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How Dyslexia Works

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

For a learning disability that everyone seems to know about, dyslexia is maybe the most commonly misunderstood and controversial cognitive difficulty there is. Some people think it’s a gift, some people think it doesn’t even exist.

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Unknown Speaker 0:57

Welcome to step you should know from

Josh Clark 1:08

Hey, and welcome to the podcast. I'm Josh Clark. There's Charles W. Chuck Brian over there. And there's Jerry and this is Stuff You Should Know About dyslexia. How are you doing? Good, good. How are you? I'm doing pretty good, man. Just, you know, hanging out. Over here. Yeah, ready to wrap?

Unknown Speaker 1:27

I thought this is pretty cool. I'm surprised that we had not discussed this yet. Because it's right up our alley. Totally vary Stuff You Should Know type show. Yeah. And I think it's an interesting you know,

Unknown Speaker 1:40

I guess it's labeled a learning disorder. Most Most definitely. It's a specific learning disorder. According to the US government.

Unknown Speaker 1:48

Yeah, I always just have a hard time what you know, knowing whether or not to, like almost set affliction, then like it's at an affliction. I don't even know.

Unknown Speaker 1:56

I think it's I think anybody with dyslexia and anybody any expert in the field would say it's a learning disability. It's okay, civic learning disability that, that we're not entirely certain what causes it. But most people will tell you that. Typically, it's considered a neurobiological condition. They think that there's a basis to the brain that leads to this situation where otherwise bright and capable, yep. And intelligence students have what they call unexpected difficulty learning to read, in that it afflicts them their entire life. Yeah, but there's a lot of questions. Yeah, sure. that surround the definition. And one of the problems with dyslexia research is that that's that that's not the official definition. There's about as many definitions as there are studies of dyslexia.

Unknown Speaker 2:52

Yeah, this one from Yale Center for dyslexia, and creativity made sense to me, though, as far as just sort of a simple way to say it an unexpected difficulty in reading an individual who has the intelligence to be a much better reader. Right. So in other words, like, this isn't adding up, all the tools are there. And you should be a better reader than you are. Right? But you're not. So why? What gives?

Unknown Speaker 3:17

Yeah, so there's, um, there's, there's a lot to that though, right? Like, there's this idea that if if we know enough about the brain, and we have things like MRIs and stuff like that, so you would think that by now, since maybe the 90s, or whatever, right, have positively identified what it is. But there's a confounding problem that they've run into in dyslexic dyslexia research, and we'll get into it more later. But they haven't figured out if what they're looking at is the changes that would come from not reading as much. Right? Or if the brain structure they're seeing is actually dyslexia, right. So they're having trouble with I'll explain it better later. Now, but I know what you mean. Well, good, as long as you do, but it also counts. It's like the million or so people listening to this also do

Unknown Speaker 4:10

Hey, everybody, dyslexia is very studying it, and understanding it. And learning how to teach children with dyslexia is very important because up until semi recently, I'm just gonna go say recently, if you were had dyslexia and you are a student, you might have been called stupid or dumb. And you might have been teacher. Yeah, you might have been put at a separate table and said, well, you go over here because we, you can't keep up. This one guy, man, this one really hit home, or not hit home. But Hitchin, the breadbasket in the breadbasket, which is like I'm sure, pulled by Pulitzer Prize winner Philip Schultz, was diagnosed later in life and he said growing up in the 1950s he He said, basically, he was placed in what he called the dummy class. Three children in his class were separated, put at a table in the corner, the teacher didn't talk to them much. And essentially, one day, like the principal was coming around, and she said, here are these books, pretend to read them.

Unknown Speaker 5:17

Right? the principal's coming. That is just tough. But there's something really significant about that. That that was a column written by a guy named Philip Schultz, who was a Pulitzer Prize winner. Yeah. So that really kind of reveals the fact that what they figured out through decades and decades of research is that people with dyslexia aren't stupid. They specifically have trouble learning to read, and spell and write. Yeah, and more and more research has kind of gotten to the root of the problems with dyslexia. But we have found that with patience, and practice, people with dyslexia can learn to read you have dyslexia your entire life. Yeah, there's no cure for it, right. But you can learn to read, and you can learn to navigate and cope with dyslexia as a child and into adulthood.

