“I never do homework because I can’t even open these books. All the letters are jumping in my face,” complained TA, one of the participants in this study. Her reading of texts and even of word pairs was severely disrupted, and her main error type was migration of letters between words. However, when we suggested that she read with a word-sized window cut in a cardboard page, her mother called us, surprised, to report that she found TA reading at her leisure. Reading each word separately almost completely eliminated TA’s reading errors. This phenomenon of letters that are identified correctly but are not tied to the correct word is known as “attentional dyslexia.”
That is the opening passage of a research paper from Israel on “developmental attentional dyslexia“. The paper’s lead author, Professor Naama Friedmann, gave a presentation on the 19 flavors of dyslexia at a seminar last year at the College de France organized by our old virtual friend, Stanislas Dehaene.
But OMG, isn’t that OMD? Sounds like it could be the type of visual problem that arises from either an ocular motor dysfunction or a binocular vision problem creating instability of print. We’ve used various cut out guides or sliding windows (as available through the Therapy Shoppe) in our vision therapy practice to help patients with developmental (the young kids) or acquired (concussion/brain injury) forms of dyslexia having the kind of signs and symptoms above.
Beyond the crutch of the cutout, we have actively worked on improving the accuracy and efficiency of eye tracking patterns in a self-paced interactive manner with programs such as Dynamic Reader. This coupled with maximizing visual processing skills such as peripheral awareness and visual sequencing to increase the brain’s window for print, and optimizing accommodative-vergence interaction for stability of print and stamina. This frees up the brain’s resources for comprehension and fluency, rather than wasting energy, effort and yes – attention!!!! to maintaining print clear, single, stable and in the manner printed on the page.