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Should Dyslexia be treated before children learn to read?

by Tinsley House Clinic on March 7th, 2014

Researchers at the University of Padua, Italy are suggesting that dyslexia should be treated before children learn to read.

Well, I guess you are ahead of me by now and have already asked yourself how can you possibly know that a child is dyslexic if they have not learnt to read yet? The answer is that they did a long-term study and monitored a group of children for three years from kindergarten onwards. What they found was that children with visual inattention were more likely to go on and develop dyslexia.

This is no surprise to us as we examine all children for visual fixation, convergence and smooth visual tracking and if there is a problem we fix it before the situation gets worse and dyslexia comes to the fore. What so often appears as visual inattention is in fact a retained defensive visual reflex designed to make the child look at anything that moves in the peripheral visual fields. It should be replaced by the adult more discriminative form at around five years of age but if retained makes visual fixation impossible. Similarly, the inability to bring both eyes in towards the nose evenly and accurately means that not only are both eyes not looking at the same precise target but that smooth tracking and thereby reading fluency is severely impaired.

So treating dyslexia before it has a chance to impact upon a child’s life makes a great deal of sense.

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