Unknown Speaker 6:10

Yeah, and I don't want to, I certainly don't want to sound like I'm bagging on teachers, because you know, both of my parents are teachers, and even back in the day, when, you know, let me just say this. Teachers back then didn't have the same tools that they have today. And they, they didn't have an understanding of dyslexia. So right, if they had students that weren't keeping up and would force the class to maybe lag behind, they may not have made the best decisions, but they didn't have all the tools at their disposal to make better decisions. Right, the

Unknown Speaker 6:41

presence of a kid with dyslexia in the class creates a conundrum, do you slow the class down to that kid's speed? And as far as like reading and spelling and writing lessons go, right? Potentially risking like slowing down the rest of the class who are learning at a normal clip? Or do you take this guy with dyslexia, this girl with dyslexia, and put them in a special needs class, right, that may address their reading and writing, but they're going to get so far behind their classmates and every other subject that they're normally proficient at? Right? It's a problem. And they had no idea how to how to grapple with it for almost all the 20th century, in multiple generations of kids with dyslexia suffered as a result.

Unknown Speaker 7:29

Yeah, it's really sad. There are a lot of symptoms for dyslexia key symptoms. And these are very important. Because there is no blood test. There is no, there's no, even I mean, there are a lot of testing they can do, but that there's no standardized specific tests that will really nail it down.

Unknown Speaker 7:46

Right. So keep that in mind. There's no, there's no official definition of dyslexia. Yeah. And there's no specific test to suss out dyslexia. Right. Two big problems.

Unknown Speaker 7:58

Yeah. So you got to look at this collection of symptoms. The first obvious one is slow reading, inaccurate reading, difficulty sounding out words, difficulty pronouncing longer words with multiple syllables, which we'll get to that in a bit. Inability to read or speak made up nonsense words, which I thought was interesting, poor short term memory for verbal information, whether it's written or spoken, spoken, poor spelling, like really poor spelling, to where you sometimes can't even tell what the words they're trying to spell are.

Unknown Speaker 8:33

Right? Not not just like, you know, Miss, like using an F instead of a pH or something like that.

Unknown Speaker 8:38

Yeah. And we should also point out, too, that it's very much an incorrect notion that if you have dyslexia, you just transpose letters or spell things backwards.

Unknown Speaker 8:45

That's what I thought for most of my life. Yeah, dyslexia was people they spelled things backwards. And that was that and that they also read backwards and that they could train themselves to read things backwards, right? totally made up. I mean, it's not totally made up. But it's so such a such a just a one component you have dyslexia that it might as well just be an urban legend. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 9:08

totally. And then what this can lead to, it's not just like, Oh, I have trouble reading like that, that spills out into all aspects of life, whether it's your self esteem, or you might have problem with with directions directionally, you might have issue with your budgets or money items, or you might not can tell time, very well, frustrated, anger, difficulty planning things, right. It's not just limited to reading issues.

Unknown Speaker 9:38

And then in real life, you you might read something and have very little recollection of what you just read. You, you will probably have problems giving presentations, finding the right word, recalling words that kind of thing. Yeah. When you do read and when you learn to read, you will be reading slower than anybody Even reading at your reading level, you just do it more slowly. Yeah. And then as an adult, a lot of people are like, Oh, good god, I'm done with school, let me just go off and find a job that doesn't require any reading or any writing. And I will be fine. I will go to restaurants and order the same thing at every restaurant. Yeah. And if this routine that I've developed to mask my dyslexia is ever interrupted, I will flip out and try to keep it under control. But I will seem a little awkward socially, right? During instances like this. There's ways you can carve out a life for yourself. But you don't have to, because now we understand dyslexia way more than we did before. And we understand the treatment of it, too.

Unknown Speaker 10:43

Yeah. And as far as how many people have it, it's it's tough to get, because of all these reasons, we're talking about tough to get a good number that's reliable, but anywhere between five and 15 to 17%. It looks like which is sort of not the biggest range in the world, but they don't really know.

Unknown Speaker 11:00

No, they haven't, they have no idea because there's a couple of problems. One, there's a lot of people out there who don't realize they have dyslexia. And then there's a lot of people who do know they have dyslexia and are either ashamed of it, or have just set up their life to where they don't have time or room to go, be diagnosed, and then go learn right to overcome it. They're just like, whatever I have this thing, this issue where I'm slower at reading than right, other people. So yeah, it's probably very much underreported and underestimated. How many people in the population habit?

Unknown Speaker 11:33

Yeah. And we're talking mainly about almost exclusively about developmental dyslexia. Which is, you know, the kind we mostly think about, we're not talking about acquired dyslexia, which is, can happen as a result of an injury, right? So just want to point that out.

