Prof John Stein is a research neurologist at Oxford University who set up the Dyslexia Research Trust (DRT) in 1995 with Sue Fowler. Patrons include his brother, Rick Stein – the TV Chef, and Colin Dexter – the creator of Inspector Morse.
Professor Stein’s main passion is research to help people with dyslexia overcome their problems. He has developed the ‘magnocellular’ theory of dyslexia. The movements of the eyes during reading are mainly controlled by this component of the visual system in the brain. Its development seems to be impaired in many dyslexic children and that is why they complain that letters seem to move around, so they can’t see what order they’re meant to be in.
An example:- Take the word ‘DOG’. If, out of your control, your eyes move from looking at the D to the G, then you may see the G in front of the D and read ‘GOD’ instead. Professor Stein believes that is why so many children make these kinds of reading errors, although not all people with dyslexia will have this problem.
As part of a research controlled trial, one half of a group of children were given a placebo and the other half were given yellow filters to use. At the end of the trial the results indicated that the children with the yellow filters increased their reading age by 4 months.
Professor Stein found that either yellow or blue filters work best in different children. He said that most children with visual problems are better with one or the other, although a few do well with either. According to Professor Stein there is no strong evidence out there to suggest that a lot of different coloured filters are necessary.
Professor Stein’s work also includes running clinics to use his research to help people with dyslexia. The clinics have helped thousands of people as well as helping to fund further research. Thanks must go to Oxford University for its contribution. For more information about the Dyslexia Research Trust visit: www.dyslexic.org.uk