How Children Learn to Read: Current Issues and New Directions in the Integration of Cognition, Neurobiology and Genetics of Reading and Dyslexia Research and Practice

How Children Learn to Read: Current Issues and New Directions in the Integration of Cognition, Neurobiology and Genetics of Reading and Dyslexia Research and Practice

How Children Learn to Read: Current Issues and New Directions in the Integration of Cognition, Neurobiology and Genetics of Reading and Dyslexia Research and Practice

How Children Learn to Read: Current Issues and New Directions in the Integration of Cognition, Neurobiology and Genetics of Reading and Dyslexia Research and Practice

Synopsis

This book brings together in one volume information about the neurobiological, genetic, and behavioral bases of reading and reading disabilities. In recent years, research on assessment and treatment of reading disability (dyslexia) has become a magnet for the application of new techniques and technologies from neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and cognitive neuroscience. This interdisciplinary fusion has yielded numerous and diverse findings regarding the brain basis of this syndrome, which are discussed in this volume by leading researchers. Intervention approaches based on such research are presented. The book also calls for research in specific directions, to encourage the field to continue moving into the bold frontier of how the brain reads.

The volume is essential reading for a range of researchers, clinicians, and other professionals interested in reading and reading disability, and also commemorates the tenth anniversary of the Extraordinary Brain Conferences hosted by The Dyslexia Foundation.

Excerpt

THE DYSLEXIA FOUNDATION—A BRIEF HISTORY

The Dyslexia Foundation, or TDF, was begun in the late 1980s, although the idea was conceived long before that, through conversations and interactions between TDF founder William H. “Will” Baker and notable researchers in dyslexia, including Norman Geschwind, Al Galaburda, Roger Saunders, Drake Duane, Margaret Rawson, and Thomas Kemper. Under the mentorship of Geschwind, Galaburda and Kemper were studying the brain of postmortem dyslexics, looking for differences in brain structure that might lend insight into this puzzling disability. They wanted to establish a brain bank and enlisted Baker’s help. Through the generosity of the Underwood Company and the efforts of the Baker family, funds were given to help establish the first Dyslexia Research Laboratory at Beth Israel Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, to investigate the neural foundations of dyslexia. The laboratory officially opened in 1982. Following the untimely death of Geschwind in 1984, Baker met with those at the lab to discuss how to maintain the momentum and enthusiasm that had been generated by this visionary scientist. Galaburda suggested that the field needed researchers from cognition, neuroscience, and education to work together to address the challenge of dyslexia. Baker became the director of research for the Orton Dyslexia Society, and under its auspices Galaburda and Baker—with the help of Caryl Frankenberger and with funding by Emily Fisher Landau—organized a symposium in 1987 in Florence, Italy, and the concept of the symposium series was born.

That 1987 scientific meeting brought internationally renowned researchers together to share research findings and new ideas, and to critique one another’s work, spurring new and innovative approaches to the study of dyslexia. New research questions were raised, and the field began to expand—the synergy the organizers had sought became real. By 1989 it was apparent that if the research field was to advance, it would have to work concurrently with, yet independently from, the Orton Dyslexia Society. The society focused primarily on treatment and education; researchers sought a parallel group that would focus more exclusively on foundational research that could inform that treatment and education. In the spring of 1989, the National Dyslexia Research Foundation (later renamed The Dyslexia Foundation, or TDF) was formed. The foundation board members included leaders from the scientific and business community who were committed to the motto: “Research is the mother of knowledge.” Baker served as the founding president and Drake Duane served as founding chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board.

In 1990, the new foundation sponsored the next symposium in Barcelona, Spain. The topic was “Dyslexia and Development: Neurobiological Aspects of Extraordinary Brains,” again with Galaburda serving as the conference director.

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