dyslexia & Music
There has been a lot of discussions over the years as to whether music helps students with dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties. There have been several research papers which appears to support this theory, However, no sooner does a research paper appear to support this theory, we see another one that appears to challenge it. As with other things, I leave this to the reader to make their own mind up.
You will find some details of research below and others will be added shortly.
Music training’s effect on cognition
A study of under-privileged 3- to 5-year-olds from Head Start preschools found significant cognitive improvements after “musical intervention.” Children who received music training had improvements in non-verbal IQ, numeracy and spatial cognition compared to their own pre-intervention test scores. Further information, can be obtained by clicking here.
PLAYING Mozart to children with developmental disorders can dramatically improve their language ability, according to a leading speech and language therapist.
Karen O’Connor, who trained in the LiFT music therapy programme in Canada and runs clinics in Dublin and Galway, said she hoped the therapy would become available publicly in Ireland through the health and education systems: “It has been scientifically proven that certain music, in particular Mozart, has a special effect on opening up the neuropathways – which are like highways to the part of the brain which allow us to attend, listen, absorb and express yourself.”
The programme is used to treat children and adults with disorders such as ADHD, Asperger’s syndrome, dyspraxia and autism. O’Connor said one month’s treatment can accelerate language development by up to three years. “The neuroplasticity of the brain is increased, allowing us to take in more information and express ourselves confidently,” she said.
There are not many books on music and dyslexia about, but here are a few I have found:
Music and Dyslexia: A Positive Approach
by Tim Miles, John Westcombe, and Diana Ditchfield (Paperback – 29 Feb 2008)
Music and Dyslexia: Opening New Doors (Dyslexia Series (Whurr)
by Tim Miles and John Westcombe (Paperback – 26 Mar 2001)
Instrumental Music for Dyslexics: A Teaching Handbook (Dyslexia Series (Whurr)
by Sheila Oglethorpe (Paperback – 15 Jan 2002)
The British Dyslexia Association (BDA) has an excellent music section. To find out more go to: