2013 was a busy year for dyslexia! Dyslexia in medicine. Dyslexia in politics. Dyslexia in literature, arts, entertainment, and more. Below is a list of the Top Dyslexia stories for 2013. Scroll down to the bottom to see my predictions for next year. Happy New Year and best wishes for 2014. Remember: Whatever your issue, don’t procrastinate…advocate!
1. Fiber-optic pen tells us what’s happening inside the brain
Researchers at the University of Washington invented a pen that can give the scientific or medical community a glimpse inside the brain to tell us just what’s going on while someone is writing. Read more from Science Daily here!
2. Test helps with decoding
Researchers at the University of London have created a test they believe will help us understand reading difficulties and the dyslexic mind. Read more about the decoding research here!
3. New Jersey passes dyslexia law
More states continue to pass dyslexia-specific laws to ensure that students with reading disorders such as dyslexia are getting what they need, and that educators have access to important multi-sensory language structured methods and curricula. Read about this year’s dyslexia law from New Jersey here!
4. Typography Book: What it Feels like to be Dyslexic
In what many describe as part “coffee table book and part textbook”, author and artist Sam Barclay designs a book that lends visual insight into what those with dyslexia might experience while reading. It’s an amazingly interactive and thought-provoking reading experience. Learn more about, I Wonder What it Feels Like to be Dyslexic here:
5. Malcolm Gladwell discusses dyslexia in his new book
Author, speaker, and thought-leader Malcolm Gladwell offers his perspectives on dyslexia in his latest book release, David and Goliath. Gladwell offers provides an explanation on his views regarding under-dogs that aren’t really underdogs” on NPR’s Marketplace. Listen to the interview or read more about it here!
6. International Dyslexia Association responds to false claims about the effects of visual therapies and colored lenses helping with dyslexia
The debate continues regarding visual therapies and dyslexia and this year the International Dyslexia Association released a clear position statement on the topic. Read their position here!
7. Brain scans discover dyslexia before students learn to read
Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston Children’s Hospital identified a unique MRI Scanning process that can help in the identification of children with dyslexia before they ever learn to read. Read more about the MIT and BCH brain scans here.
8. Northwestern University researchers discover the relationship between ability to read and how the brain encodes sounds. Read more about the NU research here.
9. Artist Highlights Famous People with Dyslexia
In a fascinating and majestic effort to bring awareness to dyslexia, artist Vince Low presented an amazing display of his personal sketches notable people with dyslexia. Check out the Vince Low’s amazing sketchwork here.
10. Blake Charlton defines his own dyslexia in the New York Times. Read more about the New York Times article here.
11. Harvey Hubbell’s long awaited biopic Dislecksia: The Movie.
Hubbell’s movie premiered across the country in mainstream and indie theaters. The movie presents Hubbell’s perspectives relative to his life experiences growing up with dyslexia. You’ll enjoy this delightful, witty, humorous, and sobering film. Check out the trailer and locations for viewing here.
12. Documentary highlights Robert Redford’s family’s experience with dyslexia.
While light-hearted biopic, Dislecksia: The Movie was making the rounds, another film was also making an impact. Similar to HBO’s 2011 feature film, ‘Journey into Dyslexia’, HBO’s newest dyslexia documentary, directed by James Redford features, a more personal look at how dyslexia has affected one famous family, as well as interviews with students with dyslexia, while also offering insight from the Yale’s Dr. Sally Shaywitz and numerous other figures. Check out Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia here.
13. Honorable Mention: Texas student Ben Shrader also known as “Commander Ben” made his own dyslexia video called, The Sound of Reading. In the film, Shrader highlights challenges that face students with dyslexia as well as the positive effect audio books have had on his success as a student. The video and his “Commander Ben” blog are worth a look here!
SO WHAT’S IN STORE FOR 2014?
In the coming year, more states will pass dyslexia legislation. Look for Illinois to pass legislation requiring early screening for dyslexia as well as additional professional development requirements for educators. We can also expect Tennesseans to see legislation introduced this year, as various advocacy groups and individuals in the state have formed an alliance to see landmark legislation passed there. In addition to more laws passed, expect more technological advances, more medical advances, more movies and more books!
(Dr. Chester Goad is founder of The Edventurist blog, an adult living with ADD, a university administrator, writer, speaker, and disability advocate, who is committed to making life better and more fun for people with attention deficit and dyslexia. He is a licensed teacher, and former school principal. He also likes pistachios and salted caramel mochas from Starbucks. These opinions are his own, and he has a lot of them. If you’d like Dr. Goad to come and speak to your students or to your group you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org).