Friday, 12 April 2013

The dyslexic Elephant is coming into focus. Summary of today’s presentations at Oxford.

The dyslexic Elephant is coming into focus. Summary of today’s presentations at Oxford.

Yesterday concentrated on recent research into Auditory/phonological processing aspects of dyslexia and identification, prediction and prevention of dyslexia.
 Today, Friday concentrated on issues of Visual attention and neuroimaging beyond Phonology.

There were compelling research reports on the mechanisms and role of visual attention span in reading and dyslexia.

A continuing theme across the day looked at the directionality of the relationship between changes in Neural imaging information and reading experience.
The danger is consistently assuming that a correlation informs us about causality.
There has also been an emerging awareness of the role of the ventral visual stream in the reading process and the relationship between the dorsal visual stream and the ventral visual stream.

Visual attention issues were developed  at the levels of Crowding, eye movements and the visual effects of coloured filters in terms of the increasing or decreasing of blue light into the eye using the Oxford (DRT) yellow and blue glasses.  I now understand more about the dynamics in the use of these.  I had hoped that would happen!

The plasticity of the way the brain deals with sensory data is clear.  Interventions that change the relationship between ‘brain cortex’ areas were a continuing theme.

There is strong evidence that there are pre-existing relationships which can be ‘triggered’ into use or suppressed which to me strongly supports the response of dyslexic student’s visual systems to computer screen optimisation and our longitudinal tracking of the changes.

The group of us with a strong optometric/orthoptic component to our thinking were very aware that up to now this perspective on reading has not really been considered in the neurobiological studies and is probably limiting the understanding of the ‘ecology the mechanism.  There seemed to be a widely accepted view that this will change with collaboration between people at the symposium.

I will attempt more précis of the separate presentations after tomorrow.

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