Skip to comments.Anger as Experts Claim Dyslexia is a Myth
Posted on 09/07/2005 10:40:01 PM PDT by anymouse
Dyslexia, the learning disability thought to affect one in 10 Britons, does not exist and is no more than an emotional construct, education experts will claim in a television documentary to be aired next week. In the programme, which looks at the causes and treatment of poor reading, at least three academics call into question the value of separating those with difficulty in reading into dyslexics and "ordinary poor readers", when the treatment is the same for both groups.
Experts say many children are being diagnosed with the condition to save embarrassment over their reading skills and in order to get extra help at school.
But the suggestion has angered many dyslexic people and dyslexia organisations, who say the argument is damaging and unhelpful.
The widening gulf between academics and those who teach dyslexic people has resulted in a call for the term to be consigned to medical history books and a rethink on the treatment of all people who have difficulties reading.
The Channel 4 documentary will present the argument that dyslexia is a myth. The programme's producer, David Mills, said yesterday that the assertion that people with poor reading skills but high IQs should be diagnosed differently from other poor readers was wrong.
"You cannot separate a group of poor readers and say they are dyslexic, but if we clump all poor readers together you are then labelling 20% of kids with a disability."
One of the programme's contributors has written about the condition in this week's Times Educational Supplement. Julian Elliott, professor of education at the University of Durham, said that despite 30 years in the field he has little confidence in his ability to diagnose the condition.
"Dyslexia persists as a construct largely because it serves an emotional, not scientific, function. Forget about letter reversals, clumsiness, inconsistent hand preference and poor memory - these are commonly found in people without reading difficulties, and in poor readers not considered to be dyslexic ...
"Public perceptions often link reading difficulties with intelligence and, in our culture, an attribution of low intelligence often results in feelings of shame and humiliation.
"It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the widespread, yet wholly erroneous, belief that dyslexics are intellectually bright but poor readers would create a strong, sometimes impassioned demand to be accorded a dyslexic label.
"Yes of course, some children will require special resources and dispensations, but we certainly don't need spurious diagnoses of dyslexia to achieve such ends."
It is thought that about 375,000 schoolchildren suffer from dyslexia, which requires skilled specialist teaching.
Those with a diagnosis are often provided with teaching aids and are given extra time in exams, leading to claims that parents want a diagnosis to get an unfair advantage.
About 4% of the population are thought to suffer from a severe form of dyslexia.
A spokeswoman from the British Dyslexia Association said it had been inundated with calls from people worried about their own condition.
"This is very damaging and insulting to the people who are trying to overcome their dyslexia - a condition which is widely known to be a neurological disorder," she said.
John Rack, head of research at the Dyslexia Institute in York, said the scientific basis for dyslexia was well established.
"We know which of the chromosomes are involved and some of the genes that are involved, as well as some of the brain differences you observe when looking at a dyslexic child," Dr Rack said."
But Michael Rice, a dyslexia and literacy expert from the Institute of Criminology at Cambridge University, said the term dyslexia could soon be a thing of the past. "People feel a sense of justification when they are diagnosed, and it becomes almost defining of who they are. It gets them off the hook of great embarrassment and feelings of personal inadequacy," Dr Rice said.
Well-known people who are dyslexic include Sir Richard Branson, Jamie Oliver and the swimmer Duncan Goodhew, who said: "I don't think it is very helpful to argue about terms when we should be looking at the solutions. It is a neurological problem, a neurological deficit which ruins many people's lives."
Dyslexics of the world, untie!
That explains why Tom Cruise has it.
Hear about the dyslexic insomniac agnostic? He lies awake at night wondering if there's a dog.
...does not exist and is no more than an emotional construct...
That explains why Tom Cruise has it.
... and Cher.
Dyslexics of the world UNTIE!
Did you hear about the frustrated suicidal dyslexic?
He kept throwing himself behind the bus.
It's about time. Can they tackle ADD next? Then Adult ADD?
Thank Dog I don't have it.
I am mo sad I could juts pits!
Then there's the dyslexic traffic cop. He kept handing out IUDs.
