2017 Saturday Conference Speaker: Albert M. Galaburda, M.D. “Developmental Dyslexia: 35 Years of Fascination and Discovery” by Maryann Chatfield, F/AOGPE
through 2015. It provided illumination as to the possible underlying mechanisms of developmental dyslexia.
Dr. Albert M. Galaburda is the Emily Fisher-Landau Profes- sor of Neurology (Neuroscience) at Harvard Medical School. He is a practicing cogni- tive neurologist at the Beth Israel Deacon- ess Medical Center and co-director of the Mind Brain Behavior Interfaculty Initiative at Harvard University.
Colleagues in his field had mostly used hu- man brain imaging techniques in vivo, showing differing patterns of neural activity in research participants with dyslexia. Gala- burda’s approach was to find out how the neurons got there in the first place. Some background knowledge is helpful. When Dr. Galaburda initially performed his research, dyslexia was seen as a phono- logical problem, that is, a problem with the understanding of the sound structure of a
Galaburda’s biological research in dyslexia began 35 years ago. Changes were found in the cerebral cortex of a young man who, in life, had been diagnosed with developmental dyslexia. Brain images gathered post mortem (after death) indicated malformations.
Galaburda’s next several years were spent try- ing to procure more neurological information with help from what was then the Orton Dyslexia Society. With enough data having been required for a neurological model in rats and mice, a research program began that lasted all the way
language. Dr. Galaburda explained that the work of Thomas Pensher finally revealed to the scientific community a cor- relation between dyslexia and physical, tangible brain struc- tures. This finding was unprecedented. Until then, teachers continued on page 3...
The Head of The Carroll School, Steve Wilkins, jump-started our brains at his keynote address on the first day of the 2017 AOGPE Conference in Boston. Wilkins’ particular interest lies in the neuroscience of dyslexia. In his presentation, Wilkins explained, “It’s all about building neural connections.” Wilkins first paid homage to Bessie Stillman, Anna Gillingham, and Samuel T. Orton. In 1925, Orton, professor of Neuropsychiatry and Neuropathology at Columbia University, worked with boys who made reversals when reading. He noted that they could read more eas- ily in a mirror. He named the twisted symbols his students saw Stephosymbolia. Even before neuroimaging techniques were available, he looked at the left and right hemispheres of the brain. He identified the syndrome of specific language disability, noting the causes were neuro- 2017 Friday Conference Speaker: Steve Wilkins Building Better Networks for Reading by Maryann Chatfield, F/AOGPE
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