Unknown Speaker 11:49

Well, let's take a break and then we'll come back and talk about the history that actually features both of those. Okay.

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Unknown Speaker 14:01

So Chuck, the first time the word dyslexia was used was in 1872 by an ophthalmologist named Rudolf Berlin, who coined the term dyslexia. But the case that he was describing was a case of acquired dyslexia, right where you can you can develop the symptoms of dyslexia, trouble reading, trouble writing, trouble sounding out words from a head injury or say a lesion on your brain, something like that. Yeah. And that told them a lot, right? It really, initially they thought maybe it was just a sign of low intelligence. Maybe it was a problem with vision or something like that. But the fact that you could acquire dyslexia, told neurologists and ophthalmologists working in the 19th century. No, this is a this is a there's a neurobiological basis to this.

Unknown Speaker 14:52

Yeah. And they called it early on in the 19th century, and I guess even in the early 20th century. Well actually, they called it that up until The 60s Yeah, the 60s, word blindness.

Unknown Speaker 15:03

And they there was a German who, who coined that term, and they called it varta. Blind height. Can you say that? That's good. Okay. You would do it way better than Well, I

Unknown Speaker 15:14

would put on some dumb voice but that's perfect pronunciation. Okay. He said that it's a W, right? Yeah. You said it is a V? Yeah, perfect. Okay. I've been doing click my heels together. checks out. Dorothy. So they call it like you said up until the 60s congenital word blindness. There were a lot of people in the late 1800s around a lot, but a handful of people studying this stuff.

Unknown Speaker 15:38

Yeah, Hinshelwood, and Morgan. Were the two big ones.

Unknown Speaker 15:41

Yeah. And they were ophthalmologist and a doctor. Hinshelwood was the ophthalmologist. And they and then there were also neurologists, domainname, Samuel Orton. And they it's interesting to look back because they were sort of on the right track with how they what they thought was wrong.

Unknown Speaker 16:01

You have word blindness, also as a term is not that not that far off. Yeah. I mean, it really does a good job, it's going to thing because they're saying like, there's some condition that these people have, specifically, because they're otherwise totally intelligent. They're just they have a problem with words with seeing words and recognizing them like everybody else can.

Unknown Speaker 16:22

Yeah, and it was, obviously since the dawn of time, people have had this condition. But it didn't. Obviously, if you think about it, there are a lot of things that came along that really brought it into the forefront.

Unknown Speaker 16:33

Yeah, like printing, widespread literacy.

Unknown Speaker 16:37

Yeah. Newspapers and books and street signs, exactly. menus, like you're saying in a restaurant. Yeah, like, like everywhere, there's the printed word

Unknown Speaker 16:45

and all of this. Well, as all of this started to emerge in like the second half of the 19th century, at least in the United States, and in the West, in Europe. All of a sudden, people who had dyslexia suddenly became apparent. Whereas before this, it wouldn't have been apparent because there was no way for dyslexia to manifest itself right. People didn't walk around reading, you weren't expected to learn to read and write as a kid. You had to be like, basically a monk to to learn to read and write are part of like the aristocracy. Now it became democratized and public schooling became widespread. And so as a result, dyslexia became a thing for the very first time it's actually a relatively new condition that was born out of the modern era.

Unknown Speaker 17:30

Yeah. Or if you were a kid back then and you they were trying to teach your reading you couldn't you were just they were like, Alright, well, I guess he's not a reader, right? So get out to the factory the field, right and don't worry about it.

Unknown Speaker 17:41

But the the that was what Morgan like who Pringle Morgan and James Hinshelwood were doing was they were the first ones to say, Well, wait, get that kid out of the field because he seems otherwise bright to me. Right? He just is having trouble reading. This might just be a thing. Yeah, so they were the first ones to say no, this is its own thing. This isn't just being being generally slow. Rice is a specific learning disability. Right.

Unknown Speaker 18:06

Samuel Orton, the neurologists I mentioned, he created the Orton society in 1949. They were researchers and teachers trying to figure out like, Alright, we know this is a problem. Now how do we go about teaching kids like this? And that eventually led to the international dyslexia Association. But it really took until the, like the 1970s. There was a book written by McDonald Critchley called the dyslexic child. And that's when things really started to come to the forefront more.

Unknown Speaker 18:38

Yeah, they started to realize, Oh, wait, you can teach kids with dyslexia, how to read. So maybe we should start doing that. Right. And here are here are the symptoms and the signs of dyslexia. And let's let's take it seriously in the general education system.

