The Science of Reading and Dyslexia
with Drs. Sally and Bennett Shaywitz
Extraordinary progress in understanding the nature of reading and dyslexia, including their neural underpinnings, have direct implications for the earlier and more accurate identification and more effective treatment of dyslexia. This presentation focuses on these discoveries and their translation into clinical practices for overcoming dyslexia and for appreciating the sea of strengths associated with dyslexia.
ADHD: Beyond the Basics
with Dr. Eric Tridas
Nationally-recognized expert Eric Tridas, M.D. will speak on what parents need to know about attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), including the appropriate use of medications and what can be done to help these students at home and school. Dr. Tridas is an informative, practical, and inspiring speaker.
When: Saturday, April 12, 2008
8:30 - 9:00 am - Check-in
9:00 am - 12:00 pm - Overcoming Dyslexia
12:00 - 1:00 pm - Lunch
1:00 pm - 4:00 pm - ADHD: Beyond the Basics
Where: San Francisco Day School
350 Masonic Ave., San Francisco, CA 94118
(Street parking is available)
Cost: Pre-registration - $50 (includes lunch)
Onsite - $50 (without lunch)
I don't watch TV much. No reason, really, other than I got out of the habit about a year ago.
So I was vaguely aware of Sarah Silverman, the comedian, but I didn't know bupkis about Jimmy Kimmel. Well, it seems they are a couple, and Silverman and the actor Matt Damon made a practical-joke video for Kimmel's birthday.
Well, few practical jokes go unreturned. Jimmy Kimmel got Ben Affleck and a host of other celebrities to participate in a riposte. I was particularly taken by Harrison Ford's performance.
The Kimmel-Affleck version is laugh-out-loud funny
I am paying a bit more than $1.20/minute for one of my graduate school classes. How do I know this? I divided the tuition cost for the class by the number of minutes the class is nominally in session.
To date, on the $/minute metric, I've spent $864. Personal valuation of information received? $125, max.
Well, I've made some friends and/or future colleagues. That's worth something.
On the other hand, it has really sharpened how I think about the airtime I take up in class. Before I open my mouth (which usually lasts at least a minute), I think, "Is this worth $1.20 of my classmates' money?"
On the gripping hand, there's the Ditz Boredom Index. My urge to talk is directly related to how dissatisfied I am with the rate of [information/data] transfer.
Grumpity grump. But you know, in every training program there are the slog-through bits.
The way-too-condensed version: this child has a rare mitochondrial mutation. Yes, the administration of vaccines exacerbated the child's physical woes caused by the mutation, including developmental regression. As Steven Novella wrote:
This is a unique and idiosyncratic case that raises more questions than it answers. In my opinion as a neurologist, with the information provided, the child has a mitochondrial encephalopathy. The role of the vaccines is unclear, but at worst a rare vaccine reaction exacerbated the underlying mitochondrial disorder. This case has no clear implication for the larger question concerning vaccines and autism, which is likely why both sides agreed to settle.
There's a special federal court to hear claims from parents (on behalf of children) that vaccination harmed their children's health. In November, the court found that one child's illness was in fact exacerbated by vaccination.
David Kirby decided that the finding somehow overturns study after study, which has found no causal relationship between vaccination in childhood and autism. I'm not going to link to Kirby's overheated piece. You can read what Kristina Chew has to say about it:
While the Davis Method has been offering "treatment" since 1982, no independent, objective evaluations of efficacy of the Davis Method have ever been performed, or has the efficacy of the Davis Method ever been evaluated compared to other approaches to remediating dyslexia, such as the variations of the Orton-Gillingham approach or Rave-O
To summarize: The Davis Method has no basis in what we now know about the neurocognitive nature of reading, and has no evidence of efficacy. Any educator or educational therapist recommending the Davis Method for remediation of dyslexia is behaving unethically.
However, it seems to me that failing to make clear statements about the tenability of erroneous ideas is, in itself, a failure to serve as a provider of useful information. In the the absence of clear evidence that Treatment X is beneficial and presence of substantial evidence that Treatment X is actually harmful, I consider it important to advocate that parents, educators, and clinicians not use Treatment X. Indeed, as an advocate for kids and their families, isn’t it my duty to call “Bologna” when I’m confronted with unsubstantiated and disconfirmed hypotheses?
I don't think the Davis Method is "actively harmful" -- except to the parents' wallet, and the child's time and expectations. But there is another sense in which it is damaging -- the totally unfounded "explanation" of dyslexia gets in the way of a more sophisticated and nuanced view of each dyslexic child's strengths and weaknesses.
Update: I, like Gimpy, believe that the people associated with the Davis Dyslexia Correction Method are motivated by " a genuine desire to help dyslexic people" and that they believe in the validity and efficacy of what they are doing.
But "belief" isn't enough. Data is necessary.
What would get me to change my mind about the Davis Method? A randomized, controlled study, with a sufficiently large number of participants, with pre- and post-treatment reading measures, comparing (a) a known program training phonological processing and decoding skills such as the one used in this study (b) the Davis Method and (c) no interventions, that showed that the Davis Method was superior in improving reading, as measured by the pre- and post-treatment measures.