I once had a well-meaning person ask me to take a color laser printer off her hands. “You need this,” she said. “for when you need to print things in different colors for the kids with dyslexia, right?”
It’s unclear where this person got the sense that printing text in another color would “fix it” for a dyslexic student, and that’s not even the most outlandish idea out there. Indeed, there’s a lot of weird “magic bullet” stuff out there in education, and it’s usually only a matter of time before it’s debunked. For instance, there’s a great New Yorker article out this week about how “brain games” are bunk and that brain training isn’t a meaningful cognitive activity. I’ve twice asked the intrepid staff of the Gutman Library at the Harvard Graduate School of Education to help me locate research that reports that some of these things actually work. For interventions from brain games to colored overlays for text, the answer was the same: there is not scholarly research to back up these strategies.
With all that in mind, I liked the way that the author of this blog post laid out questions that parents and students should ask about new LD therapies they encounter. It’s critical to find out exactly what the strategy is setting out to do to help and how it’s going to go about that. Otherwise, remember: if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is just that.