Unknown Speaker 18:53

Yeah. And one of the interesting things that they learned, they have learned over the years is part of the problem, at least in the case of English, is that it's a really tough language to learn extraordinarily tough, and it matters if you have dyslexia. When compared to Italian it says English has over 1000 ways to spell its basic set of 40. phonological sounds, Italian has 25 speech sounds, a speech sounds and only 33 ways to spell them. So incidences of dyslexia while they may be the same, technically in Italy. Kids don't have as much of a problem in Italy.

Unknown Speaker 19:32

Yeah, like think about this so that the short e sound you can spell it AI as in said, eo is in leopard, you as embury ie is in friend. Okay? English is so tough, it is tough, but what you're doing is when you're when you're spelling those things, you're you're encoding a sound a phoneme is what it's called. Yeah. And like you said in English, we have 40 phonemes in And when you spell when you read your encoding and decoding a phoneme, and we've attached phonemes on to specific things out in real life, right? leopard, right? If you can spell leopard, you can write down that word. And you can create a leopard in somebody else's Mind's Eye by reading it. Right? Okay, this is all spectacular that we can do this, but it's a totally human construct. Now, if you have dyslexia, you're the ground problem. That that is the basis of your condition is you have trouble sorting through phonemes, you have trouble with what's called phonological awareness where you hear law, impart right as two separate dis distinct sounds, that you can learn to spell and learn to write. You can't sort them sometimes they they run together. It's a it's a problem on the very basis of reading, writing, spelling, phonology, trouble, your brain has trouble processing it and sorting it. That's the basis of dyslexia. So if you are a kid with dyslexia in learning English, with is difficult as it is where there's all these different rules for the same phoneme, it's going to be way harder than it is in something like Italian like you're saying,

Unknown Speaker 21:18

Yeah, and as a result, as you would imagine, learning a second language, if you have dyslexia is really tough. But they have found that Italian is can almost be like a therapy, a training, like jam camp for learning really interesting.

Unknown Speaker 21:34

Yeah. Because you learn Oh, there's rules for certain things, right? These are really basic rules. Right? sense. So maybe now I can learn English a little more easily with the expectation that the rules are structurally the same, but they're just different for English than they are for Italian in nuance, but ultimately, they're getting across the same stuff.

Unknown Speaker 21:54

Yeah, the whole concept of language and, and symbols, ie letters, and words, right? It's just fascinating to me endlessly fascinating. Yeah. Because again, I don't like humans, like creating this and saying that thing over there. If you draw these symbols in this order, that's what that is. See that leopard? Like that's, and then the word leopard, like, yeah, it's just all fascinating. It

Unknown Speaker 22:20

is because you're encapsulating knowledge that can be shared later on can be unlocked later on by anyone who understands how to decode it in the same way.

Unknown Speaker 22:28

Yeah. What's the science? What What's it called? When you study that? linguistics? Is it just linguistic? I'm pretty sure I could have been a linguist. Oh, yeah. If I'd only known what it was called. Yeah. It is realized halfway through that would have dumped on. What's that thing called? Yeah, I could have been good at that. Yeah, I couldn't, it was on the tip of my tongue. So

Unknown Speaker 22:53

I guess we can talk about the the fMRI and the MRI, obviously, the Wonder machine figures in pretty big when it comes to this kind of thing. Yeah. And in the mid 90s, is about when the fMRI came on the scene with dyslexia and studies with dyslexia. Once they, one of the problems was little kids, they're like, Oh, we can't throw them in there, I think, explode their brain. And then they're like, oh, now the fMRI machine is fine for kids. We tested it out and some bad kids, and they were fine. And so they started putting children in there. Because you could obviously do this at any age, but it's important for school aged children to like, figure out what's going on in their brains?

Unknown Speaker 23:34

Well, that's one of the reasons why that's the sample population is because it takes years for dyslexia to be prominent, right? Every kid has problems learning, reading and writing at first, sure. But then as other kids progress, and this one kid doesn't, but they're otherwise bright, same socio economic opportunities and all that stuff. That's when it becomes possible that they have dyslexia. But by that time, a couple more years have gone by, right, right. Yeah. So you're not you're not testing for dyslexia on babies. Right? You have to wait until it basically manifests itself.

