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Cracking the code of dyslexia – CBS News

Cracking the code of dyslexia – CBS News

As an only child, Cathy Drennan gravitated toward grown-ups, especially smart ones. “I was kind of an intellectual, geeky kid,” she laughed. “I’d go to a dinner party and there was a kids’ table and an adults’ table, and I was like, ‘I’d rather sit at the adults’ table, ’cause the conversation will be more…

As an most efficient cramped one, Cathy Drennan gravitated toward grown-ups, particularly neat ones. “I was more or much less an intellectual, geeky cramped one,” she laughed. “I’d bolt to a dinner social gathering and there used to be a children’ table and an adults’ table, and I was adore, ‘I’d moderately sit at the adults’ table, ‘effect off the dialog will be more racy!’ I was a nerdy cramped cramped one!”

Come first grade, the “nerdy cramped cramped one” landed within the very most reasonable reading neighborhood in class, most efficient to fancy she could presumably well no longer learn to read.

“They in most cases are adore, ‘Okay, let’s, adore, tumble her down somewhat bit … Nope. How about down somewhat extra?'” Drennan stated. “And I mark no longer know the scheme many reading teams there are, nonetheless I was within the backside.”

Obvious that her neat cramped one no longer fail, Drennan’s mother did study, found a specialist, and obtained the diagnosis: Excessive dyslexia.

Correspondent Susan Spencer requested, “For somebody who’s no longer dyslexic, is it adore if I were to witness at Arabic?”

“That is form of how I felt,” Drennan spoke back. “Admire, I excellent couldn’t mark any sense of what I had in entrance of me.”

Researchers who dispute one in five students studied used to be dyslexic bear in mind also found there could be no longer any such thing as a hyperlink in any admire between dyslexia and intelligence.

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Yale University Dr. Sally Shaywitz defined dyslexia as “an surprising assert in reading in an particular individual who has the intelligence to read at a phenomenal increased degree.”

Initiating effect in 1983, she and her husband, Dr. Bennett Shaywitz, who were married for some five decades, began tracking the reading of more than 400 kindergartners picked at random. They’re level-headed tracking them as of late. “And what we found used to be that one in five were dyslexic,” stated Bennett.

“I’d’ve thought presumably one in 20,” stated Spencer.

“Well, that is what the dogma used to be,” Bennett stated. “But now or no longer it’s clear that it’s some distance terribly regular.”

But per chance their most important finding: There is not any longer always a hyperlink in any admire between dyslexia and intelligence.

“The supreme misunderstanding is that of us that read slowly don’t seem like neat,” Sally stated.

The Shaywitzes compared traditional Grades Okay-12 readers whose reading abilities ponder their IQs, with dyslexic readers whose reading abilities don’t. “One doesn’t have an effect on the completely different,” Bennett stated. 


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Within the Nineteenth century, clinical doctors blamed detrimental eyesight, calling dyslexia “note blindness.” But as of late, clinical scans clearly show or no longer it’s within the mind.

Bennett stated, “In traditional readers, clear areas within the left aspect of the mind are assuredly activated.  In dyslexic readers, there could be an inefficient functioning of those methods that we now know are for skilled reading.”

In extreme cases, that inefficient functioning can turn the broadcast page into a hodgepodge of indecipherable shapes. To Cathy Drennan, it can most likely presumably well be adore “Chinese characters for fogeys that don’t read Chinese characters.”

“Must you are likely to be no longer dyslexic, it sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Because our brains excellent salvage it automatically,” stated Dr. Laura Cassidy. Her daughter, Kate, failed reading within the main grade. “She couldn’t learn the alphabet – no longer excellent writing it, nonetheless also announcing it, also reading it.”

Admire Cathy Drennan’s mother, Cassidy, a retired surgeon, refused to accept failure, and employed a non-public tutor.  This day at 17, Kate is doing better, though level-headed going by dyslexia.

Spencer requested Dr. Cassidy, “In preference to excellent shifting on after your daughter used to be located, you went a completely different manner. You noticed a bigger effect off. And I am excellent questioning why you doubtlessly did that.”

“Well, one day of america, there could be a large neighborhood of childhood that salvage no longer learn to read,” she spoke back.

So, in 2013, Dr. Cassidy opened the Louisiana Key Academy, a public structure college in Baton Rouge excellent for dyslexic students.

Dr. Laura Cassidy with correspondent Susan Spencer at the Louisiana Key Academy in Baton Rouge.

