Dyslexia, Speech and Language

Dyslexia often presents together with ADD/ADHD and other behavioural issues.  With a Kaiser Neuromap, we can assess vulnerabilities, and then train these with Personalised Brain Training.

Dyslexia is an impaired ability to understand written and printed words or phrases and affects 10-20% of the population in both males and females.  The disorder can result in learning difficulties, poor academic performance, stigmatisation and ensuing behavioural issues.  

While often classed as a disability, there are associated strengths:  creativity, the ability to solve complex problems, unorthodox approaches to ideas and projects, and a more detached ability to apply logical thinking are some of these.  Nonetheless, the condition can impair school and social functioning, slow maturation and significantly affect self-confidence and -esteem.

“Picked up a book and started reading! Unheard of before, I could never get her interested in reading for herself.”​  – Mother of Anna (9)

There are multiple types of dyslexia and neurofeedback can help with many aspects

There are neural correlates with dyslexia which we can train with neurofeedback.  

Reading and comprehension involves multiple brain areas as well as their seamless communication.  We have Wernicke’s area for comprehension, and Broca’s for speech generation.  Additionally, there are regions involved in sequencing, visual recognition, focus and attention, and contextualisation or syntax recognition of subject matter along with various memory-related areas. 

It is important to note that there are different types of dyslexia.  A brain map shows us which brain areas are dysrhythmic.  

With neurofeedback, we train brain areas involved in visual and auditory processing; memory; focus and attention; syntax and context; sequencing and organisation.  We also train the connections between these areas.  The approach is holistic:  we work on core networks, and their integration with each other.   

Research on Neurofeedback and Dyslexia

Research has shown that neurofeedback training can improve reading ability and phonolocigal awareness deficit in children with reading disabilities, as well as improvements in spelling.  

For a summary of 18 neuroscientific research studies on language learning impairment produced until 2015, see here

Speech & Language

One in four persons with ASD are non-verbal, and 40% of all children referred to an autism clinic have significant speech delay, regardless of diagnosis.   

Infants begin to understand and produce single words and gestures in the context of playful interaction from 12 months of age; between 18-24 months there is a rapid expansion in vocabulary and knowledge of rules regarding conversational exchange.  Typically developing children will use language for social interaction; this contrasts with ASD children who are more likely to use words to regulate their environment (demands, protest), rather than with communicative intent.  Despite the range of language abilities, articulation skills are generally spared.  There is a strong link between language and social skills in autism.

Speech development has numerous components, all of which have neural correlates, meaning there are brain areas contributing towards language comprehension and generation, which have to mature and work together efficiently.  This means we have a chance to improve speech generation by training the brain, and both research and experience confirm this.  The research below illustrates how we can assist with improving necessary building blocks that contribute to a person’s development of speech and language capabilities. 

Speech and language development are also a function of social reciprocity, both with regard to initiation and reception.  It should therefore not be seen in isolation, and rather as an accompanying component of improving effective synchrony with the social environment.  

Personalised Brain Training takes a holistic approach to improving social integration by way of training various features of cognition and consciousness, including sense of self, joint attention, Theory of Mind, focus, mood regulation, behavioural challenges and communication, both verbal and non-verbal.

PET activation of the brain in different word tasks, showing differential activation of various language and speech networks, which we can train with neurofeedback

Neurofeedback training was shown to improve speech-in-noise perception and auditory discrimination that was applicable post training and long-lasting.  This shows that we can positively affect neural encoding of acoustic inputs in the auditory cortex, a frequent issue with autistic individuals. 

In ADHD children, neurofeedback training improved visual memory, enhanced auditory short-term memory and auditory working memory.  

Biofeedback produced better and more lasting effects than traditional therapy in behavioural dysphonia.  

Neurofeedback was shown to improve the ability to identify emotional prosodic intonations

Phonetic recognition and reading skills have been shown to improve with neurofeedback training, another important component of speech and language acquisition (see “Dyslexia”).  

Personalised Brain Training is a holistic approach; we also train brain areas relating to focus, motivation and sense of self, as well as sequencing and motor skills, all of which contribute to the development of speech.