Dyslexia problems can be treated by computer program

The dissertation by Minna Törmänen, M.Ed., shows that a computer program which improves the combining of auditory and visual information provides effective help for learners with dyslexia and attention disorders.

Computer Class

In Törmänen’s study, learners suffering from dyslexia, attention and language development disorders were rehabilitated by means of the Audilex computer program.

Based on the results of the study, an assumption can be made that on the background of dyslexia, there are disruptions in the observation which is required for combining auditory and visual sensory information. The Audilex program, developed by Kai Karma, Professor of Music Education at the Sibelius Academy, includes exercises related to combining said sensory information.

Audilex rehabilitation was useful for all groups suffering from learning difficulties. The positive results were unaffected by the language environment, or the gender or age of the learners.

- It is noteworthy that the rehabilitation was also useful for upper secondary school students. Usually, learning difficulties are hard to shake off and particularly at a later stage, they cause many secondary problems, such as low self esteem, underachieving and emotional issues, says Törmänen.

The rehabilitation period also seemed to improve the learners’ overall attentiveness and concentration.

- All in all, you could say that the intelligence of the learners increased. They were also capable of applying the learned things to other school tasks, which improved their motivation to go to school. Of course, the observations require additional studies, which are already being planned. Hopefully, methods of cerebral research could also be included, says Törmänen.

Practical and art subjects help those with learning difficulties

The exercises of the Audilex program are not based on language, but on auditory structuring, that is, the skill to observe the relations between sounds and the structures sounds constitute. In a way, it deals with musicality.

Reinforcing musicality and visuality could also be otherwise helpful at school.

- Learners with issues in auditory structuring will most probably benefit from the practical and art subjects taught at school. In these subjects, pupils with learning difficulties may also find strong areas which improve their motivation,” says Törmänen.

On 23 June 2010 at the Helsinki University Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, Minna Törmänen defended her dissertation in the field of special needs pedagogy, Auditory-Visual Matching in Learning Disabilities - Intervention Studies from Finland and Sweden.

Text: Meri Siippainen
Photo: Michael Surran / Flickr
Translation: AAC Global

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