A Review of Lexicon: Sound and Vision Give Expression to Dyslexia

by Rich on January 16, 2013 · 0 comments

Today, an article was published about the use of Lexicon, a new idea inspired by a 12 year old boy that wrote a poem about his struggle with dyslexia. What exactly is Lexicon? While it’s a term that is commonly associated with ancient manuscripts and how to decipher them, this is referring to the sound associated with the sound of a dyslexic child reading a poem he wrote many years ago.

In fact, it wasn’t just Tom Barbor-Might that read his own poem, but it was the daughter of Professor Andrew Lewis from Bangor University’s School of Music. Lewis’ daughter was dyslexic and was trying to find new ways of getting others interested in the condition.

The journey for Lewis’ daughter began with research at the Miles Dyslexia Centre, a key place where research is done on dyslexia and where students of the local schools can get help with their studies. There was a staff member at the Mile Dyslexia Centre that recalled the poem written by Tom Barbor-Might when he was receiving assistance at this center.

The most interesting thing about this poem is that not only did the Centre leave it posted for many years for all to read, but there were recordings of Barbor-Might and other dyslexic students reading this poem that were manipulated. There were recordings made of the poem being read along with other recordings that were made with conventional spelling.

Professor Lewis says that these recordings are a great tool because they allow people to learn in alternative ways, rather than being forced to follow a set of guidelines. So, how does Lexicon fit into this? There were phrases that Barbor-Might uses such as “leaves blowing in the wind”. Rather than the word “leaves”, he wrote “lifes”. Lewis makes an interesting point that perhaps this was metaphorical in that it depicts the struggle and chaos in the life of someone dyslexic.

There was another student that when reading the poem, translated the word “lifes”, as “flies”. In this regard, the image of a swarm of flies gives you an idea of what words may look like on a page when someone with dyslexia is reading.

All in all, Dr. Marketa Caravolas was pleased to have worked with Lewis on the sonic work of art that came to be as a result of the poem and the use of Lexicon. The artwork which is also referred to as a composition is a piece that attempts to connect science and artistic expression. Dr. Caravolas refers to this as a work of art that evokes emotion and thought that expresses to others how words appear to the dyslexic reader.

You can read more about the upcoming performance in the UK, and read more about the Lexicon research when you visit www.wellcome.ac.uk/News/2013/News/WTP041417.htm.

Photo from Andrew Lewis


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