Frequently Asked Questions
1. What causes dyslexia?
Some children are born with anatomical flaws in some areas of the brain. This alters the way the brain is inclined to function, depending on the type of flaws and where they occur. This is the 'nature' factor of what causes dyslexia.
How the brain ultimately develops is also influenced by personality, aptitudes, environment, tuition given and exposure to literacy. These are the 'nurture' factors that cause dyslexia.
The combination of all these factors can produce a resistance to learning how to read. This resistance can vary in severity, according to which combinations of factors are involved, and how severe they are individually and in combination.
When that resistance prevents a subject from reading fluently with good comprehension, despite the type and amount of tuition given, then this can be described as dyslexia.
2. What are the dyslexia symptoms?
Finding lists of dyslexia symptoms is not difficult. One such list is available on this Website under 'registration'.
Nominating which combination of symptoms indicates dyslexia is difficult. This is mainly due to different definitions of dyslexia, resulting from different assumptions as to what causes dyslexia.
Given that reading is converting a fast-moving string of visual symbols into speech, it is not unreasonable to assume that the causes must involve the visual and speech. Brain imaging and a combination of different academic disciplines shows this to be the case.
3. What is different about the Cellfield dyslexia program and other programs?
Centuries of belief that all humans are 'hard wired' has solidified widespread beliefs in to believing that overcoming dyslexia is not possible. This has resulted in a mainstream approach of compensating or circumventing dyslexia, instead of overcoming dyslexia.
Brain plasticity research has shown that our brains are not 'hardwired'. Brain imaging research has shown consistent differences in how dyslexic brains are wired compared to normal readers.
The Cellfield dyslexia treatment program has been designed with the objective of overcoming dyslexia, instead of compensating or circumventing it.
4. How can the Cellfield program help you overcome dyslexia?
All children learning to read need to reach the 'phonological' milestone. At first, this means being able to perceive printed words as consisting of 'sound blocks', each of which corresponds to a 'visual' block.
This then means acquiring decoding skills and a working sight vocabulary, which the child can visualize and retrieve rapidly at will.
Some children do not 'hear' words properly, even when they have adequate hearing acuity. This is because their neural auditory processing is too 'slow' and 'inaccurate'. A child's auditory processing may be fast enough for 'one-word-at-a-time' reading, but it may not be fast enough for reading fluently with
A child with an auditory processing problem is also likely to have a corresponding visual processing problem of 'slowness' and 'inaccuracy', even when they have adequate visual acuity. Their visual processing speed may be fast enough for reading at 'one-word-at-a-time', but it may not be fast enough for reading fluently with good comprehension.
Cellfield has been designed to employ brain plasticity and educational research methods to achieve the phonological milestone and to make the transition to reading fluency with good comprehension.
5. How do you know that this works?
A peer-reviewed study, published in the Australian Journal of Learning Disabilities 2005, showed that Cellfield achieved key skill learning rates up to 40 times faster than a normal child. This is unprecedented.
A 2009 Cellfield study by Professor Coltheart from Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science, supported the position that Cellfield outcome gains, (such as above), were not augmented by test/retest effects, (given the two week time interval between the before and after assessments), or by regressions towards the mean, (a statistical tendency for very low scores to improve the second time without any intervention). Coltheart's closing comments: "There is clear statistical evidence that the Cellfield treatment improved these children's ability to read".
A small 2009 Cellfield study performed at the University of Tasmania, recorded neural activity during reading, using Event Related Potentials (ERP) methods. Twelve children were chosen who were assessed to be comparable. All screened as being dyslexic, according to the Dyslexia Screening Test (DST) by Fawcett and Nicholson. The ERPs showed that all children started without the left hemisphere activity of normal children when reading.
Seven children performed the Cellfield dyslexia treatment and five in the placebo group played a computer game. Both groups then had three weeks of normal tuition. The Cellfield group showed a 33% drop in their DST dyslexic risk index compared to the placebo group which dropped by only 10%.
ERP results indicated neural changes only within the Cellfield group, which shifted activity from the right hemisphere to the left hemisphere "suggesting, at least neurally, a partial return to language processing which more closely resembles that of normal readers".
Cellfield Licensees in seven countries are experienced and tertiary qualified practitioners, some who have been using Cellfield for more than six years. Their assessment procedure is comparable to all of the Cellfield studies and in many cases even more comprehensive. All of their outcomes are consistent with those as above.
6. Who can benefit from the Cellfield dyslexia treatment program?
Children 8 years and above:
- Whose reading age appears to have reached a plateau and falls further and further behind their chronological age with each passing year.
- Who are screened as having symptoms of dyslexia.
- Who are assessed as having language disorders.
- Who have difficulty in repeating orally given instructions.
- Who have poor reading, spelling and writing skills.
- Who have adequate phonological skills but not the required reading fluency, accuracy and comprehension.
- Who read at an age appropriate rate but cannot recall what they read.
- Whose reading is normal but feel discomfort or suffer from fatigue.
- Who have poor working memory.
- Who feel uncomfortable looking at black letters on white paper.
- Who have eye movement control problems.
7. Are there other improvements?
Years of experience after Cellfield's published study as above, have shown the dyslexia treatment program to be effective for a broader range of subjects than what is indicated in Cellfield's peer reviewed and published study in 2005, (see this study under the 'Supporting Material' tag).
Sub-groups of children with Specific Language Impairments have also achieved improved literacy skills. A few children with Asperger's Syndrome all made core skills gains comparable to normal poor readers. An autistic child with ADHD, well known by his Speech Language Therapist since he was three, completed the Cellfield program at age 8 years and 6 months. His core skill gains by Cellfield standards were moderate, except for comprehension which improved by a year and reading rate improved by four years - in just a few weeks.
There are other improvements, observed by qualified and experienced practitioners. The autistic child as above, sat down for his first session, with severe attention difficulties, two years behind in his core skill scores, in a state of frustration, with low endurance, fatigue issues, with ingrained avoidance strategies and in a stressed state. Apart from the fact that he became more willing to read with less frustration, his Cellfield gains give him a powerful tool with which to make progress with his receptive language deficits.
Also observed in the children with Asperger's Syndrome who made good Cellfield gains, was a better focus at school and with homework, and greater motivation and being better organized to complete tasks, with improved confidence and self-esteem.
8. How much time does the Cellfield dyslexia program take?
The Cellfield dyslexia program consists of ten one - hour sessions over two weeks, and ten one - hour sessions over ten weeks. The first two - week phase targets neural redevelopment, the second ten-week phase targets consolidation and transition to reading fluency.
9. Is it possible to repeat the Cellfield program?
In cases where the Cellfield dyslexia program pre-assessment has indicated very severe reading disabilities, like dyslexia, Cellfield has recommended to parents that they may need to repeat Cellfield at a higher level, 6 to 12 months later. This has proved to be an effective strategy. In one case, parents so impressed by Cellfield gains, opted to put their daughter through the Cellfield dyslexia program three times in one year, starting with Cellfield's lowest level, progressing to the middle level, then ending up at the highest. The daughter made substantial gains each time, with the biggest achieved on the last.
10. Who is not suitable for the Cellfield program?
The Cellfield treatment requires that a subject to concentrate and apply 'sufficient' cognitive effort during the treatment sessions. It is not unusual to have subjects who are poor in these respects. Skilful and persistent attention by Cellfield practitioners have succeeded in most very difficult cases.
But there are extreme cases where subjects just cannot apply that cognitive effort or attention, either through injury, impaired vision, hearing or motor functions, or severe psychological problems. These subjects are less likely to derive benefit from the Cellfield dyslexia program.
Subjects also need to have some basic knowledge and skills, such as have reasonable letter/sound correspondence skills in place. If this is not the case, then subjects should undertake some conventional tuition before undertaking Cellfield.
Those with epileptic tendencies require written medical clearance before undergo the Cellfield treatment.