Unknown Speaker 24:14

Yeah. And of course, with fMRI, they, I think there was some hope that it could, like you've mentioned earlier, just be like, well, there it is. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 24:22

But you know, it wasn't it wasn't as they, you know, different regions of the brain would light up or not light up, but they didn't get any hard, like pinpointing conclusions. No, they have kind of focused in on a few spots, like different studies have said, This is what we found, and it actually correlates with other studies, too. There's left hemisphere areas, the ventral occipitotemporal region, the temporal parietal region, and the inferior frontal cortices, which have to do with language processing. Yeah, but also visual processing of language too. Yeah. So again, they That the basis of all of this is that when you are hearing sounds when somebody is holding up a piece of bread that has been dried through heat and says toast, you're hearing tau. Yeah, and you can learn to write to a little confounding, sure, then S T over time, maybe the first few times you write t o e, s, t, it doesn't matter. You're going to learn to write t o a s t, and you can write it down, and then someone else can read it and they think of toast, right. with dyslexia, you're not hearing tau, you're you're you and you certainly can't extrapolate something that you're not hearing correctly into words and letters. Yeah. Okay.

Unknown Speaker 25:43

That's a good way to put it. The test analogy, there you go. There is a genetic component, you are likely if you have dyslexia to also have other family members who have it. And they have isolated some genes associated with it. But again, they haven't been like, here's the cause. Let's just figure out how to switch this gene off or on.

Unknown Speaker 26:03

Right. And I think it's just correlated. It's not necessarily the cause. It's Yeah, people who have been shown to have dyslexia have these this set of genes that are doing this.

Unknown Speaker 26:15

Yeah, but what like I said earlier, what's interesting is those early doctors weren't super far off. Yeah, it does have to do with visual processing of this linguistic information. And they were on the right track even way back then. So not bad.

Unknown Speaker 26:30

And then even still, though, with this new understanding of like, Okay, this brain region looks like this, this brain region looks like that. This is the sign of the dyslexic brain. There's still the question, is this the result of going years and years without reading, right? Or is that the structure of a brain with dyslexia, right? Because we know that your brain changes, when you read, when you learn to read they they've done studies in the MRI with illiterate adults who have learned to read, so they do a scan of them well, while they cannot read, and then they scan them again, while they can read in and look for differences in the brain. And there are structural differences that take place in the brain. Right? Which makes sense because it makes you think, so an illiterate adult, is that the normal structure of the brain and an adult that can read is that an abnormal structure? Because think about it, we've only been doing that for 100 150 years. Yeah, that's a new construct. So it makes sense that the brain would be neuro plastic like that, in that respect, because that's a new thing we've all started to try to do to alter our brains.

Unknown Speaker 27:41

Yeah. And that's where the practice part comes in which we'll get to more. But it's interesting that and it sounds simple. But the better. If you have dyslexia, the better you get at reading and writing, the better you will get at reading and writing.

Unknown Speaker 27:53

Exactly. You're You're just, you're strengthening your creating new neural connections, you haven't strengthening those pathways. Yeah. And the fact that it all comes down to apparently, patience, and practice. And that like, it's saying, like, these kids with dyslexia are going through the same thing that every kid does with with learning to read and write and spell. It just takes them way longer. Yeah. The fact that generations of kids with dyslexia were just abandoned by the school system, because of a lack of patience is really what it comes down to. is beyond sad. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 28:29

Patients and resources, I think, and that's part of it. Sure. Yeah. I just don't want to sound like we're saying like, features. Just we're impatient about it. All. Right. It's like it was complex. And still very sad.

Unknown Speaker 28:41

Yes. The teachers have to buy their own school supplies still gets to me every year. Yeah. The fact that we're like living with this as a country like that's just become normal to us, right? Is It's embarrassing. Yeah. It's just a mark of shame on our country. If you asked me.

Unknown Speaker 28:59

Alright, let's take a break. No, I'm gonna go. I'm gonna give you your cat of nine tails, so we can flog each other

Unknown Speaker 29:06

I realized I sound really forceful in this episode. Do I feel like I'm sounding forceful? Do I sound forceful? No, I think you're great do Why? Well, that did okay. All right. We'll be right back everyone.

Unknown Speaker 29:33

This episode is brought to you by Disney plus, Disney plus Hulu, ESPN plus stream all your favorites with the Disney bundle. Disney plus has Loki and Luca on Hulu watch originals like American Horror Story and nine perfect strangers and ESPN plus has every match of Spain's thrilling laliga get the Disney bundle today for only 1399 includes Hulu ad supported plan access content from each service separately terms apply. See the Disney for details.

