ESFC Part 4

Dr. Conway: One quick fact check – I’d also like to try to dispel some myths in a talk like this – what causes dyslexia? Why do people have dyslexia? What causes your hair color? What causes your eye color? Guess what causes dyslexia? Genetics. Solid data says its highly genetic – runs in families. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have reading problems that are not due to genetics but those are not dyslexia. That’s an environmentally-induced learning problem.

Dr. Conway: If you’re the child of migrant farm workers and your family moved from school to school to school, and you never get regular education, guess what’s likely to happen to your reading skills? They’re probably not going to be as well developed. But all the research coming out now says language-based learning problems are highly genetic, it’s not a guarantee, it’s a predisposition. They’re more likely to have trouble because there’s family history.

Dr. Conway: The stats right now say if one parent has trouble, the child is eight times more likely to have trouble too. If both parents have some family history, which sometimes it might be hard to do, because most kids, their parents or grandparents – No one was diagnosing dyslexia or learning problems back in their day.

Dr. Conway: They’re the ones who,today, as adults, guess how you can tell that they probably had weaker language skills? What activity do they do that you actually see that can put in front of you that tells you how well their language skills are developed? How many adults read out loud to each other? A lot or a few?

Dr. Conway: Very few. Very few adults actually read to each other, so you’re not going to be able to tell by the adults reading because you usually don’t read aloud to each other as adults. But what do you do that people can see ? It’s not reading, it’s writing, spelling. So most adults who have lingering learning difficulties, you’ll see it more in their spelling because they can’t hide it, they actually have to show it to you. They actually have to spell for you – there’s an ‘a-ha’ moment.

Dr. Conway: But you also may perceive it in their speech – what if an adult says to you: “Let me make myself pacifically clear” – what’s the problem with that? Or they say – “ I’m so flustrated with this university..”And as a child, the parents will say ‘honey, the word is frustrated. And the child will say “I’m saying /flustrated/, mom.” And the mom says “No, no, honey – ,/fru/ /ru/,/ ru/, /frustrated/.”And the child says ‘/Flustrated/, mom! You’re making me /flustrated/!”

Dr. Conway: Why is the child struggling to actually match what the parent is saying? What does that tell you about their language processing system – is it strong, is it weak? It’s a weak system – They’re not perceiving all the sounds that are being produced by the parent. That puts us at risk for having other language problems Because, which system came first – spoken or written? Spoken language develops first. So if you have trouble perceiving words of others, you’re at a higher risk for having trouble and other language problems.