Saturday, June 9, 2007

More on the dyslexia debate

GMTV debate about the recent article

Professor Julian Elliott, who has raised doubts before about whether dyslexia exists as a medical condition, said he believes the label is used by middle-class parents terrified their children will simply be classed as low achievers.

(I should add that in the debate his point of view is actually not as grim and daft as the above quote suggests. He seems to call for more specific labelling and that some people present with symptoms that are too broad to be called dyslexia)
Watch the debate here

Dyslexia facts :

The word 'dyslexia' comes from the Greek and means 'difficulty with words'
Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty, mainly affecting reading and spelling. About 10% of the population are affected by dyslexia to some degree.
Dyslexia tends to run in families; it is known that there are several genes that contribute to a genetic risk of dyslexia.
Dyslexic people usually find it difficult to analyse and work with the sounds of spoken words, and many have difficulties with short-term memory, sequencing and organisation.
Dyslexia is not the same as a problem with reading. Many dyslexic people learn to read, but have continuing difficulties with spelling, writing, memory and organisation.

Possible difficulties you may experience being dyslexic :

Reading hesitantly
Misreading, making understanding difficult
Difficulty with sequences, e.g. getting dates in order
Poor organisation or time management
Difficulty organising thoughts clearly

The ideal thing to emerge from this debate would be more research into learning difficulties, more excavation on the specifics rather than it fading to a bunch of mudslinging in three newspaper articles.


PAT said...

Elliot has started a mud slinging war already with these incredibly illchoosen words.

There are enormous holes in his theory, which would normally be the end of such a concept if it weren't so emotive, and so wrong. But as it is both the articals will continue.

pumps said...

Thanks Pat for taking the time to comment.

I agree his theory sounds ridiculous, especially for people and parents of children who are living with the real effects of dyslexia, where the luxury of this kind of hyperbolic dismissal doesn't apply.

I'd actually like to know more on the specifics of how he came up with it. What was it he observed through the years in I assume testing and assessment circumstances?

The trouble with these debates is sometimes they end up shutting down one side or the other. I wish he'd come out and cite in accessible language what he's based his assertions on.

There certainly does need to be more excavation on the role memory issues play in learning differences. I've found very few resources on the topic. Who knows he may actually be someone who has some light to shed on it.