In 1980, Ronald Dell Davis made the groundbreaking discovery that challenged and changed the view of dyslexia worldwide. Through experimentation he learned that he could control his own dyslexia by shifting his mental perspective, and through clinical research with other dyslexic adults he gained insight into the root of their difficulty with words and reading. A year later he opened his first clinic, and in 1994, after working with more than a thousand children and adults, published the first edition of The Gift of Dyslexia.
Davis' influence on educators and researchers is reflected in a growing body of academic and popular literature incorporating, exploring, or referencing his ideas and the dyslexia correction method developed from them.
Davis found a simple and effective means of correcting the perceptual distortions that give rise to dyslexic symptoms in 1980, and conducted in-house research to develop a consistent theory of the underlying cause of dyslexia. Having found an apparent solution, his goal was to discover the reason his approach worked, in order to gain an understanding that would allow him and his colleagues to refine and improve his techniques. Since that time, his discoveries have been supplemented by case studies and independent research.
The Davis approach is based on a unique view of dyslexia, best expressed in the concept of a gift or talent as opposed to a cognitive defect or deficiency. A good understanding of the basic concepts that underly Davis methods also provides a framework for evaluating and weighing the impact of outside research.
Although Davis methods were developed from hands-on experience working with dyslexic adults and children, there is a growing body of scientific research into learning and brain function that supports many of the Davis precepts. This research does not directly support or relate to the Davis program, but the knowledge gained from it can be applied to developing a better understanding of dyslexia.