Sally Shaywitz, M.D. is a neuroscientist, a professor of pediatrics at Yale, and codirector of the Yale Center for the Study of Learning & Attention
Sally Shaywitz' Brief Bio:
- Dr. Shaywitz is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and is Professor of Pediatrics at Yale University of Medicine
- She was a member of the National Reading Panel, mandated by Congress to determine the most effective reading programs. She has written for Scientific American and the New York Times Magazine and lectures throughout the county.
- Dr. Shaywitz, along with her husband Bennett, has focused her distinguished medical and scientific career on children and learning disabilities, particularly dyslexia. She is founding Director of Learning Disorders Unit at Yale and co-director of the world's premier laboratory committed to researching the neurophysiology of learning disabilities, the National Institute of Health and Human Development - Yale Center for the Study of Learning and Attention.
- Together, the Shaywitzes conducted the noted Connecticut Longitudinal Study, an extensive and comprehensive twenty-year study of the process of learning to read as experienced by more than 400 subjects from kindergarten into adulthood.
- Over the last decade, the Shaywitzes have made extensive use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) programs in their research with children and young adults. This technology has enabled researchers to actually watch as the brain reads. These studies have provided indisputable proof that, as visible words are processed, the brain patterns of the dyslexic reader are markedly different than those of the good reader. The Shaywitz research has further confirmed that these patterns are present from the very beginning of the reading process in a child's brain.
- The discovery of these discrepant brain pattterns, and of specific neural locations for sounding out words, has been a breakthrough in both the diagnosis and the remediation of dyslexia. This research has pinpointed the "encapsulated weakness surrounded by a sea of strength", as Dr. Shaywtiz describes the phonological weakness that is at the heart of the dyslexic's struggle to read.
- Additional fMRI-based research led by the Shaywitzes has studied the brains of dyslexic children before and after the interventions provided through effective reading programs. The Shaywitz studies have confirmed scientifically what excellent reading methods have demonstrated empirically for years: It is possible with effective and early intervention to effect brain repair. That is, dyslexics with appropriate educational intervention can become accurate and fluent readers.