Dyslexia — The Best 20+ Questions and Answers
Questions for discussion with Dr. Harold Levinson about dyslexia
Until his ground-breaking research, these vital questions were never before asked nor were they capable of being scientifically answered.
1. What is dyslexia?
My research with over 35,000 children and adults has shown that dyslexia is not just a severe reading disorder characterized by reversals, as previously thought. Rather, it is a syndrome or related cluster of many and diverse symptoms affecting more than 15+ major areas of functioning, including: reading, writing, spelling, math, memory, speech, sense of direction and time, concentration-distractibility-activity... balance-coordination-rhythm — and especially self-esteem and body-image.
2. How many children and adults suffer from this disorder?
My studies indicate that a staggering >20% of the population suffer from dyslexia-related disorders — making it a priority for proper understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and even prevention!
3. What did you discover dyslexia to be caused by?
My examination of thousands of intelligent dyslexic children and adults has clearly demonstrated that all the varied dysfunctioning symptoms of dyslexia are caused by a simple signal-scrambling impairment. This impairment was shown due to a defect within the inner-ear and its supercomputer, the cerebellum — the lower “fine-tuning” brain of man and the highest brain of most animals. This clinically-based theory was capable of explaining just about 100% of the observations characterizing 100% of all dyslexics studied.
4. How do you explain the varied dyslexic symptoms and intensities?
Dyslexic symptoms arise when normal thinking-brain and related processors fail to adequately recognize or compensate for the inner-ear determined scrambled signals received and transmitted. Using a TV analogy, even a genius will experience significant secondary processing difficulties when watching and listening to drifting and scrambled channels. Thus the pattern and intensity of resulting dyslexic symptoms per patient will depend on the specific inner-ear dysfunction and the ensuing channels drifting, the degree of drift per channel, and the brain’s ability to compensate. In other words, one fine-tuning impairment can radiate to hundreds of normal brain processors — resulting in hundreds of corresponding symptoms.
5. What was wrong with the prior 100-year-old brain damage theory of dyslexia?
Ever since dyslexia was first recognized in 1896, all traditionalist clinicians and researchers erroneously believed that dyslexia was caused by impaired thinking brain processors failing to recognize clearly received normal reading-related signals. However, this traditionally accepted brain damage or processing theory could not explain 99.9% of the observations characterizing 99.9% of dyslexics! And thus it led absolutely nowhere scientifically for over 100 years. Indeed, were the signals clear and multiple thinking brain processors impaired, as mistakenly thought, then all dyslexics would be severely retarded and their prognosis hopeless.
6. How do you diagnose dyslexia?
By recognizing that the fine-tuners within the inner-ear and its supercomputer were impaired in dyslexia, I was able to diagnose and even screen children for this disorder by means of previously utilized 1) neurological and physiological balance/coordination-based measurements, as well as 2) newly designed medically-based inner-ear tests (i.e., 3D Optical and Auditory Scanners) — even before severe or obvious symptoms appeared, and before emotional scarring resulted.
In contrast, dyslexia was previously diagnosed when children fell two or more years behind their peers or potential in reading scores. That’s like waiting for a child to lapse into coma before a diagnosis of diabetes is made, and before treatment is started.
7. How does you medical treatment work?
My research showed that a simple and safe combination of inner-ear-enhancing medications and nutrients similar to that given the astronauts can significantly improve the inner-ear-determined signal-scrambling characterizing all dyslexics. As a result, this medical treatment was proven capable of rapidly and dramatically helping 75–85% of treated dyslexic children and adults. And by also using fine-tuning-enhancing non-medical conditioning therapies such as tinted lenses, sensory-motor integration, etc., all dyslexics could be significantly helped.
8. Does self-esteem improve with medical treatment?
After successfully treating over 35,000 children and adults, I came to recognize that the most debilitating dyslexic symptom was not impaired academics, but self-esteem. In fact, the smarter kids were, the more frustrated they became, and the dumber they felt. And most important, self-esteem rapidly improved following medical treatment — even in older adults with chronic self-image difficulties. By contrast, compliments and psychotherapy alone did very little to improve these devastating negative feelings! In other words, self-esteem did not improve until its underlying inner-ear and cerebellar causation had been medically corrected.
