    I recently read an article that struck a chord with me. The topic was not related to learning disabilities, but it certainly can be applied. It quoted Benjamin Franklin as saying,

    “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

    It is really true. Despite the hope that “this year might be different” or that “maybe something will click soon,” studies have shown that, if a child is not proficient with phonics/decoding by the end of the 3rd grade, chances are they never will be.

    In fact, according to leading researcher, Joseph Torgesen, results of six early intervention studies revealed that, on average, more than 26% of primary school children fail to reach the 30th percentile in word-reading ability using traditional phonetic/decoding intervention.

    Failure of phonics-based instruction for older children, based upon Torgesen’s review of data, is even more daunting. The study shows that the vast majority of children aged 9-12 who received systematic phonetic instruction did not improve in text reading ability and comprehension, and well over 90% failed to achieve reading fluency. Torgesen’s conclusion:

    “These studies reflect one of the consistent findings in our research on interventions with late elementary children: If children’s impairments in word-reading ability have reached moderate or severe levels, our current interventions cannot typically bring their reading fluency rates to the average range.”


    Source: Torgesen, Joseph K. Preventing Early Reading Failure. American Educator, Fall 2004.

    Ultimately, Torgesen concludes that, for the majority of students, phonics is an effective method for the early literacy instruction in the educational system. But let’s take a closer lookYes, phonics may work for the majority – but what about that minority for whom it doesn’t?

    Another quote from Torgesen’s study speaks to why some do not benefit from phonics instruction:

    “Children who are delayed in the development of phonemic awareness have a very difficult time making sense out of “phonics” instruction, and they certainly have little chance to notice the phonemic patterns in written words on their own. A simple way to say this is that for individual children, phonemic awareness is what makes phonics instruction meaningful. If a child has little awareness that even simple words like cat and car are composed of small “chunks” that are combined in different ways to make words, our alphabetic way of writing makes no sense.”

    Basically, phonemic awareness assumes that children have mastery of that on which it is based – letters and the alphabet. In my experience with working with dyslexic children, often diagnosed with deficits in phonemic awareness, it is clear that the letters and the alphabet are in no way mastered. Actually, there is much confusion and uncertainty.

    For example, if you were to look at a lowercase b and, in your perspective, it could be a d, p, or q (perhaps even a 9 or 6), sounding out the letter is the least of your problems. Many parents and educators would be shocked to see the amount of confusion these clients experience with the very basic symbols on which literacy is built. Without mastery of these, they can’t truly move forward.

    So, who are these children? Who is the minority – the ones for whom “our alphabetic way of writing makes no sense?” My children! My own two amazing sons…and, not surprisingly to me, the wonderful, gifted, and talented clients that I have had the privilege to work with at New England Dyslexia Solutions!

    In reflecting back on the days before I knew that dyslexia was at the cause for my oldest son’s confusion, my heart broke on a nightly basis – not only because he was struggling and found homework so difficult, but also because I was ridden with the guilt of being frustrated by his mysterious inability to focus, copy words down correctly, and simply manage the homework that teachers reported should be completed in 20 minutes.

    …My son would work on his homework for seemingly hours – requesting breaks, needing my constant presence, and procrastinating on what appeared to be extremely simple tasks! Many times I had to pull the drapes in the dining room to conceal his neighborhood friends playing outside – already done with their homework.

    We tried tutoring based on the recommendation of a psycho-educational counselor – and this is where we finally realized that he simply didn’t “get” phonics. His tutor, a 4th grade teacher, worked with him week after week. She noticed that he didn’t pick-up on blends – like “ou” or “ch” – and forget silent letters and long/short vowel sounds…those just seemed unfair! The “sight words” always tripped him up, too. She finally came to me and said, “I don’t think I’m helping him…I’m not sure I can.”

    Now, let’s roll back the tapes a bit. It was not that my son “couldn’t” read. He managed…and with intense concentration and some support, he actually could make some sense of the material. It was just EXHAUSTING for him (and me) to get through.

    When I finally was introduced to The Gift of Dyslexia by Ronald D. Davis, things started to fall into place. It was like I could finally understand what was going on…and it was presented in a way that made me feel so relieved! My bright little boy – who could converse with adults and had a wonderful verbal vocabulary, but was floundering in the classroom – he had a gift! We just needed to help him overcome his difficulties with the written word – so that his gifts could shine.

    The end of the story is that, since the Davis program, my son has become an independent reader, writer, and only occasionally asks me how to spell a word. He feels just like any of the other kids in class. He’s keeping up, he’s happy, he’s well adjusted, and is not being pulled out for any special ed intervention. As a mother, this is what I am most happy to see…the fact that he is an honor-roll student is a definite bonus!

    It is really special to have your own child inspire you. And mine did. It is because of all that I have been through with him that I am here today, writing this blog, hoping to somehow help other parents who are going through what I did. So, although I understand that blogs are mainly meant for healthy discussions on topics of interest, I feel the need to insert a “shameless plug” here:

    If your child has had intervention at school and continues to struggle, there is help.

    New England Dyslexia Solutions specializes in working with those students who are being left behind by traditional methods.

    How long can you afford to try the same thing, day after day, and expect different results?

    There is a really wonderful video, created by The Learning People (a network of Davis providers in the UK), that captures the empowering nature of the program. They have been kind enough to post it on YouTube for all to see. I would highly recommend watching it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-IncFDf6OY

    If you have any questions about the Davis program, or if you are empowered to take a step toward freedom of the frustration of dyslexia (for you or your child), please contact me directly.

    Oh…and by the way…my youngest son has also had the benefit of the Davis program – he, too, is an inspiration to me and continues to amaze me with his shining GIFTS…yes, of dyslexia.

    Karen LoGiudice
    New England Dyslexia Solutions
    978-337-7753
    karen@ne-dyslexia.com
    http://www.ne-dyslexia.com/

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    January 15, 2008

    Welcome to New England Dyslexia Solutions’ blog!

    In keeping with my long-term goal of providing information to people struggling with dyslexia, I have decided to try my hand at blogging. For those new to blogging, it is simply a way for me to post new and interesting information, comments, experiences, and insights for visitors who are interested in learning more about dyslexia, the mind, creativity, learning, self-esteem, New England Dyslexia Solutions, and Davis Dyslexia Correction®.

    Feel free to post your comments and questions!