Activating specialised functions

The adult brain of a human weighs about 1.4 kg (3 pounds), and in relation to the size of our body, is much bigger than what would be expected compared with other creatures. This large size does pose special problems for an effective communication between the two sides of the brain and this is probably the reason why specialised centres for specific processes developed in the human brain.

Activating specialised functions

By processing certain tasks on one side of the brain only, and in a concentrated single region of that brain-half, it is possible to dramatically reduce the distance signals need to travel and thus speed up the processing.

Of particular interest is the processing of language and speech. For the majority of people this is exclusively done in two small areas in the left side of the brain, one for language understanding, the other for speech production. The development of speech and language is unique to humans and sets us apart from all other creatures. It also forms the foundation of our educational system, culture, and social system.

But humans didn't just stop at acquiring language and speech, as they then developed a method of recording their speech, and with it their thoughts. No, I'm not talking about records, tape recorders or MP3 players - they came much later. I'm talking about the written language, writing and reading. This allowed for much more accurate and efficient transfer of knowledge from generation to generation. And even today, despite all new technological advances, the written word continues to form the foundation of our communication and development.

Reading and writing are closely intertwined with hearing and speaking. When we listen to someone speaking a language we understand, than certain specialised parts of the left brain half get activated. The same parts also used when we read or write. It is the same with speech. When we speak, we use certain parts of our left brain, and again these are also involved when we read quietly to ourselves or write.

People diagnosed with Dyslexia often use the less efficient parts of the brain for their reading and writing which leads to either slow reading or many mistakes. The ears are the ideal receptors to use to reach the specialised language centres in the brain. We can also use the ears to keep those parts of the brain that should not be used for reading and writing busy, for instance by sending music to that side of the brain.

Depending on the specific difficulties encountered in reading or writing or the type of Dyslexia, it may also be useful to slow down the speech to make it easier for the person the decipher fast or short sounds. By giving the brain more time to process those sounds, it can learn to understand more and with greater ease. Then, by speeding up the speech step by step, it is possible to train the brain to process faster and faster, until normal speech no longer represents a barrier to understanding.In the next post: Strengthening ear dominance.

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