This week, I’ve been focusing on planning out and creating medical illustrations of learning differences. I began researching a variety of learning disabilities such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia as well as ADHD and processing disorders. I have decided to first focus primarily on dyslexia, and I’ve learned a lot about what dyslexia really means on a neurobiological level and researched how the brain is involved in reading.
Here is some of what I have learned so far:
Defining the specific roots of dyslexia is very complex because it involves so many different neural networks and unique variations between individuals. However, Dyslexia does involve certain intrinsic biological characteristics. A few consistent characteristics of a dyslexic brain include increased myelination in the left perisylvian cortex, which includes Broca’s and Wernicke’s area, as well as hypo-activation in the occipitotemporal region in the left hemisphere. The left hemisphere has primary control over language, so it is most affected in individuals with dyslexia. The occipitotemporal region is responsible for recognizing letters and spelling. Wernike’s area (temporoparietal region) is responsible for phonological processing of written and spoken language (retrieving and translating sounds into words). Then, Broca’s area is responsible for language comprehension. All of these parts of the brain are connected in a language and reading network that is impaired in those with Dyslexia. However, this network can become stronger in many dyslexic individuals over time with intervention, practice, and resilience, which can boost hyper-activation (neural connectivity and activity) of these regions. Additionally, because of the brain’s neuroplasticity, it can actually build stronger connections in other areas of the brain to compensate for weaknesses in reading. Because of this, individuals with dyslexia often have very strong 3D visualization, pattern recognition, creativity, intuition, and problem-solving abilities.
Below is my initial brainstorming for my illustrations of Dyslexia as well as an illustration I did recently about learning in the brain. Thank you for reading!