How We Can Help Dyslexia and Dyslexia

Imagine a classroom setting with a persistent, clamorous atmosphere. For a typically developing learner, this scenario can be an active and dynamic session. However, pupils and students with learning difficulties are constantly torn between a stressful environment and academic performance. How does this happen?

The brain of a child with a learning difficulty exerts tons of effort to process information from their sensory experiences. This is because sensory information is involuntarily received especially in a typical classroom environment, which often has a lot of background noise.  The learning difficulty itself is already an obstacle to face but if coupled with the almost-unwanted information (parasite noises and visual stimuli), you can already imagine the physical, mental, and emotional strain they go through every single day in class. This overwhelming stream of information makes learners with difficulties very frustrated instead of performing well in class.

Neurosensory-Integrative, Educational Program: The Tomatis® Method

The Tomatis® Method is an educational program involving learners listening to filtered music emphasizing both high- and low-frequency sounds. It makes use of advanced headphones specifically designed to transmit sound via air and bone conduction.

In air conduction, sound travels through the outer ear while in bone conduction, sound travels through the skull which is ten times faster. In general, it aims to achieve dramatic functional outcomes in all areas of the brain responsible for sensory processing and executive functioning. How?

The Tomatis® Method actively works on the vestibular system, the inner part of the ear that is responsible for balance, all body movements as well as muscle tone. In fact, it is very complex and important as it is connected to all areas of the brain and body.

In terms of learning, the vestibule is connected to the muscles of the eyes enabling them to move for reading. It also plays a huge role in our sense of localisation (place), accelerations/decelerations of the body and spatial navigation (space and direction) much needed for writing and speaking. Ultimately, it is the key structure for the cerebellum to relay the processed information (i.e. body rhythm) to the whole body.

By working through the ear, the Tomatis® neurosensory program works on harmonising the functioning of each vestibule generating better body control and increasing the coherence of one’s perceptions resulting to the improvement of rhythm, sequencing, and all other learning and executive functioning skills.

So, a child who back then refuses to read because it is too difficult will start to read chapter books after benefiting from the Tomatis® ear-brain training. In this manner, once the brain adapts and learns to understand signs and sounds, the positive results would show on the child’s overall academic performance.

See the changes the Tomatis® Method can bring to you and your child! CLICK HERE to assess your child’s listening-learning skills! Find out more about us using the contact information provided below.

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child covering ears autism sound sensitivity


Is your learner struggling to correctly write down words? Misspell them with a couple of reversed or backward letters? And when they read, do they usually take too much time even with short sentences or hesitate to read them at all? He/she may have dyslexia, a learning difficulty in recognising speech sounds and associating the relationship between the letters (shapes) and words (sounds).

People with dyslexia will see the word “saw” and “cat” but transcribe it as “was” and “tac” or vice-versa. The problem lies on the dysfunctional processing of the information in the brain causing errors on their verbal and written output. When we say “processing”, we mean the perception, analysis, comprehension, interpretation, and all other cognitive processes that happens when the brain receives information.

So basically, they see the words “was” and “cat” as it is, but when copied down or read aloud, their brain has trouble remembering all the sound patterns, the direction of the written shapes in space (spatialisation) and fine coordination linked to these words resulting to incorrect pronunciation and/or spelling.

Issues in these sensory processing centres such Auditory Processing difficulties or the inability for the brain to understand what you hear can already cause much of a negative bandwagon effect on the child’s learning abilities.

For example, if your learner does not understand the instructions, especially when verbally explained, he/she may be unable to successfully finish or even do the activity at all.

Then, this leads to low grades that could cause low self-esteem, lack of motivation, attention issues, disruptive behaviour and poor overall academic performance. With dyslexia, the learner has problems processing both auditory (sound) and visual (sight) information; so, you can already imagine their struggles just to keep up with mainstream teaching and learning.

Then, this leads to low grades that could cause low self-esteem, lack of motivation, attention issues, disruptive behaviour and poor overall academic performance. With dyslexia, the learner has problems processing both auditory (sound) and visual (sight) information; so, you can already imagine their struggles just to keep up with mainstream teaching and learning.

Nevertheless, people with dyslexia can still be highly successful and use their difficulties as their strength. One of the best examples is Richard Branson, an owner of a conglomerate of businesses under the “Virgin” brand name. What’s amazing is that he used dyslexia as an advantage, his greatest business advantage. He had learnt new skills to compensate the cognitive difficulty such as taking down notes, which has come in handy whether in management or even in legal situations.

In an interview, he said:

“If you have a learning disability, you become a very good delegator. Because you know what your weaknesses are and you know what your strengths are, and you make sure that you find great people to step in and deal with your weaknesses.”