Except for the article this is a pretty nuffy theard.
Mean does he what by that?
Dyslexia, unlike ADD/HD DOES exist. How do I know? I've had it all my life.
My case mostly manifests with numbers; for instance, I see the number "57" written down as "75".
So what do I do about it? I always check my math TWICE. No psycotropic drugs or special ed classes required.
The real shame is that is is yet another excuse for psychobabble "victimhood".
Look, I know for a fact Adult ADD is real and I will tell you why.....
What was I talking about?
You, my friend, need help! LOL. Oh, and that was funny as heck. Thanks for a 1am laugh.
I'm attention defi--
I'm attention de--
Sure...I had problems. Still do. Who doesn't? The difference is that sane people don't define themselves by their defects.
HAR! I was thinking about you today. Have you done a cartoon of Blanco and Nagin as Dumb and Dumber Yet? If so, can you point me to it?
I issue think some Freepers take will with article this.
I ping will my mesozoic fiends.
Dammit, I want to be a victim!
!tnemetats suolucidir a tahW
I dno't konw waht yuo're tlaknig aobut. Ervyetinhg mdae pefrcet sesne to me.
The BBC never makes sense. Split it up into 5 or 6 parts and let those who pay the 'TV tax' decide which channel[s] to send their portion to.
You think YOU got problems?
Obviously these jerks have never dealt with it 1st hand.
I used to sell auto parts and when we changed over to computer inventory control I was screwing up hourly with the new part #'s, sometimes I would just get 1 or 2 digits swapped and other times I would flip the whole # backwards. It didn't help that we also went from Alphanumeric to numeric at the same time.
I do the exact same thing; it has gotten slightly worse in the last few years. I also transpose letters when typing, sometimes whole words, and now occasionally I transpose words when actually speaking.
But the idea that I would have ever needed special ANYTHING is stoopid. Or stoodip.
I think it's brain damage from all the drugs I took long, long ago.
I always thought you were a bit wardsback, Rebloggblur.
As an English and a reading instructor, I dealt with adults with poor reading skills and those with dyslexia. You can tell the difference.
It's a real problem for some people. You have to use coping strategies (and there are a number of them, like using blue paper, which seems to help).
A poor reader can improve his reading without those strategies, by working on rate, vocabulary and analytical reading skills. It's not that hard to teach.
This won't improve the real problems a dyslexic is having decoding words. It's not the same problem. I know dyslexics who have Ph.Ds - they still struggle with texts. They've learned ways to cope.
OLL! This theard is crakcing me up!
1 in 10 Britons????? How the hell do these people even exist?????? Sounds like the entire cast from "Airplane"!
That said, there are of course abuses. My sister used to work in the modern language department of a large university. The number of students who didn't like foreign languages who came to the office asking for an exemption from the language requirement because they were dyslexic (self-diagnosed!) was staggering.
Ann Coulter has pretty much been saying the same thing for years (i.e., dismissing dyslexia as a convenient cover for "rich parents of dumb kids").
Dyslexia is not something we should make pun of.
I'm a dyslexic but I don't shiv a git.
Notice, they don't say that the argument is incorrect.
Sorry, I was distracted by traffic.
Lexdyxia is completely real. Popple who are Licksdexic should not be called sputid. Heyt are too diff'rent things.
Hold on there. Whether it exists or not, what makes it a GOVERNMENT problem? Whatever happened to people dealing with their own problems, without appealing to Big Brother?
In the end, forcing a public school system to acknowledge variability in learning capacity, it then is incumbent to address the differences.....costs money. Whether or not it SHOULD do so is entirely another kettle of fish. However, public school education was once one of the great equilizing assets of the middle class in the USA...before it evolved into a tool to impede social mobility.
How does it change many dyslexics to take a light bulb?
Dyslexia was just Cher's excuse for not knowing how to read.
Typoglycemia >> >> I know it looks weird, but believe it or not you can read it. I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas thought slpeling was ipmorantt.
...at least three academics call into question the value of separating those with difficulty in reading into dyslexics and "ordinary poor readers", when the treatment is the same for both groups.