Only one method really helps with dyslexia

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Study: Only one method successful in dyslexia

Parents and teachers often only learn that children suffer from dyslexia during school. The little ones have great problems reading and writing. As a new study shows, only one method of numerous funding approaches helps to really deal with the problems.

"Lurs "the reading and spelling monster Lurs, the reading and spelling monster, invented the internet project around the subject of reading and spelling weaknesses. The fat green monster wants his knowledge of reading and writing, that it has appropriated itself, does not share and therefore tries to make both as difficult as possible for children. Lurs represents all problems related to reading and writing. In the project, which is run by the AOK and Mildenberger Verlag, a school book publisher, is supported, a team of learning therapists and psychologists tries to provide comprehensive information about dyslexia and provide everyday help for children, parents and teachers.

35,000 children with dyslexia enrolled annually The need for this is great in this country. In Germany, around five percent of children and adolescents would have great difficulty in correctly differentiating and putting letters together, even though they are no dumber or smarter than others. Around 35,000 children with reading and writing difficulties are enrolled each year. Those affected often read very slowly, often lose the line in the text, omit words, twist them or add new ones, and it is also difficult for them to copy from the board or from a book. They also have problems reproducing what they have read. In the first two school years, this may still be bearable, but then difficulties also arise in the other school subjects, especially in the foreign languages.

Reading and writing is the basis for knowledge acquisition Since reading and writing are the basis for knowledge acquisition at school, dyslexia becomes a handicap for those affected for life. According to the results of the study, children with reading and spelling weaknesses often fell short of their cognitive ability on their life cycle. Those who have reading difficulties in the first years of school would also tend to underperform school performance later. Dyslexic adolescents attended secondary school more often, and some of them even ended up in special school because of this. In addition, their level of vocational training is lower than their peers, they rarely graduate from college, and the unemployment rate of affected adults is increased.

But what helps the youngest best All of this shows that support as early as possible and as intensive as necessary is urgently needed. Over the years, scientists have developed numerous methods that are intended to improve reading and writing skills in very different ways. But the problem for parents is to find out which program can really help their children. According to the newspaper "Die Welt", Gerd Schulte-Körne said: "There are many individual studies on funding opportunities for reading and spelling weakness - but no scientific recommendation as to what follows from all of these studies." The doctor heads the clinic for child and adolescent psychiatry, psychosomatics and psychotherapy at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich and is on the scientific advisory board of the Federal Association for Dyslexia and Dyscalculia.

Findings from 40 years of research Since not only parents, but often experts too, have so far often been at a loss when it comes to choosing funding, Schulte-Körne and his Munich colleagues wanted to change this fact. "Even those who are supposed to advise those affected have so far had no solid basis for what really works and what does not," said the child and adolescent psychiatrist. “They checked what was in the textbooks and there was something different in each of them so far. That is why it was so important to have a close look at what we really have after 40 years of research. ”This is why the researchers collected information about methods against dyslexia, for example by researching specialist magazines worldwide or asking research colleagues for information about methods that had proven to be unusable in tests. They included all studies that met relatively high scientific standards in their meta-analysis, which was just published in the journal "PLOS ONE".

Some training courses focus on visual perception. The scientists were able to identify a total of 20 methodological approaches. Some training sessions focus primarily on visual perception, and children should read with colored glasses, for example. The color contrast is used to filter out disturbing frequencies that may distract children while reading. In some cases, glasses with prisms are used, as this changes the eye movements when reading, especially if the children squint. Scientific methods serve as the basis for these methods, which could detect abnormalities in the visual perception and processing in dyslexic children. Accordingly, word and letter information is perceived with a delay and processed ineffectively. The areas in the brain responsible for speech processing are activated much less than in other children.

Other methods focus on promoting hearing. Other methods, on the other hand, focus more on promoting hearing or training the connection between letters and certain sounds. Because in children with dyslexia, this ability to differentiate sound segments of language and to store them reliably in the memory is also measurably limited. Studies have shown that the brain areas for the differentiation of sounds are less activated in those affected than in other children. In methods that rely solely on hearing training, therapists play sounds to the children and gradually reduce the distances between them. The idea behind this is that hearing the differences between two tones is refined. With other methods, emphasis is placed on the assignment of sounds and letters and another, but rather smaller class of training courses relies on medication to make reading and writing easier for the children.

Only one method was able to demonstrate verifiable success. Schulte-Körne summarized the results of the study: "Overall, it was frightening to see that all of the effective methods that we currently have available are only effective to a certain extent." Only one method , which combines several elements, was therefore able to demonstrate clearly demonstrable success: the so-called “phonics instruction”. Above all, it is about intensively practicing the assignment of sounds and letters, together with a continuous training of the reading flow. This method also includes the breaking down of words into syllables and their individual sounds and the contraction of several sounds into words. With all other programs, either the transfer for reading and writing was not successful, or the technology was unsuitable for such a transfer, such as during listening training. In dyslexia, pure tone distinction is not the problem, according to Schulte-Körne. Such training cannot help. All approaches that train the phonetic assignment are helpful. Patience is still required, because the study also showed that longer funding periods are more sustainable than shorter training sessions.

Dyslexia not recognized as a disease in Germany The World Health Organization (WHO) has long listed dyslexia as a disease in its catalog. In Germany, however, health insurance companies have so far refused to recognize the reading and spelling weakness as an illness, because, according to the health insurance companies, this does not "impair participation in life in society." approved only in exceptional cases. However, the qualified pedagogue Sebastian Bertram from Hanover sees such therapies as very useful. In the previous year, he told "": "Special therapies and training are important for dyslexics in order to have the same chances in their professional and private spheres. A lack of self-esteem, from which sufferers often suffer, has a massive impact on their mental state. Dyslexia is not a sign of lack of intelligence. It is just a reading and spelling weakness that can be treated well if it is started in time. ”(Ad)

Image: Benjamin Thorn /

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