Wiring the Brain to Read

There are 20 million children in the United States who struggle with learning and reading. That number does not reflect the number of individuals who are not yet in school or those who have already graduated or left school. Individuals who struggle with academic demands are not able to reach their full potential which ultimately decides their future such as what kind of jobs they will have, who their friends will be, and what kind of contributions they will make to society. Shockingly almost 90 percent of all juvenile delinquent and adult criminals have language learning disabilities.

Language disordered children often exhibit learning deficits such as expressive and receptive language skills, auditory processing skills and memory skills. For the brain to work normally, it must be wired in a specific way. Beginning at the 20 th to 27 th week of pregnancy, the brain is able to detect different sounds and starts to respond to them. This begins the “critical period” of time when the neurons in the brain begin mapping the sounds of speech. This “critical period” generally lasts until the child is 9 to 12 months of age. It is after the speech sounds are acquired that the learning of language skills begins. When something interferes with the acquisition of speech sounds it distorts and disorganizes the brain, which ultimately can shorten the “critical period.” This significantly reduces the brain's ability to classify, sort, distinguish and focus on auditory information which are all skills necessary to learning language which includes reading.

Because of the plasticity of the brain, it can change with experience. It is through frequency and intensity that the brain can be rewired to create effective cognitive skills required for language skills necessary for learning.