Dyslexia in Children
Definition, types of dyslexia, symptoms, treatment and brain training exercises
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The CogniFit brain training program for children with dyslexia is a neuroscientific program specifically designed to improve mental agility in children with learning disorders, such as dyslexia. The training program helps boost reading and writing skills, enhance concentration and learning agility.
The CogniFit program has been developed by a team of neuroscientists using the latest advances and discoveries in neuroscience. By associating those technologies with fun brain games, the CogniFit program makes each training session very effective.
CogniFit brain games for dyslexic children are designed to strengthen the neuronal network involved in the language processing. The program is an innovative and effective way to stimulate neuroplasticity in children while they have fun playing video games. The system starts by assessing the children’s cognitive health and then automatically presents them with the mental stimulation regimen that best suits their cognitive needs.
CogniFit exercises are individually tailored to every child’s age and unique profile, targeting specifically weak neural connections. While children are playing fun and engaging video games, they are actually enhancing their learning capacity, performance and mental agility with clinically validated exercises. These are critical skills they will need to succeed.
CogniFit's dyslexia training program has been clinically validated and proven by a wide range of schools, universities, and hospitals around the world.
Studies show that dyslexic students and adults with dyslexia see a significant increase in their cognitive development, working memory capacity, and reading performance (increased number of words per minute read correctly by 14.73%) when they train with CogniFit. In addition, the results lasted up to six months after the training, having a strongly positive effect on dyslexia.
What Exercises Can Help with Dyslexia?
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What Type of Treatment is Available for Dyslexia?
Before any treatment is started, dyslexia must be diagnosed in the child. This is not an easy task as far too often schools do not have the right tools to detect dyslexia. Even when they do, they are not necessarily prepared to address the condition and the child may have to transfer to an appropriate school, if available in the area. Most of the time the burden is placed on parents. They have to be aware, pay attention, and detect the disorder as early as possible. Then, they have to take actions. The earlier the treatment starts, the better it is for the child, who gets better support and more tools to help overcome the disorder and prevent potential problems associated with the daily frustration and sense of failure they meet in the school environment.
How to treat dyslexia? There's no known way to definitely correct the underlying brain abnormality that causes the disorder. It’s a lifelong problem. It is critical to keep tracking the disorder on a daily basis and not wait for more serious symptoms to start treatment because you could be wasting valuable time. The most effective treatment of dyslexia is its early detection!
One of the many benefits of CogniFit scientifically validated program is the personalized brain training regimen to match every child’s unique cognitive needs. The clinically proven program also tracks the child’s cognitive performance and shows their evolution over 20+ core cognitive skills.
CogniFit ongoing evaluation helps detect impaired cognitive domains and adjusts the training regimen accordingly.
The CogniFit brain training program was developed by a team of scientists and neuropsychologists to specifically help improve the brain functions used in language processes. In the following image, you can see how a neural network may develop after continuously undergoing proper cognitive stimulation.
Neural network before stimulation Neural network after 2 weeks of stimulation Neural network after 2 months of stimulation
Scientific Validation: Studies that support CogniFit efficacy when treating children with dyslexia
CogniFit's personalized brain training program can help boost reading skills in college students with dyslexia
When dyslexic students trained with CogniFit personalized brain training program, their brain activity, working memory and reading performance were shown to increase significantly (increased number of words per minute read correctly by 14.73%) when they train with CogniFit. In addition, the results lasted up to six months after the training, having a strongly positive effect on dyslexia. See full study
Dyslexia is much more common than we think, since it affects more than 10% of the population. Dyslexia is the neurological impairment that affects the learning process, making difficult to read, write, and easily decode language or symbols.
When dyslexic people read, they focus most of their attention on decoding the sounds of the different letters and pronouncing every word. This effort causes a breakdown in their working memory, preventing the brain from allocating mental resources to other higher mental tasks such as reading comprehension.
Several studies define dyslexia as a neuronal connection deficit related to language processing. This is why dyslexic people have trouble visualizing words due to a dysfunction in their neuronal network between the brain regions associated with language and phonological processing.
Dyslexia may be hereditary, which is why it is common for different members of the same family to be affected by the disorder. Boys and girls with normal intelligence, without any psychological, physical, or other problems, and whose reading problems don't affect their other cognitive skills can be affected by dyslexia. In fact, people with dyslexia often have sharper senses and develop a high intelligence level and creative ability.
Not all types of dyslexia have the same severity, but it is essential to diagnose and treat dyslexia as early as possible to avoid developmental problems, loss of self-esteem, frustration, and problems at school.