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Unknown Speaker 30:43

All right, so like you said earlier, there is no cure for dyslexia, there is treatment, and they even put that in quotes. But you shouldn't think of it as a disease cure type of thing. No, no. It's this in patients. You have it for life. Yeah. And those are the two strategies that we will say it one more time for the 10th time patients in practice. It's you have to have that patience there as a parent, as a teacher, as someone with dyslexia. I know it's frustrating. But the more patient you are, give yourself time teachers can and there are programs now where students can get extra time to take tests, right? and things like that. And oh, yeah, I think even officially, like with the LSAT and stuff like that, oh, yeah, there are programs where you are not to put at a disadvantage.

Unknown Speaker 31:39

There's the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004. The idea act, yeah. or idea. It specifies dyslexia as a specific learning disorder. And when you have a diagnosis of dyslexia, the whole world opens up to you, you all of a sudden have your own personal teacher's assistant working with you. Hopefully, you have all sorts of resources that just weren't available to you before that are being funneled directly toward helping you learn to read faster. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 32:11

I wonder if that's across the board?

Unknown Speaker 32:15

Um, yeah, I think that schools probably has specific funding for idea stuff. I mean, like when when Congress comes up with an act like that, they find it and then they find it out of like, those huge Omnibus budgets have funding for that. Right. And that goes to the school and schools supposedly not allowed to spend it on anything. But that stuff. Gotcha. So yeah, probably, if you get a diagnosis of dyslexia, it's pretty sweet. And a huge relief, right? Because all of a sudden, it's just like a brand new world, you're taken away from the dumb kids table, like Howard Schultz was right. And all of a sudden, you have your own your own one on one, reading and spelling right lessons that you just didn't have before.

Unknown Speaker 33:00

Yeah. The other, like we said, is practice. And over time, you know, you can learn to read, and you make those new neural pathways and, and it just, it's heartening to know that if you have this patience, and you put in the time, it is something that can be overcome, if everyone like, works together,

Unknown Speaker 33:21

right. And if you can learn to read even as an adult, you're not going to learn to read necessarily proficiently, I think you can't, if you really, really practice if you put your mind to it, it's going to be very slow. But it's not like you'll never read a book or something like that. Yeah. But I saw one woman describing her condition as an adult. And she said she was very proud to be at like a seventh grade reading level, right? As an adult, which is like you can navigate through life as it with a seventh grade at a seventh grade reading level pretty easy, right? The problem comes when you don't ever you've never gotten any help. And you were basically an illiterate adult, because of dyslexia.

Unknown Speaker 34:00

Yeah, they have technology now can help out there, what they call assistive listening devices, because sometimes, if you have someone in your ear, reading something out loud while you're reading along, sort of like a teacher and an app, like that one on one experience that can really really help. I'm seeing a transcription sometimes. Yeah. Of what someone's saying. A real time transcripts. Yeah. So all these apps and devices are really helping things along.

Unknown Speaker 34:26

Oh, it's it's like a brand new world for kids with dyslexia compared to like, last century. Oh, yeah. Or even a few decades ago, you know?

