A study conducted by Nadine Gaab , PhD at the laboratory of Cognitive neuro Science , Children’s Hospital, Boston used MRI to examine the brains of 9-12 year olds with developmental dyslexia. She found that compared to typical readers, children with dyslexia have difficulty processing fast changing sounds.
This interferes with their ability to create a sound map in the brain. Many of the fast changing sounds are simply omitted in their map. If their sound map is not complete and they cannot analyse the fast changing sounds of speech. Then when reading begins they are unable to connect the letters on the page with the appropriate sounds.
This particularly affects reading of syllables which contain several sounds strung rapidly together. For example of the child is given the sound hit he might hear a mixture of bit, kit and wit instead.
The auditory testing we use at the Developmental Learning Centre can identify what sounds the child is not hearing accurately. Many parents are amazed to find out that their child is mishearing so many words. This difficulty may become compounded in background noise where the words are further distorted or confused with other sounds in the room.
The result is a child who frequently misunderstands instructions , cannot spell simple words, confuses vowels and similar sounding consonants when reading and spelling and has poor short term memory. After all, who can understand and remember something which does not make sense?
Dr Gaab also noted that studies have shown that musicians are much better at processing rapidly changing sounds and suggested that musical training might be a useful pathway to improve processing of sounds.
In my work I have found that auditory retraining therapy using filtered music results in a significant improvement in phonological awareness and subsequent improvement in literacy in many children. The entire range of frequencies from very low to high is systematically stimulated by the music, and the rapidly changing information from the music stimulates the child’s ability to process rapidly changing sounds in speech.
For more information on how to access an auditory processing assessment or a full developmental assessment Contact us.