PROFESSOR JOHN STEIN
Founder, Researcher, PhD FRCPath FMedSci
Prof. John Stein is the Chairman and Co-Founder of the Dyslexia Research Trust. Prof Stein studied medicine at New College, Oxford and St Thomas's Hospital, London; he is now a Professor of Neuroscience at Magdalen College, Oxford. Prof. Stein started a career in Neurology, continuing his training in London, Leicester and Oxford; however, he decided that basic research into the visual guidance of eye and limb movements might be more useful. He became a tutor in medicine and neuroscience at Magdalen College, Oxford, in 1970.
Since then Prof. Stein has been studying normal and abnormal eye and limb movement control in animals, neurological patients and dyslexics. In 1978 with Sue Fowler he began to study the role of vision in learning to read, and he has been pursuing the hypothesis that reading problems may result from impaired low level perceptual visuomotor and auditory processing that is caused by abnormal development of magnocellular neurones in the brain. Thus he has been researching visual dyslexia for over 30 years.
Prof. Stein is well recognised as a world expert in this field and is regularly called upon to give his knowledge, expertise and advice to academics, teachers, parents and the media. JFS website
DR SUE FOWLER
Founder, Senior Researcher and Consultant
Dr Sue Fowler had difficulties learning to read and spell as a child which is why she understands the problems described by the children, students and adults who come to the clinic today.
Her original medical training was as an Orthoptist working in the Eye Hospital in Oxford and the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.
From working as a clinical Orthoptist for many years she was introduced into the world of dyslexia and learning difficulties, when she was invited to investigate the visual problems of a group of local school children, chosen to take part in a pilot study for a new approach to teaching bright children with a specific difficulty learning to read and spell.
Using the Dunlop test in this study she was able to identify children who would benefit from wearing special occluded glasses for reading and written work to overcome their visual confusion.
These interesting new ideas led to Dr Fowler meeting Professor Stein because she was looking for information and guidance as to how to interpret these ideas and move forward with the research.
This was the beginning of their partnership working together with his Oxford University PhD students they carried out many research studies together.
The idea that transparent coloured sheets could affect reading came originally from the USA resulting in a change of direction for our research. This quickly expanded into the use of glasses with coloured lenses so they could also be used when writing as well. It soon became evident that only two colours really made a difference to the processing of visual information in the brain special blue and yellow.
At this stage Dr Fowler left the Royal Berkshire Hospital moving the research to the Department of Physiology in the University of Oxford and started her six year programme working at the Rivermead Rehabilitation Centre in Oxford, looking into the visual symptoms suffered by at patients with acquired brain damage and disease to compare these with those suffered by the children with learning difficulties. She was also able to use the special blue and yellow coloured lenses with many different conditions and soon realised what a potential source of treatment they may have discovered. They worked out the exact wavelength and saturation of light that was needed to give the specific response. The specific blue light reduces the perception of motion and glare, aids attention and helps to control headaches and migraine. The specific yellow light worked in a totally different way increasing contrast sensitivity and eye movement control.
Having finally completed her PhD thesis Dr Fowler and Prof Stein started the Charity and opened The Dyslexia Research Clinic in Reading, to continue the research and clinical work helping children not only from Reading but occasionally even from all over the world!
Research Orthoptist & specialist teacher in SpLD and Dyslexia
Priti graduated as an Orthoptist in 2003 from the University of Sheffield. After which she started studying towards a degree in vision Science at the Optometry Department at the University of Bradford. While studying there Priti worked part time in the NHS as an Orthoptist as well as teaching Optometry students binocular vision.
While Priti was teaching in the binocular vision clinics she began seeing children with symptoms while reading. She commenced conventional assessment and treatment using coloured overlays but began noticing that the yellow and blue overlays worked in a very precise way.
In 2008 the Dyslexia Research Trust advertised a job vacancy for a research orthoptist. This was the ideal role for Priti. She started work as a research orthoptist at the DRT and found that she spent a lot of time advising on dyslexia and not just treating the visual symptoms. In January 2017 Priti completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Assessing and teaching learners with a specific learning difficulty/dyslexia.
Priti is registered with the Health Professions Council (HPC) and the British and Irish Orthoptic Society (BIOS), she is our vision specialist, assessing vision and diagnosing and visual difficulties, in particular the need for coloured filters. Due to Priti’s post graduate diploma she is alos advice on dyslexia.
Sarah completed her BA in Psychology at Loyola Marymount University after which she worked as a Behaviour Interventionist. In this role, she provided Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) to children with autism. ABA is a play-based intervention which targets language, social skills, play skills, and more. She held this position for two years before moving to the UK to commence an MSc in Education and Child Development at the University of Oxford.
Upon completing her Masters degree, Sarah joined the DRT in September of 2017. Sarah works as a Researcher, conducting the Psychometric assessments on the children for our research. Sarah helps with Analysis of the data, writing up our research and of course our clinic admin.
Pam first visited the Dyslexia Research Trust with her son after being referred by his school, at the appointment everyone was very encouraging and helpful and supported them with advice and ideas on how to move forward with his reading difficulties. Then 11 years ago she started working at the clinic one day a week as a volunteer as she wanted to help other people in a similar situation.
Pam was so wonderful that we didn’t want to lose her so is now one of our administrators and deals with booking appointments, answering the phone and replying to emails. She also proof-reads reports, assists with the book keeping and helps in any areas she can.
Pam says that after all these years working at the DRT she still really enjoys her job because the people she works with are so dedicated, trying to support children in all areas of their expertise and feels very lucky to be a part of this charity.