Unknown Speaker 34:35

Yeah, the one thing I didn't quite get was this thing that you said, from sir Jim rose. I didn't fully get what I was saying he was part of it. So he's not saying this. He's He's, he's definitely all into dyslexia. But there is a, a thread that of of experts in childhood education, psychology childhood cognition, who, who suspect that there's no such thing as dyslexia, really, that those earliest neurologists, in ophthalmologists and doctors who, who named it and made it a thing were wrong. And that really, an inability to read transcends any level of intelligence. It's disconnected from intelligence, that no matter whether you are of high intelligence or low intelligence, you can suffer from an inability to learn to read, right. And so if you have dyslexia, and you are of high intelligence, the kid next to you, who has low intelligence and can't read also has dyslexia or theirs, or else no one has dyslexia is just an inability learned read. Most experts say dyslexia is a thing. Sure. Which means then the debate is, okay. Does it have anything to do with intelligence, right? And if it doesn't have anything to do with intelligence, then all of these resources that are being diverted to these kids who are of high intelligence, but are having trouble learning to read, is really doing a disservice to the kids of low intelligence, and I'm making air quotes here, everybody. Yeah. Who are having trouble learning to read? Gotcha. But there's why differentiate you're both having trouble learning to read write, start attacking the problem with both of them, right? Is this one Australian expert, who basically said, like, yes, dyslexia is a thing it is his own thing has a neurobiological basis. It's not made up. It's not a myth. But let's treat first and then diagnose later, right? If you see an inability to learn to read, go after that. Don't say, Well, is it dyslexia let's test the kids intelligence. It doesn't matter. Try and focus on learning how I'm teaching them how to read interest, and apparently interventions. There's this guy named Julian, Professor Julian. What's his name? Chuck? linen. Sans? Yes, Julian sands in boxing Alayna. He makes he has a big soliloquy about whether or not dyslexia is I can't remember the guy's last name. But I get the impression that parents of children with dyslexia are not a big fan of this guy. Right. But he's he's basically said we're diverting a lot of funding away from kids who know how to who don't know how to read, just because they don't they supposedly don't have a high IQ, right. Let's treat all the kids. So that's the idea of whether it's a myth, not that dyslexia doesn't exist, although I think some people suspected it didn't for a while right now, people believe it does. But not necessarily that it's just intelligent, upper middle class kids who have dyslexia, right. It's just an inability to read for the same reason. Interesting. That's the basis of it. It's still up in the air. And it's a really touchy subject. Yeah. very touchy subject. Sure. and rightfully so. Yeah. Like, I can imagine you feel lost in the woods. If there's no official diagnosis. There's no official test of it. There's no official definition of it. But your kid has it. And you know, your kid has it. Yeah. I can't imagine what it must feel like to have some expert going like there's no such thing as dyslexia. Right? You know, yeah, yeah. Thanks a lot. It is very touchy, and rightfully so. Well, finally,

Unknown Speaker 38:16

there's this whole notion that if you have dyslexia, then you may excel in other areas, you may be more creative. Or you may be more prone to be like, an entrepreneur or perhaps, yeah, as you think outside the box. Yeah. I mean, there's a long list of people, like, you know, famous creative types that have dyslexia. Agatha Christie, did you know that one? I didn't, but I didn't either. That, you know, I didn't just make it up. I learned it's a long list. But just recently, part of this bugs me now. I don't know. I just hate it when they're like, Well, look, what celebrities have this thing? I mean, I get it maybe that it might. I don't know. I just don't see the value in that.

Unknown Speaker 38:57

Well, it's saying like, look at this guy, this guy, this lady maybe I guess he's not a street sweeper. You don't have to spend you don't have to look forward to a life of shoveling horse manure, because you have dyslexia you can achieve just stick to a kid. Now I get all that. And that's valid. Or you're questioning the cult of celebrity. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 39:14

that was that just sort of bugs me but now there is benefits. I'm sure if some kids is like Tom Cruise has dyslexia, right? And look at him.

Unknown Speaker 39:22

Me I have had some questions about Xanax and its value myself.

Unknown Speaker 39:29

Oh goodness. There have been some studies though, over the years that may or may not support this like supposedly, if you have dyslexia, you may be quicker to find something in your peripheral vision. Maybe you can like MC Escher style drawings or the impossible images, hidden images, you might see those quicker and more easily find patterns and noise Sure. Like you could be a great data analysts

Unknown Speaker 39:57

perhaps and they think like this This makes total sense. But the problem is, is it's anecdotal at this point, right? But it makes total sense that yes, you're, you're the same senses that you were using to read and write if you don't know how to read him, right? Your brain is going to compensate with other things. It's going to possibly excel at other stuff, right? Just because it's structured different if your brain is structured differently, which we know that's the case. If you do not read or write, you would expect that it would manifest itself in real world behaviors and traits. Well, yeah, and the first thing I thought is like, yeah,

Unknown Speaker 40:33

totally, like if your vision impaired you you hear things better. Well, supposedly, that's a myth. Well, I looked it up. There are studies where if you are vision impaired, you are better at pinpointing like location of sound, and certain sounds, but it's not as here's something two miles away. Yeah, it's not as cut and dry. It's just better. Yeah. Cuz like your ears develop better.

Unknown Speaker 40:54

You know, you remember that guy who can echolocate? He's visually impaired. And he's like, he uses clicks or something like that, like a bat. He basically taught himself to echolocate. Really amazing.