Dyslexia in Children?
Dyslexia in children can be detected as early as preschool. If not treated, the symptoms of dyslexia can persist beyond childhood or adolescence, and may even last throughout adulthood.
Although every child is unique, children with dyslexia tend to start speaking later, have weaker listening comprehension, and have fewer words in their vocabulary compared to other children their age. Oftentimes, they confuse letters such as "b" and "d" (or “p” and “q”), and they may also lack attention.
This lack of concentration is not intentional. As children with dyslexia have to work twice as hard to read and write, they get tired faster, and become absent-minded.
Brain activity during reading in ordinary readers Brain activity during reading in dyslexic readers
As children with dyslexia need support and encouragement from parents and educators, detecting the disorder as early as possible is critical. Understanding and helping the child is important so that they can develop and properly integrate themselves into the school environment, which allows them to compete .
When dyslexia is not found and treated early on, it tends to snowball. As kids get more and more behind in school, they may become more and more frustrated, feeling like a failure. Often, self-esteem problems lead to bad behavior and emotional problems such as depression, anxiety, and even dropping out of school.
Dyslexia and the brain
Children with dyslexia have certain neurological abnormalities. The cells that make up the linguistic circuits aren't properly organized, which is what makes it more difficult for the organism to decode words and make sense of what is being read.
In order to read efficiently, you need the interpretation processes, as well as the comprehension and learning processes, which we call the "lexical strategy”, which is how the brain addresses text in order to understand it. The difficulties for children with dyslexia are caused by the combination of:
- Deficits in language processing.
- Deficient working memory.
- Problems with processing speed.
CogniFit Dyslexia is a scientific tool directed at treating these cognitive processes and brain functions. Reading is a complex process. It doesn't only mean deciphering visual representations, but it also requires understanding the meaning of the word and being able to create relationships between words in a sentence.
The dyslexic brain presents a pattern of cognitive deterioration in three specific brain areas. These damaged neural circuits are in charge of processing linguistic information, and are the areas that CogniFit Dyslexia works to help correct.
Characteristics of Dyslexia
The symptoms of dyslexia can differ from one child to another, and not all children with the condition will have the same problems reading. The symptoms are inconsistent and can even change within the same day and evolve differently as children grow.
These are some characteristics of dyslexia:
Problems with executive functions: Executive function includes a wide range of complex cognitive skills that are responsible for planning tasks by breaking them down into steps. These steps could start with the task analysis and requirements, then organize and determine the time necessary to complete the task, structure the workload, set goals, evaluate the implemented actions, and adjust them based on the results, etc. Difficulty in executive development is one of the most common features of dyslexia. It means that any task that requires planning (examples: cleaning your room or finishing your homework) can pose a real challenge for children with dyslexia
Difficulties learning and communicating: Impaired ability to comprehend rapid instructions, or understand jokes or expressions that have a meaning not easily understood from the specific words (idioms), such as “out of the blue” which means something happens that was unexpected. Inability to learn new words and pronounce them correctly. Feeling insecurity when speaking or expressing ideas, etc.
Trouble with reading: Difficulties with decrypting and remembering any language codes or symbols, making reading hard. Children with dyslexia frequently misinterpret the pronunciation of words, and have problems processing and understanding what they read. Thus, they are oftentimes not very interested in books.
Trouble with writing: Since dyslexic children have difficulties remembering spelling words over time and applying spelling rules, they make spelling mistakes frequently. They have trouble expressing their ideas in writing. Sometimes even though they fully understand the teacher, they have difficulties taking notes. Their pencil grip is generally unusual making their handwriting irregular, barely readable, either too big or too small.
Symptoms in motor coordination and spatial orientation: Difficulty distinguishing left from right, up from down, front from back , inside from outside , etc. This problem may be associated with slur. They appear clumsier than other children and get lost more often. They are generally not good at sports that require coordination, such as cycling or any team sports such as football.
Distortion of time estimation: Difficulty to manage time and confusion regarding the date of the day.
Difficulties with math problems:Since they have problems recognizing symbols it is hard to do arithmetic as it involves symbols such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, etc. Children with dyslexia also have trouble memorizing multiplication tables.
Problems with social and emotional engagement: Children with dyslexia can be class clown, trouble-maker, or too quiet. They are extremely disorderly or compulsively orderly. Every child is different, and we see cases of both rebellion and intolerance, but also cases of submission.
