Source: ScienceDaily “Sound Training Rewires Dyslexic Children's Brains For Reading” (November 4, 2007)
(Credit: Image courtesy of Children's Hospital Boston)
Dr. Paula Tallal, of
With the computer program (Fast Forword Language), Gaab found that the brains of children with dyslexia changed after completing exercises. These exercises involved no reading – only listening to sounds, starting with simple, changing noises, like chirps that swooped up or down in pitch. Children were told to indicate for instance, whether the chirp’s pitch went up or down. The sounds were played slowly at first then gradually sped up thereby increasing the difficulty. The exercises were then repeated with increasingly complex sounds: syllables, words, and finally, sentences. After eight weeks of daily sessions, dyslexic children’s brains responded more like typical readers’ when processing fast-changing sounds, and their reading improved. However, it is unclear whether the improvement lasts beyond a few weeks as follow-up tests were not done.
I was very interested to discover that music (with the definition in mind that music is sound) can help literally rewire dyslexic children's brains. I proceeded to do some further research to see whether or not other studies had been done on this topic involving the use of sound training to rewire children’s brains and surprisingly, all I found were links and websites containing this very article with the study done by Dr. Nadine Gaab. I am curious to find out whether or not certified music therapists have tried exploring the use of music with dyslexic children. Since this study was done 3 years ago, my only disappointment was that I was unable to find any information regarding a follow-up on the children who participated. Given that the results were extremely positive and possibly ground-breaking, I am surprised that Dr. Gaab or Dr. Tallal did not do any follow-up tests with the dyslexic children’s brains to see whether the results were long-term or only temporary. As a musician, I am certainly fascinated by the idea that musical training could help improve dyslexic children’s reading. Perhaps if this research area is developed further, music educators could use this as an aid for not only helping children with developmental dyslexia, but also as a tool to help all children learn and/or improve their reading abilities from an early age.