Dyslexia is mainly caused by a “phonological processing problem” (Sandman-Hurley, 2013). Phonology is a system of relationships among speech sounds. People with dyslexia do not have problems with seeing the words (visual processing) but with sequencing them in accurate shape and order. One of the underlying causes of this problem is poor auditory processing (Read more about Auditory Processing Disorder). 

Studies also show that dyslexia often runs in families and the difficulties may also vary from one generation to another. For example, a dyslexic family member may have trouble spelling while another family member have severe reading words.

In addition, people with dyslexia have exhibited differences in brain activity due to the delay of the transfer of information from the right brain to the left brain which is responsible for analytical processing. The information tends to delay from the right hemisphere (holistic thought) of the brain going to the left hemisphere that is responsible for analytical processing.

Dyslexia is a continuum, meaning some may have mild signs while others have severe symptoms. The degree of the impacts varies on a case-to-case basis. However, this type of difficulty primarily affects the child’s ability to learn, communicate, and face daily challenges as Paul Madaule defines it as a “dyslexified world” linked to difficulties in processing auditory information.

Yes, dyslexia is a problem with spoken and reading words. However, speech is a complex process that entails memory and even fine motor skills for spelling. All those difficulties can worsen when auditory processing is compromised. Nevertheless, here are some of the most significant impacts of dyslexia on children and adult learners:

• May excel in some areas but poor in other aspects of learning
• Takes time to read words
• Erroneous pronunciations when reading aloud
• Struggles with mental arithmetic and time tables
• Trouble in remembering instructions especially information in sequences
• Problem with letters: they are known to put the numbers in wrong ways (i.e. 21 to 12 or was to saw)
• Poor handwriting
• Poor spelling
• Awkward grip on pen or pencil
• Often appears to have poor concentration and attention span
• Difficulties with time and tense

• Struggles with overall personal organization (i.e. meeting deadlines, quality of work, taking notes, etc.)
• Difficulties reading and understanding new terminologies and jargons
• Forgets key information even when familiar
• Increased anxiety and stress when put in time pressure
• Constantly unsatisfied

These could further lead to:
• Pessimism
• Low self-esteem
• Anxiety
• Isolation
• Depression


If a student does not work or finish his/her writing tasks in class, it is often thought that they are either being lazy or unmotivated. But if your learner is not achieving any progress in written tasks, he/she may have dysgraphia.

Dysgraphia is a learning difficulty in writing. The most recognisable effects of dysgraphia are fine motor issues such as poor spelling, ineligible handwriting, and awkward pencil gripping. However, do remember that writing is a complex process; that is, more than just fine motor skills.

It also demands visual-spatial processing or the ability of the brain to distinguish the dimensions of the letters, numbers, and other written figures from one another. So, for instance, it is difficult for them to differentiate the structure of letter “p” from letter “q”, a circle from a diamond, or number 3 from number 8.

Another command in writing is language processing; meaning, accessing sounds and words. Learners with dysgraphia often complain that they do not know what to write or where to start the writing process. They also have difficulties in retrieving words to express their thoughts.

Moreover, written tasks take so much effort that after they have written something, it is already laborious for them to go back and self-check their work. And even if they do so, they have so many inaccuracies from their visual-spatial output they cannot read back what they have written down.

Learners with dysgraphia put in so much effort that at the end of the day, they become too exhausted to do homework. They are also the ones who are likely to feel frustration and emotional stress from being criticised as sloppy, lazy, or inattentive in class. Also, they fall behind with school work leading not only to poor grades but also anxiety and depression.

Nevertheless, learners with dysgraphia are people with great abilities and skills, often times with superior intelligence too. It is just that this learning difficulty impedes them from accessing their full potential. Hence, it is best to seek active interventions while they are still at a young and crucial stage of development. See below on how the Tomatis® Method can help learners with dysgraphia.

Dyslexia can occur in varying degrees; however, researchers have classified 3 categories of dyslexia according to the pattern of behaviour and difficulty. Some children may have a combination of any two or all three of these and again, may still vary from one case to another.

Dyslexic Dysgraphia
> Motor skills: Normal
> Copied work: Fair
> Handwriting: Illegible
> Spelling: Bad

Motor Dysgraphia
> Motor skills: Deficient
> Dexterity (Agility): Poor
> Muscle Tone: Poor
> Copied work: Poor to Illegible
> Handwriting: Poor to Illegible, Requires extreme effort & longer time
> Endurance: Low

Spatial Dysgraphia
> Understanding of space: Deficient
> Copied work: Illegible
> Spelling: Normal
> Motor Skills: Normal

Dysgraphia is one of the most common learning difficulties around the world. In the educational world, a child or a learner with dysgraphia often has a problem with fine motor skills, that is, having difficulty in coordinating small muscle movements in one’s fingers and other parts of the body.

