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Old 14th January 2009, 09:20 AM   #1
Rrose Selavy
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MP says dyslexia is "cruel fictional disorder"

Quote:
A Labour MP has claimed dyslexia is a myth invented by education chiefs to cover up poor teaching methods. Backbencher Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley, describes the condition as a "cruel fiction" that should be consigned to the "dustbin of history"

Quote:
"The education establishment, rather than admit that their eclectic and incomplete methods for instruction are at fault, have invented a brain disorder called dyslexia," said the MP.
"To label children as dyslexic because they're confused by poor teaching methods is wicked. "If dyslexia really existed then countries as diverse as Nicaragua and South Korea would not have been able to achieve literacy rates of nearly 100%.

Quote:
"There can be no rational reason why this 'brain disorder' is of epidemic proportions in Britain but does not appear in South Korea or Nicaragua." He claims the "fictional malady" has also been wiped out in West Dunbartonshire where the council has introduced the synthetic phonics system of teaching, also known as linguistic phonics.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/m...er/7828121.stm

I couldn't find much in the forum on the issue with a quick search .Anyone care to comment?
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Old 14th January 2009, 09:38 AM   #2
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See the problem here is that the teaching methods are crap. The expectations are also way way to low these days.

That being said I do think legit learning disabilities exist as my step brother seemed to be seriously effected by his learning disability.He commited suicide in college ostensibly because he realized he would never be able to hold a job in his chosen field because of his lack of ability to read.
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Old 14th January 2009, 09:39 AM   #3
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dupe post

Last edited by NewtonTrino; 14th January 2009 at 09:44 AM. Reason: stupid dupe
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Old 14th January 2009, 09:47 AM   #4
fishbait
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Originally Posted by NewtonTrino View Post

He commited suicide in college ostensibly because he realized he would never be able to hold a job in his chosen field because of his lack of ability to read.
What kind of college admits students who can't read? How did he fill out the application for admission?
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Old 14th January 2009, 09:55 AM   #5
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Yes, because previously those kids were just labeled retarded.
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Old 14th January 2009, 09:55 AM   #6
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It was a nursing school. He could somewhat read normally typed text, although slowly. They very much encouraged him to get into the school and assured him it wouldn't be a problem. Unfortunately they forget to mention that charts are often hand-written by doctors and can be difficult to read.
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Old 14th January 2009, 10:46 AM   #7
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I saw a documentary a couple of years ago that raised some interesting postulates about dyslexia.

Basically it put forward the idea that the diagnosis of Dyslexia came about because educators could not understand why otherwise intelligent people had trouble with reading. This was exacerbated by the conceit that, as literary skill was considered an example of high intelligence, that reading must be a product of higher brain function.

It went on to contend that reading was in fact a fairly rudimentary skill, and there was no difference between an intelligent person having difficulty with reading, than there was with a less intelligent person having the same difficulty. it was only because it was expected that highly intelligent people should have no difficulty reading, that it lead to the diagnosis of a syndrome if they didn't. The analogy was made that some people are good with tools or at art whilst others aren't, but that that is not associated with intelligence, but is rather a skill. reading is similarly a skill, and so native ability to easily learn it was not a function of intelligence.

It was put forward that the lack of certain language development in early childhood may have been a factor.

I have heard little about this debate since. Perhaps someone more enlightened could elaborate?
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Old 14th January 2009, 11:31 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by fishbait View Post
What kind of college admits students who can't read? How did he fill out the application for admission?
You would be suprised how well you can get by without being able to read or write. I left school not being able to do either. I have just sold a business that I started at 15 years old and managed succesfully for 31 years, the first ten years of wich I could barely read or write at all. You become adept at manipulating ( in a nice way ) others to do it for you. Getting an application for admission filled out would be a breeze. Actualy taking part in a course would be another matter.
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Last edited by learner; 14th January 2009 at 11:33 AM.
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Old 14th January 2009, 11:58 AM   #9
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Cruel yes (calling it dyslexia anyway). Fictional? Well trying to explain the results I produce on on certian tests without it is rather tricky.
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Old 14th January 2009, 12:19 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by learner View Post
You would be suprised how well you can get by without being able to read or write. I left school not being able to do either. I have just sold a business that I started at 15 years old and managed succesfully for 31 years, the first ten years of wich I could barely read or write at all. You become adept at manipulating ( in a nice way ) others to do it for you. Getting an application for admission filled out would be a breeze. Actualy taking part in a course would be another matter.
A similar story happened to a Norwegian fellow I know, even made it into the papers:

Supporting this observation is the story of Ole Olson. Ole was the janitor in the First Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. A new minister decreed that all employees should be able to read and write English. The reasoning was that all employees should be able to handle phone calls and write down information for the minister in his absence.

