"If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

This is the first sentence from the introduction of the Winter 2011 edition of Perspectives on Language, an official publication of the International Dyslexia Association. It features practical articles for educators and other professionals dedicated to the identification and intervention of dyslexia and other reading problems.

The quote is particularly fitting for the edition's theme of reviewing controversial therapies for dyslexia such as Fast ForWord®, visual therapies, and motor therapies. Although four years old, we find it still is relevant and think you may find it valuable as well.

Perspectives on Language and Literacy

As Bruce F. Pennington, the theme's editor, mentions in his introduction, "The goal of this issue is to illustrate how to evaluate treatments for students with dyslexia. We do this by reviewing treatments for dyslexia that have many advocates (and clients), but have not been proven scientifically to be effective." He goes on to say that "Parents, educators, and health-care professionals need to be especially vigilant in applying only empirically-supported best practices...It is important for educators and health-care professionals who work with children with dyslexia to understand how treatments are evaluated and to insist on the use of ESTs in their schools and practices."

Below are the articles included in Perspectives on Language, with links to the online editions of the articles themselves.

  • Theme Editor's Introduction by Bruce F. Pennington
    If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
    As consumers and investors, most of us are skeptical and careful. We spend time systematically evaluating our options before spending hard-earned dollars on a car, TV, or mutual fund. So, we fully appreciate the meaning of the old Latin saying "Caveat emptor–Let the buyer beware." Continue reading...
  • Evaluation of Fast ForWord® Language Effects on Language and Reading by Richard K. Olson
    Fast ForWord® Language (FFWL) (Scientific Learning Corporation, 1998) is a computer program that is unique among controversial interventions for reading disabilities. Developed by two highly respected scientists, Paula Tallal and Michael Merzenich, the program became widely known in the late 1990s following the publication in the prestigious journal Science of two small intervention studies for children with language disabilities that employed a prototype of the FFWL program (Merzenich et al., 1996; Tallal et al., 1996). Continue reading...
  • Vision Efficiency Interventions and Reading Disability by Jack M. Fletcher and Debra Currie
    When a person reads print, there is an obvious component that involves vision. Reading visually presented material requires adequate acuity, meaning that the letters and words stand out crisply and clearly because the eyes are well focused and accommodate accurately on the materials of interest. Continue reading...
  • Physical Exercise and Movement-Based Interventions for Dyslexia by Carolyn A. Denton
    Because of the extreme difficulty some children have with learning to read, educators and parents have sought alternative approaches to support this process. For several decades, various groups have proposed that programs of repeated movements or physical exercises would "normalize" the brain functioning of persons with dyslexia, enabling them to learn to read more easily. Continue reading...
  • Global Perspectives by Matthew Bickerton
    When I started advising companies on Internet marketing in the 1990s, everything was new. Even today, we refer to "new media." However, for many, the Internet is now an ordinary and intrinsic part of their lives, especially with utilities such as Facebook and Twitter. For them it's not really "new media"; instead, it is becoming the only media they ever use. Continue reading...

For further information regarding controversial therapies, visit The American Academy of Pediatrics.


Are you familiar with any of these treatments? Have they been used in your child's therapy sessions? Or do you have experience using these methods with your clients with dyslexia? We welcome you to share your thoughts with us!