It took a while — almost a century — for the assumptions made about dyslexia in 1896 to catch up with Dr. Harold N. Levinson's theory, first espoused in 1973, about what he felt to be the cause of the malady.
"Dyslexia has remained a scientific enigma, defying most attempts at medical understanding, diagnosis, prediction, treatment and prevention," explains Levinson, a world-renowned psychiatrist and neurologist considered a pioneer in this field. "Few, if any experts have fully recognized how deeply this disorder impacts sufferers."
But what experts do agree on is the fact that dyslexia is not a form of retardation, but generally a reading and language disorder in which people see letters and numbers reversed. In fact, people with the condition often have average to above-average IQs. Prominent examples include Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso and George Washington.
But, as Levinson sees it, dyslexia is much more than a reading problem: It's "an inner-ear syndrome," he says, "that can be easily treated with simple and safe combinations of inner-ear improving medications and related nutrients."
Levinson, former clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the New York University Medical Center, is currently director of the Medical Dyslexic and ADD Treatment Center (which is also known as the Levinson Medical Center for Learning Disabilities) in Great Neck, N.Y.
All About the Inner Ear
Through his work with dyslexics and those with learning, concentration and balance/coordination disturbances — research he began when he first worked for the New York City Board of Education — Levinson says that he uncovered the fact that all of his patients appear to have one thing in common: a malfunction within the inner-ear system. He credits his discovery with bringing about a dramatic medical breakthrough in the understanding, diagnosis and successful treatment of dyslexia and its many related signal-scrambling disturbances of the inner-ear and the cerebellum.
His work is described in his book Smart but Feeling Dumb: The Challenging New Research on Dyslexia — and How It May Help You, now in a revised and updated paperback edition.
Complete with case histories and research that led to his medical breakthrough and the medical establishment's recognition of his theories, this book reports how you may be able to get safe, effective, immediate treatment for you or your child.
Detailed in his book are the origins, treatment and inner-relationships of dyslexia; learning disabilities; attention-deficit disorder; and anxiety and phobic disorders, based on the detailed examination and successful medical treatment of more than 35,000 children and adults.
He also says that his work resulted in an unforeseen side benefit: "While treating my reading-disabled patients, many of them confided in me that they had lost their phobias. They were no longer afraid of the dark, of escalators, of heights and much more."
"It seemed that these phobias also seemed to stem from inner-ear disturbances," he continues. "My patients began seeing unexpected improvements in a wide range of phobias, which are, to me, a warning signal from the body telling you you're not well enough or balanced.
"And so," he sums up, "the main message in my book is that there are hundreds of unexplained symptoms with differently named disorders — all of which can be traced to hidden inner-ear problems [that] can be successfully treated — even prevented — by testing early before symptoms even arise."