Poor Ole. He had left Norway in his youth and never had learned to read or write. Despite his tearful pleas to the minister, Ole was forced to leave his job as janitor because of his lack of education.

In his bitter disappointment, Ole hitch-hiked out to Seattle and got a job in a fish cannery. No worry about reading and writing there. He later worked on a fishing boat and in time saved enough to buy his own boat.

As time passed, Ole acquired many more boats . . . in fact a fishing fleet. With pyramiding profits and Ole's natural thrift, he eventually became owner of a small fish cannery in addition to his fleet of boats.

Then came the opportunity to buy a much larger cannery in Seattle. For the first time in his life, Ole was forced to consider going to a bank because the amount involved was much more than he could handle from his cash reserves.

As Ole recited his list of impressive assets, the banker smiled and assured Ole the loan would be granted, The loan papers were handed to Ole to sign. But Ole said, I'm sorry, but I don't know how to read or write.

The astounded banker looked at Ole in disbelief. "Mr. Olson, it is necessary for you to sign to make this loan legal. I am astounded at your assets. Where would you be today if you read and write?"

"Well" said Ole, "I'd probably be a janitor in the Lutheran Church in Minneapolis."

http://leaderadvertiser.com/articles...2771315004.txt
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Old 14th January 2009, 01:41 PM   #11
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Mod WarningPosts about Wigan moved to:http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=132976
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Old 14th January 2009, 01:52 PM   #12
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I find it unlikely that 6million Brits, 10% of the population, are dyslexic.
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Old 14th January 2009, 02:52 PM   #13
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There was a documentary on Channel 4 in the UK a few years ago called The Dyslexia Myth. Here's an article by its maker that discusses the idea that the popular conception of it is a myth and various positions taken on Dyslexia.

It provides a page with links to websites of organisations that provide help and advice for people with dyslexia.

Here's more information about the programme from someone who watched it, who briefly summarises some key points and has transcribed some of it (albeit with spelling errors).

More recently, there was a series of three programmes on Channel 4 about the progress of a group of adults, some in middle age, through an adult education class the programme makers specially set up, where an award-winning teacher tried out different methods of teaching them to read, after they'd been at school for years and not learned very well. It's clearly an example of the kind of thing schools ought to be doing. There were people there who said they were seriously distressed a lot at school because their teachers would call them stupid and they used to be ashamed of themselves for not being able to read. But within weeks on this course, the reading skills of a few of them dramatically improved! The series was called Can't Read Can't Write:

Quote:
In this first episode, award-winning teacher Phil Beadle takes on the task of teaching nine adults how to read and write. Each one of them spent over 10 years in the school system – and yet they failed to learn
the most basic skills. The class includes a whole range of people who left school unable to read: a businessman, a plumber, a single mum and an unemployed 21-year-old....

As the lessons start – two sessions a week – Phil finds that he's not only teaching his class their letter sounds, but he's dealing with the raw emotions that have dogged these people all their lives. Linda finds the lessons almost unbearable:

'I can't think, I can't work, my head's in bits!' she storms at Phil, 'and I'm telling you that I'm not coming back next week'. ...

By the end of the first few sessions, some of the class have made huge progress, while others are still struggling, so Phil tries out a kinaesthetic approach with them – letting them form the shapes of the letters in 3D. It's a breakthrough for Linda, who finally begins to feel like she can keep up with the rest of the class. ...
And from a write-up on the second programme:

Quote:
... Within two weeks of starting the course, Phil's mix of unconventional methods along with the kind of phonics seen in primary schools, had achieved what seemed impossible – both Teresa and Linda have started to read. As Phil says, when you how long they been unable to read, 'that's a century of not being
able to read, reversed in two weeks, that is a miracle, isn't it?' ...

In just six lessons, fifty-eight year-old Teresa learned more than she did in ten years of school – and she is desperate to prove herself to her mother. ...

We also meet another member of Phil's class, single mother Kelly, who's on the course to help with her son's dyslexia. When she thinks about how she's unable to help her kids achieve more than she has done, Kelly is reduced to tears – she doesn't understand the letters sent home from school, everything takes her so long to read that she's forgets what it means, bills, letters pile up and add to her frustration and fears for the future.

