Bennett A. Shaywitz, M.D. is the The Charles and Helen Schwab Professor in Dyslexia and Learning Development at Yale University and Co-Director of the Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity. Both a child neurologist and neuroscientist, Dr. Shaywitz is dedicated to ensuring that scientific progress in dyslexia is translated into policy and practice. His research applies functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to understand the neurobiology of reading and dyslexia in children and adults. These studies have been critical in identifying a neural signature for dyslexia, making a previously hidden disability visible, and for the first time demonstrate the brain basis for the lack of fluency in dyslexia. His neurobiological studies of the development of neural systems in dyslexic children has shown that these have many similarities to the memory based Kanji writing system in Japanese.
Recent research by Dr. Shaywitz examines differences in brain connectivity between dyslexic and typical reading children, revealing that in dyslexia brain connectivity is disrupted to the word-form area, an area critical to reading fluency and that connectivity is disrupted between reading and attention systems. Other recent studies focus on: the economic costs of dyslexia in adults; the emerging achievement gap between dyslexic and typical readers as early as first grade and its persistence; potential pharmacotherapy for dyslexia as an adjunct treatment for dyslexia; and an inexpensive, teacher-administered kindergarten and first grade screener for dyslexia. Studies in progress use fMRI to investigate attentional mechanisms in dyslexia and the development of vocabulary in dyslexic children.
The author of over 300 scientific papers, Dr. Shaywitz’ honors include election to membership in the National Academy of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences and recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Washington University. By invitation he has spoken at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and here, in the US, at the Congressional Wives Club, at the US Senate Field Hearings October, 2015 as well as before many policy and educational forums. Dr. Shaywitz was selected, along with Dr. Sally Shaywitz, as recipient of the Lawrence G. Crowley Distinguished Lectureship at Stanford University; The Annie Glenn Award at Ohio State University; the Distinguished Lectureship at Bank Street College of Education; and the Stoll Distinguished Lecture at Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Shaywitz currently serves on the Boards of the Park Century School and the Westmark School. He previously served on the Institute of Medicine Immunization Safety Review Committee, on the National Vaccine Program Safety Subcommittee and on the Scientific Advisory Board of the March of Dimes. Dr. Shaywitz has been selected annually for Best Doctors in America and America’s Top Doctors. Dr. Shaywitz has served for much of his career as Chief of Child Neurology at Yale School of Medicine, stepping down in 2015 to focus his energies on increasing public awareness and understanding of dyslexia and ensuring that 21st Century knowledge of the science of dyslexia is used to inform the education and approach to children and adults who are dyslexic.