Steven Spielberg says movies saved him from the stress and shame of dyslexia. Henry Winkler (The Fonz) became master of the ad lib, since he couldn't make sense of the "Happy Days" scripts. Toby Cosgrove became a cardiac surgeon and is now CEO of Dr. Mike's Cleveland Clinic. These are just three of the more than 50 million North Americans who have dyslexia.
Simply put, dyslexia is the inability to connect letters with sounds and put those sounds in the right order. Reading depends on accurate, consistent sound processing and ordering, even if, while you're reading, those sounds are heard only in your brain.
This new understanding means some kids can ease their reading woes with auditory therapy. The therapy involves listening to sounds, syllables, words and sentences (no reading), then trying to identify differences in pitch and accurately ID the meaning of a word or phrase by choosing a picture that represents it. This can rewire the brain so that sound is processed more accurately.
Early indications of dyslexia include: difficulty repeating a list of numbers or words, an inability to rhyme words or to enjoy hearing rhymes, confusing up/down and over/under, or misstating colors' names (saying "blue" for "green"). If you suspect your child has processing problems, get a diagnosis and begin auditory therapy BEFORE he or she starts trying to read.
Mehmet Oz, M.D., is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D., is chief medical officer at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute. To live your healthiest, visit sharecare.com. Distributed by King Features Syndicate.