Unknown Speaker 41:06

The first thing I thought about was the guy with the ear in his arm. What was his name cell arts. I was. Oh man, I love that you and I like go back and forth on remembering the guy's name. Last time we brought him in. I can't remember his name. And you rattled it right at Stelarc between us. Stelarc is going to live forever, the transhumanist to you. But then that last thing about being entrepreneurial or maybe a corporate executive, they did do a study in 2009 that found there was anecdotal evidence of over representation in those fields. But then that's the thing to where they're like, maybe they were just better at overcoming adversity. Right. And that stayed on through their whole life to where it wasn't just dyslexia but like it, nothing would keep them down. So they excelled.

Unknown Speaker 41:52

Right? They learned how to how to try harder than their peers. Yeah. So yeah. Even if that is the case, great. Sure. But the point is, is is still anecdotal. So you have to be careful with saying like, oh, people with dyslexia are way better at this right? Or they're, they're more likely to be entrepreneurs. This just hasn't been settled. Yeah. But I think the overall point of this episode is, if you are if you do have dyslexia, there is plenty of hope. Do not give up hope. Whether that your kid has dyslexia or you have dyslexia, you can learn to read and write and spell and you can become a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist, or Agatha Christie. Yep. Or john Irving. I saw his dyslexia, john, anything. Yeah. Richard Branson. That was really good. Ozzy Osborne, for God's sakes. Look at that guy. Sure. If I'm going around the house, he's successful. Yeah, despite himself Hmm. If you don't know more about dyslexia, you can learn all about it on the internet's and since I said that it's time for listener.

Unknown Speaker 42:56

We call this Sid and Marty Krofft email this guy wrote in to email us about a personal connection he had to the Schoolhouse Rock episode. I'm not gonna read that half of the letter because I don't want to further embarrass the family. But his he's his relation to the person that we kind of called out as the guy who ruined Schoolhouse Rock. Oh, okay. Wasn't he an exact? Yeah, yeah, yeah, but the second half of this is. Speaking of unbelievable stories, guys, I thought you'd be jealous to know that I grew up hanging out on the sets of all the SID and Marty Krofft shows because my mom was on a bunch of them. He's to have lunch with Asli stacks, and throw around big foam boulders. From land to the loss. She was Nashville on the captain cool. And the conch show, which wrapped around the Saturday morning cartoons. I remember that. They also that also led to the music group, the Bay City Rollers showing up to my birthday party. When I was like five, it calls such a big mob scene, the police had to come. That's the S A. Da, why

Unknown Speaker 44:00

not? You know how they got their name. They threw a dart at a map and it landed on Bay City, Michigan, because they're like Scottish, aren't they? I think so.

Unknown Speaker 44:09

I remember my sister. We had a babysitter, and then my sister in the babysitter. I don't know why my sister wasn't just my babysitter. She was six years older. There was another girl who babysat that was like my sister. And they would sit around this is my big memory of the Bay City Rollers. They would there was one of their albums at each of their pictures, sort of in a dartboard like fashion on a circle. And they would spin the record around and close their eyes and stop it with their finger and like they didn't make out with that picture. They had to like kiss that picture whenever. I hope your sister doesn't listen to me. Oh, it's great. The 70s man so innocent. I love the 70s. So basically rollers came to his birthday party they called the cops. She went on my mom went on to do a ton of cool stuff that I'm sure you guys would know. Bunch of episodes of plastic Man wow the women's voices on Celebrity deathmatch cool hosting a game show called Rodeo Drive playing Joan Rivers on Family Guy. Wow. Being in the Catskills on Broadway nice for two years, too much more dimension guys, except also she went on the road with Tim Conway and Harvey Korman for a number of years posing as Carol Burnett. And my little brother ended up engaged to Harvey Korman starter. Oh, wow. But it didn't work out. Wow. Anyway, love the show. Guys. If I can ever be a resource, let me know. That is from Keith or l Keith. That was amazing. You remember celebrity deathmatch? Yeah, man. So great. Big shout out to your mom to

Unknown Speaker 45:36

Yeah. And to go see your mom's Keith. Yeah. Well, if you want to brag on your mom, because she's done some awesome stuff we love hearing about that. Moms always have great, welcome this here, it's Stuff You Should Know. That's right, that's gonna end up being a crummy t shirt. If you want to get in touch with us, you can hang out on Stuff You Should Know calm and check out our social links there. I have a website called the Josh Clark way calm, you can get in touch with me there. And you can get in touch with me, Chuck and Jerry and everybody else here. It's Stuff You Should Know by sending an email to stuff podcast

Unknown Speaker 46:15

For more on this and 1000s of other topics, visit

Unknown Speaker 46:29

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Unknown Speaker 47:00

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