This child often exhibits problems with:

  1. Writing legibly–copying words clearly, accurately, and appropriately
  2. Holding/ gripping a pen/pencil correctly and comfortably
  3. Tying shoes
  4. Zipping zippers
  5. Doing puzzles and any tasks using the hands
  6. Using scissors
  7. Closing buttons

Writing is a complex interplay of processes. This involves the eyes, the muscles, and the brain to effectively work together. However, for children and adults with dyslexia, this could mean dysfunction in several areas as well of which includes:

  1. Reading and understanding maps
  2. Illustrating the appropriate sizes and proportions of objects
  3. Thinking and recalling key information and details
  4. Using the correct grammar and order of words


If left untreated, all of these can lead to adverse effects such as:

  1. Stress: In mainstream education, the learner with dygraphia would be constantly engaged in stressful situations when it comes to writing activities, art and science projects that involve eye-hand-brain coordination.
  2. Fatigue: Learners with dysgraphia often exerts a huge amount of effort when it comes to writing and other fine-motor skill activities. 90% of the activities in school often demands fine-motor skills of which exhausts the learners to certain degrees.
  3. Obesity: Children with learning difficulties are often found to engage in stress-eating to relieve the exhaustion experienced in school.
  4. Heart problems and other related conditions: Stressors are sometimes good to bring about challenge in the classroom setting. However, constant levels of stress can lead to toxic stress–“prolonged activation of stress response systems in the absence of protective relationships”. This can lead to increased risks for stress-related diseases and cognitive impairment into the adult years.


Math can be difficult for learners of all ages. In fact, it is a subject that a number of students typically complain about. This is why it is often easy to label a learner having Math difficulties as “not sufficiently brainy for Mathematics”.  Especially when you have missed a couple of lessons, Math is somewhat a cumulative subject and unlike history, it can be very difficult to catch up.

On the other hand, dyscalculia is a specific learning difficulty in Math. It can happen to people with good working memory, high intelligence, who regularly go to school and even those with supportive backgrounds; however, they are still unable to do what the rest of the class can like simple arithmetic.

Your learner with dyscalculia may have difficulty in recognising numbers and symbols, visualising and estimating numbers mentally, measuring (i.e. length, weight, etc.), understanding patterns(i.e. 1,3,5,7…), and distinguishing time such as what time they have to eat for lunch.

One interesting study even showed that dyscalculics are very bad at evaluating. For instance, you are presented with six dots; dyscalculics count them one by one while normally, we can estimate them by two’s or by three’s to make it easier and faster.

Dyscalculia impacts people in different ages and at different stages. Similar to dysgraphia and dyslexia, the brain has impaired functioning of the visual-spatial and language processing ; meaning, they have problems identifying the differences of the shape, patterns, fluidity among numerical figures and the language of Math itself. All these difficulties are linked to a dysfunction of the vestibule system.

So what we have to do is to give your learner an active intervention in the functioning of the brain and the body that target this particular weakness and that strengthen the connection between the vestibule system and the brain. Learn more about how the Tomatis® Method can help with Dyscalculia below.

Dyscalculia, like any other learning difficulties, are believed to be associated with the differences of structure and functions of the brain.

• Genetic

• Inherited from one or both parents

• Poor brain development: When the brain lacks surface area, volume or thickness

• Brain injury: A person can acquire dyscalculia once when he/she suffesIt can be genetic or inherited from one or both parents. Lifestyle is also one factor. Alcohol during pregnancy is not advisable, and not heeding this can result to dyscalculia. Poor development and injury plays a significant role in dyscalculia. If the brain lacks surface area, volume, or thicknessIt can also co-exist with other learning difficulties such as dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, Fragile X Syndrome, language disorders, and epilepsy.

People with dyscalculia typically have significant difficulties of any two or more of the following:
• Describing numbers’ meaning: size/ quantity/ magnitude, etc.
• Identifying simple comparisons: Which is bigger 2 or 5?
• Processing quantity is slow and requires effort
• Sight recognition for quantity: a small number of items countable by sight
• Naming numbers with speed and accuracy
• Distinguishing mathematical signs (+, –, x, ÷ and =), rules, concepts, and formulae
• Counting numbers forwards and backwards (w/o making errors)
• Determining size, number, time, direction, distance, location of object
• Overall math performance despite repeated instruction

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