Types of dyslexia
Although some symptoms are often common in dyslexia, scientists have identified several types of dyslexia. Use of the term dyslexia primarily distinguishes between genetic and acquired forms of dyslexia.
Acquired dyslexia: Occurs later in life and does not usually result from genetic, or hereditary causes. Often follows a traumatic brain injury, or brain damage - such as dementia or stroke - that affects the language areas of the brain which are responsible for processing the literacy.
Developmental dyslexia: This type of dyslexia is usually most apparent in an academic setting. Developmental dyslexia is not caused by any type of brain injury or accident and is present since birth. There are multiple different types of dyslexia within this single classification, but this article will focus on the types of dyslexia that affect processing and brain function: Superficial dyslexia, phonological dyslexia, and mixed or dysphoneidic dyslexia.
Surface dyslexia: Most often an acquired form of dyslexia but can be developmental as well. Children with surface dyslexia do not show significant reading difficulties. This type of dyslexia is associated with poor processing information in the visual, lexical or direct nerve pathways, meaning that children can sound words out well, even nonsense words, but have to split words into fragments or syllables to read the words. It becomes more troublesome when the words are not in line with the pronunciation.
Phonological dyslexia: Most common type of dyslexia, synonymous with dyslexia itself. Mainly a developmental type of dyslexia but in some cases can be an acquired type of dyslexia after a stroke or Alzheimer's disease. Children with phonological dyslexia experience extreme difficulty reading long, unfamiliar or, infrequent words. However, they are able to read correctly familiar words. This type of dyslexia is associated with poor brain areas associated with processing the sounds of language, meaning that children with this disorder, often read through lexical or visual pathways but have trouble with the auditory processing.
Deep Dyslexia: Is an acquired form of dyslexia. One of the most severe forms of dyslexia as the individual loses the existing capacity to read. Deep dyslexics have trouble with both sounding out words and recognizing whole words because phonological and visual neuronal pathways are both damaged
How can you detect dyslexia?
Considering the cognitive aspect, dyslexia cases tend to present the same deterioration pattern in skills like working memory, but there are also generally problems with reaction time, processing speed, and executive functions as well. Low levels in any of these cognitive skills may be an indicator of dyslexia.
Finding out if we have this learning disability isn't always easy. However, the validated neuropsychological assessment from CogniFit allows us to detect our operative and working memory levels, as well as other cognitive skills closely related to dyslexia, like auditory short-term memory, naming, visual memory, divided attention, focus, planning, and processing speed.
Is there a cure for dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a chronic disorder, which means that it does not go away with age. This, however, isn't cause for alarm. Someone with dyslexia will learn to express him or herself differently as they continue to develop.
The most important thing in dyslexia is an early diagnosis. The sooner we offer the tools they need to adapt to the learning process, the better chances the child has of optimizing their mental resources and having a full life.
CogniFit evaluates and helps strengthen the neural networks weakened by dyslexia. We adapt to the needs of each individual profile, and we work the specific neural circuits that need the most reinforcement in each child. We work with various associations and schools specialized in learning disabilities, and, even though dyslexia isn't curable, it has been shown that children with dyslexia who use CogniFit can boost their executive functions, their ability to detect errors, working memory, and reaction time. This noticeably improves reading fluidity, writing, and the ability to comprehend, synthesize, and learn.
Is it possible to correct dyslexia?
When a child is diagnosed with dyslexia from a young age and is able to get a jump-start on a personalized intervention program, they have a much better chance at developing alternative strategies that will help them adapt to the learning system. In our early years, the brain has more plasticity, and is more prone to developing new brain cells, so the earlier that we use tools to help us strengthen the neural connections associated to language processing, the more methods we will learn to compensate for the deteriorated functions.
An early intervention will also help prevent other secondary emotional disorders related to dyslexia.
If you think someone may be dyslexic, have them see a specialist to do diagnostic tests, which will help detect any alterations and offer a training program to help them improve the cognitive skills used in language. The person may also be affected on a cognitive level and show a lack of attention, problems with working memory and short-term memory, processing speed, and other important daily skills.
One of the intervention programs available for learning disorders is CogniFit. A team of neurologists and cognitive psychologists specialized in neurodevelopmental disorders and cognition helped with the design of our brain games to treat dyslexia. These exercises are adapted to the specific needs of each person, and are designed to strengthen the connection between the neural networks used in language processing. People with dyslexia who train their brain with CogniFit boost their executive functions, their ability to detect errors, working memory, and reaction speed, which noticeably improved reading fluency, writing, and the ability to comprehend and learn.
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