Last week, when I received the book, Feeling Smarter and Smarter: Discovering the Inner-Ear Origins and Treatment for Dyslexia/LD, ADD/ADHD, and Phobias/Anxiety by Harold N. Levinson, MD, I had no recollection of ever being contacted about this book.
I didn’t know much about LD, ADD, etc., but I had heard about dyslexia as a condition where some people could not see letters properly so I kept the book handy.
As an adult, I had always wondered if one particular boy in our grade school classes was in fact suffering from dyslexia. Our school did not encourage testing for such conditions at the time. Funny, but I still remember this student’s name and I am now quite ashamed of myself and many of our classmates who labeled this boy as “the dumbest person in class.”
So I started reading a few pages of Feeling Smarter and Smarter. Surprisingly, early on, I was hooked. Author Harold N. Levinson, MD uses plenty of big words along the way, but he writes clearly about his subjects and allows the victims and their families to speak as well. He explains that most early assumptions about dyslexics were wrong, but that listening to dyslexics over a long career led to discovering a causation based on disruptions in the inner ear. Anti-motionsickness medications (yes, even Dramamine) typically form a major part of the medication regime that Dr. Levenson finds can help dyslexics. Dr. Levinson also confirms that dyslexia is a more complex condition than had previously been known and can be present along with other conditions as well.
Here is an excerpt of how one mother described her dyslexic child:
“By the start of first grade, John could not remember or recognize the simple word combinations of the “-it” words (i.e. sit, fit, hit, bit, etc.). And he could not tell the difference between the letters “b” and “d”. He reversed “on” for “no” and “saw” for “was”.He did not read endings of words like “ed” or “ing” or “-s”.
After Dr.Levinson’s treatment, the same mother wrote, “By January after only three and a half months on the medications his BRIGANCE test scores went up two to three grade levels. His special education teacher was amazed. We all watched him grow and blossom leaps and bounds. One day John became very excited. “I can see the whole word and page in my head instead of only parts. And I can track the whole word and sentence without losing my place as before.”
Dr. Levinson notes that medications to successfully treat dyslexics must be carefully chosen and tested on each individual, but he says that in his experience some 80% of dyslexics can be helped with medications.
I cannot get into everything in the book. This is a far more complicated subject than I ever imagined. Suffice it to say, for individuals who know of people with dyslexia, this book may be very important. For other “normal” folks who just want to hear a fascinating story of one man’s search to help people with dyslexia, I also recommend the book.
I loved learning from, Feeling Smarter and Smarter, and yes, I read the entire 291 pages. The book also contains an extensive bibliography and index.