To emphasize the important but often neglected role of self-esteem in dyslexia, as well as its rapid and dramatic improvement following medical treatment, I decided to title one of my books Smart But Feeling Dumb.
9. Are there normal or temporary dyslexic states?
Yes. I can make any non-dyslexic temporarily dyslexic. All I have to do is spin them around long enough until they are dizzy. And then they won’t be able to read, write, spell, remember and concentrate well — just like dyslexics and those with ADD. Their balance-coordination-rhythm will be affected. And while off-balance, they will develop fears of heights and falling as well as fears of crossing busy intersections, and even driving.
In fact, this simple experiment or analogy is all that’s needed to prove my inner-ear/cerebellar-dyslexia concepts — and to disprove the traditionally held higher thinking-brain dyslexia theories.
10. Do the astronauts develop “space dyslexia” at zero gravity?
The French-Russian cosmonauts were reported to read backwards and upside down at zero-gravity — a condition I called “space-dyslexia.” To prevent this temporary condition, they are pretreated with antimotion-sickness medications and conditioning therapies designed to enhance their inner-ear systems — a treatment plan also shown by me to be effective in treating dyslexic children and adults. Needless to say, were dyslexia due to impaired reading and related processors within the thinking brain, then zero gravity could not trigger dyslexic symptoms and inner-ear/cerebellar-improving medical and non-medical therapies would be ineffective.
11. Has your “groundbreaking” dyslexia research now been independently validated?
Yes! After several decades and the support of Nobel prize cerebellar neurophysiologist Sir John Eccles and other outstanding scientists, my cerebellar-dyslexia concepts have finally been independently validated in multiple worldwide studies. As a result, my inner-ear or cerebellar-vestibular/dyslexia research is now lauded as “brilliant,” “highly original” and even “decades ahead of its time.” This delayed acceptance just goes to prove a point made by Nobel physicist Max Plank:
“Science progresses not by convincing the adherents of old theories that they are wrong but by allowing enough time to pass so that a new generation can arise unencumbered by the old errors.”
12. I understand your research has also shown that dyslexia can be acquired after birth?
Yes. Any dysfunctioning that impairs the inner-ear’s fine-tuning ability can either cause or intensify dyslexic symptoms. These conditions include ear and sinus infections, mononucleosis, and Lyme’s disease as well as whiplash, post-concussion and brain injuries. In addition, toxic, metabolic and even endocrinological changes, including pregnancy, menopause, etc., play important but previously overlooked roles in dyslexia. Prior to my studies, dyslexia was thought to occur only before birth — and thus was mistakenly defined as a developmental disorder.
13. Is it true that Dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, and even Phobias are all caused by inner-ear dysfunction?
Absolutely! That’s why attention deficit and phobic symptoms very frequently overlap with the typical reading and related dyslexic symptoms per patient. This diverse symptomatic-mix or overlap occurs most of the time because dyslexic-attention-phobic symptoms all stem from one and the same inner-ear/cerebellar origin, rather than from separately caused impairments.
14. Are there other separately named disorders, in addition to the above, that are merely symptoms of dyslexia?
Yes. In fact, each and every non-reading symptom characterizing the dyslexic syndrome was mistakenly considered to have a separate non-dyslexic origin. Thus, for example, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, dysphasia, dyspraxia, to name a few, refer to the corresponding writing, math, speech and balance-coordination-rhythmic symptoms characterizing dyslexics.
15. Is social awkwardness or Aspergers part of the dyslexia syndrome?
In Smart But Feeling Dumb I devoted an entire chapter clarifying the inner-ear origin and treatment of typical dyslexics with problems in “reading” scrambled emotional and social signals. Traditionally, social dyslexics are considered to suffer from Asperger’s Syndrome of autistic origin.
16. Is it true that dyslexia can be mixed-in with more severe major disorders such as mental retardation, cerebral palsy, autism, etc..?
Yes! Prior to my research, dyslexia was thought to be a “pure reading disorder” of “developmental origin” existing in otherwise perfectly normal children and adults. Clearly, this definition of dyslexia is wrong!
My research has shown that dyslexia is caused by inner-ear/cerebellar dysfunctioning which often complicates other distinct major processing disturbances such as mental retardation, cerebral palsy, autism, brain injury, epilepsy, etc. This insight led me to successfully treat the dyslexic or signal-scrambling components that remain hidden by the above-mentioned major processing impairments. Significant overall functional improvements then occurred in these so-called "mixed" major processing and minor signal-scrambling disorders.
17. Were there any prior dyslexia concepts that were proven valid by your research?
Sad to say, not really. In retrospect, the reason is obvious. Because dyslexia was mistakenly believed due to impaired reading processors within the thinking brain when first recognized in 1896, the resulting reading disorder was thought to occur only in a severe form and have a poor prognosis. In other words, the disorder called dyslexia was erroneously equated with only the severest degree of only one of its many and diverse symptoms.
From this mistaken conviction flowed an amazing amount of dyslexia-related fantasy — often “proved” in sophisticated but flawed scientific studies. Thus, for example, I demonstrated that the incidence of dyslexia is not higher in males and left or mixed handedness, as previously thought. Nor is dyslexia just a severe reading comprehension disorder. Rather, it's a syndrome of hundreds of reading and non-reading symptoms varying in intensity from severe to over-compensated, and even gifted.
18. What about all the other theories of dyslexia?
My cerebellar theory of dyslexia was continually modified and updated over decades to encompass and explain all the data derived from the detailed examinations and successful treatment of many thousands of dyslexic children and adults. As a result, it also proved capable of explaining and/or encompassing all other theories and gathered observations and findings. By contrast, most other theories are significantly limited in their explanatory, encompassing and predictive capability.
19. Specifically, what do all other dyslexia theories explain
Since most all other dyslexia researchers believe this disorder is a reading impairment due to a primary processing defect within the thinking brain or cerebral cortex, their dyslexia theories merely attempt to explain the assumed severe reading comprehension difficulty.
They mistakenly assume dyslexia is analogous to the severe reading comprehension impairment resulting when adults completely lose their prior ability to recognize and understand reading content. This acquired condition is called ALEXIA. And it's due to a proven defect within the thinking brain or cerebral cortex. Thus these varied theories attempt to explain the presence of only a severe reading comprehension impairment.
20. What do these other theories not encompass or explain?
The other theories do not explain 99.9% of the facts characterizing 99.9% of dyslexics! They do not explain the complete absence of cerebral cortical neurological signs in dyslexia vs. alexia nor the invariable presence of cerebellar-vestibular (CV) signs, symptoms and a favorable reading outcome in dyslexia vs. alexia. Nor do they explain the more frequent presence of moderate, mild and even compensated gifted reading capabilities in otherwise typical dyslexics.
These theories also do not explain the hundreds of CV-determined reading and non-reading symptoms and mechanisms in dyslexia. Thus, for example, the reading disorder in dyslexia was found by me to contain the following overlapping determinants:
- directional/orientation mechanisms explaining letter and word reversals,
- fixation and sequential tracking mechanisms explaining losing ones place, word blurring, doubling and movement,
- memory instability,
- delayed visual and phonetic processing,
- light sensitivity,
- impaired timing, coordination and integration of visual and phonetic sequences,
- ocular perseveration — difficultly unlocking fixated letters so as to proceed on to target the next one,
- tunnel vision — inability to visualize more than one letter at a time,
- impaired concentration and/or distractibility during the reading process, etc.
As a result of the above dysfunctioning mechanisms and reading symptoms, comprehension is secondarily vs. primarily impaired.
Also, the other theories do not even attempt to explain the many other non-reading writing, spelling, math, memory, directional or spatial, timing, concentration, balance, coordination, mood and anxiety... symptoms and their many determining mechanisms — all of which comprise the dyslexic disorder or syndrome.
21. Specifically, what does your CV theory of dyslexia explain?
As noted, my CV theory of dyslexia explains 99.9% of all the known data found characterizing 99.9% of reported dyslexics. And it is now fully capable of encompassing and/or explaining all other theories proposed to date.
22. What is the value of your CV theory vs. The others
The value of any theory rests entirely on its explanatory, encompassing and predictive capabilities as well as its ability to open new horizons never before known. My theory has met all the above criteria, and led to new methods of medical diagnosis, screening, treatment and even prevention.
By contrast, all the other theories combined have had very little success in satisfying the above criteria.