- The Washington Times - Friday, March 3, 2006

LEXINGTON, N.C. (AP) — Roger E. Saunders, a psychologist who pioneered the diagnosis and treatment of dyslexia, died Feb. 23 of a heart attack at Lexington Memorial Hospital. He was 82.

Mr. Saunders, who spent most of his professional career in the Baltimore area, began identifying dyslexia in children and adults nearly 50 years ago.

When he was hired in 1957 as director of psychological services for the Baltimore County Board of Education, he discovered that Maryland was a “wasteland” for understanding reading disorders, he told the Baltimore Sun in a 2001 interview.

Teachers often categorized children with dyslexia as emotionally disturbed or retarded and blamed their behavior problems on outside factors, he said. Such teachers “saw the behavior, not its cause,” he said. “Dyslexia is neurologically based, not emotionally based.”

Mr. Saunders later established a private practice, and was a founding consultant to the Jemicy School for dyslexic children in Owings Mills, Md. He also helped establish the Odyssey School in Baltimore and the Rawson-Saunders School in Austin, Texas.

Mr. Saunders was instrumental in building what is now the International Dyslexia Association, based in Towson, Md., and was its president for six years.

He moved to Lexington after his retirement about three years ago to be closer to relatives. He is survived by a sister, Jeanne S. Davis.

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