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She stated, “Must you are dyslexic, and your household doesn’t bear in mind money, it doesn’t mean that you just ought to no longer salvage what you wish.”

Spencer requested, “If I were to stroll into a lecture room right here, what, if the rest, could presumably well be completely different?”

“We commence within the early years with instructing them pull the words apart, the decoding segment,’ Dr. Cassidy stated.

Fifth grader Emmy Youngs informed Spencer that forward of coming to the Louisiana Key Academy, reading used to be “my worst nightmare.” This day, she and her fellow students are excelling. 

In her outdated college the effect she’d struggled to read, fifth grader Mackenzye Jupiter stated, “It made me feel, adore, somewhat bit tiring and dead that I would possibly no longer salvage phenomenal things as the entire completely different children could presumably well salvage.”

“But you knew you weren’t tiring and dead, true?” requested Spencer.

“Hmm, presumably.”

Spencer requested, Dr. Cassidy, “So, absent a college adore this, what happens to these children?”

“There’s diminished excessive college graduation, diminished entry into college and college graduation. And we all know that there could be a series of different folks with dyslexia that are incarcerated,” she spoke back.

A fact that led her to a Louisiana maximum security penal complex, the Elayn Hunt Correctional Heart in St. Gabriel, and that led excellent only within the near previous to an out of this world finding: “Of the prisoners that we screened and examined, we found that over 50% had dyslexia,” Dr. Cassidy stated.

Her numbers are very linked to those of an earlier penal complex glance in Texas.

“In case your self-adore is battered and you are likely to be no longer basically studying, and you would also bear in mind an choice to bolt on the streets, you bolt to the streets,” she stated.

Twenty-one-year-worn Jonathan Wilson is even handed one of many inmates in Dr. Cassidy’s glance. He has dyslexia, nonetheless unless now nobody knew it.

Spencer requested him, “What used to be it adore in case you were first studying to read in case you were somewhat cramped one?”

“It used to be genuine leisurely. It used to be genuine arduous for me to fancy the words,” he spoke back.

Twenty-one-year-worn Jonathan Wilson wasn’t identified with dyslexia unless he used to be incarcerated. 

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He by no manner accomplished excessive college. Wilson, a first-time perpetrator, is serving a 12-year sentence, charged and convicted of armed theft. “So, right here we’re,” he stated.

Spencer requested, “And what salvage you dispute to of us that will presumably well also dispute, you perceive, ‘Why ought to I care about dyslexia in prisons?'”

“It be a lifestyles; why wouldn’t you take dangle of to wish to abet the lifestyles?” spoke back Dr. Cassidy. “And then, if we’re looking to decrease recidivism, it’s doubtless you’ll presumably well salvage that easily when you choose them as dyslexic and give them the instruments that they need.”

A little first step: The penal complex reform bill passed closing year, with a large push from Laura Cassidy’s husband, Invoice Cassidy, who excellent happens to be a U.S. Senator from Louisiana. The legislation requires dyslexia screening in prisons.

When requested what he’d love to salvage once he is launched, Wilson stated, “Dresses salvage. I’d take dangle of to salvage things.”

It can presumably well no longer be an most unlikely goal regardless of dyslexia. Which brings us befriend to Cathy Drennan. She ended up instructing herself to read within the sixth grade, nonetheless no longer the manner most of us salvage. “I acknowledge the form of words, and I glimpse the form, and I dispute, ‘Oh, that is that note.’ And then I memorize what that note sounds adore,” she stated.

She looks to bear in mind gotten acceptable at it; Drennan is now a tenured professor of chemistry and biology at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Cathy Drennan is a professor of biology and chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Abilities in Cambridge.

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“The kind that I learned to glance the enviornment from studying to read, memorizing these shapes, and taking a take a look at at shapes, and pondering, ‘What is that form? What is this language? What is this code?,’ surely makes me a better scientist,” she stated.

Though encouraging, remoted success experiences adore Drennan’s also remind Dr. Cassidy of the challenges forward. When requested how we as a society is doing in terms of going by dyslexia, she spoke back, “Horrifying. We ought to be screening for dyslexia at the cease of kindergarten. I mean, at this cut-off date, reading and writing are level-headed vital must haves to success in lifestyles.”

Louisiana Key Academy pupil Emmy Youngs stated her lecturers abet her decode words.

Spencer requested, “Are you better ready to crack the code than you were forward of?”

“Certain, ma’am,” she smiled.


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Story produced by Amiel Weisfogel. 


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