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The scientific look behind learning difficulties

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The History and Development of BlickLabor

In 1991 Prof. Dr. B. Fischer started examining saccade control in dyslexic children and teenagers to find out whether they had difficulties in performing saccadic eye movements and if this would explain their at least part of their reading difficulties. In learning to read the eyes must be able to focus letter-by-letter, word-by-word, and line-by-line. Prof. Dr. B. Fischer discovered that up to 80% (depending on age) of dyslexic children had dysfunctions in visual and/or auditory processing and /or optomotor control.

After six years of research a standardised test procedure was developed to identify problems in visual processing and saccade control. In 1997 BlickLabor was founded for the purpose of making these diagnostic examinations available to the public. Initially, BlickLabor was established as a non-profit consulting organisation of the University of Freiburg.

Gradually BlickLabor broadened its research into dyslexia to include other groups who exhibited reading and writing difficulties, such as slow learners, children with learning problems and ADHD and children with dyscalculia. The research into fundamental visual skills was supplemented by research into fundamental auditory functions. Aural tests were developed to assess children’s ability to discriminate volume and pitch, or to detect a gap in a stimulus, or the judge the temporal order or side order of two different tones. These abilities are indispensable for the acquisition of spoken and written language. The tests were standardised and norms were established for different age groups.

One important early definition of dyslexia, derived from the Wechsler Test, also diagnosed number difficulties such as sequencing and patterning. Nowadays, problems with number operation may be treated separately as "dyscalculia" but often arithmetic difficulties are still included under the umbrella of "dyslexia". A test for visual subitizing was introduced to identify difficulties in processing simple number operations. Visual subitizing is the capacity to recognise of a certain number of items in one gaze.

For each diagnostic auditory, visual and optomotor test BlickLabor developed and evaluated a corresponding training programme to rectify weaknesses diagnosed before.

BlickLabor Today

BlickLabor offers testing, diagnosis and training for people who have difficulties with reading, writing and/or arithmetic. While reading, writing and arithmetic problems often become apparent at school the assessment and training is not limited to children and adolescents but is open to people of all ages. The assessment and training has benefits not only for dyslexics but also slow learners and those with learning problems and ADHD (more).

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