As the course continues, we see how Kelly's skills improve, not only in that she's able to help her son, but in proving her talent as a writer; Phil reads some of her writing to the class and tells them that Kelly should be at university, it's a tragedy that she doubts her abilities. ...
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Old 14th January 2009, 04:06 PM   #14
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Apparently, a lot of surveys show that half or more prison inmates can't read well. Though this obviously only proves a correlation between crime and illiteracy and dyslexia, it makes sense that improving educational techniques is one thing that'll increase people's life opportunities and thus reduce the likelihood of them resorting to crime.

Here's an article about a jail in America where reforms are taking place to put more focus on education, teaching people to read, and then moving on to teaching them things they'll be able to master with their new reading skills, that they would have missed out on before because they didn't get to learn the basics.

Inmate Education:

Quote:
... National studies say up to 80 percent of jail and prison inmates are high school dropouts -- many of them functionally illiterate -- meaning they can't read or write above elementary-school levels.

Some jail and prison inmates read and write at just a first- or second-grade level, according to the National Institute of Corrections.

A high percentage of them can't fill out an employment application form when they get out of jail. They are unable to go online or read the newspaper to see what jobs are out there. They will never be able to read to their children, read a map or correct a billing error.

Data released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicate these inmates are more likely to reoffend and land back behind bars. ...

Maj. Cory Swope, the assistant jail administrator, said several factors contribute to the return-to-jail cycle.

"It's a lack of opportunity, lack of direction," Swope said. "A lot of it goes back to the family environments that they've grown up in. Parents' educational levels are very typical and predictive of what their children are going to attain."

Substance abuse, absence of available jobs and the lack of an education are the top contributing factors in rising crime rates, Allen and Swope said. ...

"The programs that we provide are literacy, basic skills, GED, high school diploma," Bowman said. "What we hope to do is hire a teacher, coordinator, who will work with us and the folks at the jail. The first step is to do some planning, figure what the needs are and what resources we will need and what we have available."

The new jail has a classroom, a computer lab and a library. Adult Education will provide the program, which is to include life-skills development, psycho-educational groups and substance-abuse education.

The idea, Bowman said, is to provide educational and vocational training, which will educate inmates while ultimately reducing corrections costs. Goals also are to improve inmate conduct and lower the rate of return to jail.

Meanwhile, jail officials will provide job readiness and placement services, as well as incentives to avoid misconduct, she said. The housing concept known as "direct supervision," with one guard in an open cell block, also promotes inmate responsibility, Bowman said. ...

"Studies show that people who participate in education programs are less likely to reoffend, less likely to go back to jail," she said. "It's much less expensive to educate someone and help them get themselves ready for work and make some changes in their lives, than it is to incarcerate them. ..."
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Old 14th January 2009, 06:00 PM   #15
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When I was in third grade they put me in a special class for kids with learning disabilities. They taught phonics, etc.
Up to that point reading and writing was very very difficult, after that, not so much. We moved the next year, but I was able to take the skills I'd learned and never had too much of a problem keeping up with school work after that. Spelling and that sort of thing was still tough, but I could get by.

I still hated reading mind you. It just took so damn long. Eventually my older brother got me to start reading by reading a book to my younger sister. She talked about it so much that I started listening. Then I got impatient and picked it up and started reading it on my own. He was a crafty one.

Now I read one or two books/week, on average, and have been for at least ten years. But I'm still a very slow reader. I know this because whenever I am trying to read a page with someone else, they always finish it before I've made it a third of the way down. It's sort of frustrating.

As for writing, I usually only write on my computer, but recently I've been learning to write chinese, and sometimes i end up writing things in pinyin. The funny thing is that I noticed that I still reverse letters and all that jazz.

Just my personal experience. Call it dyslexia or not, there's definitely something going on.
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Old 14th January 2009, 06:05 PM   #16
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There's actually a wide range of types of dyslexia. What most people think of when they think of dyslexia is visual dyslexia, where the letters appear reversed and scrambled. This type actually accounts for a pretty small percentage of cases. Visual dyslexia may or may not be a "myth" -- I don't know. Certainly, it's not what's happening in most kids called dyslexic. Most cases of dyslexia are actually thought to be an auditory processing disorder.

Phonological dyslexia, IIRC, is the most common type, and it's characterized by an underlying difficulty in breaking down words into their component sounds and reassembling them from a visual representation of those sounds. It's generally associated with language delays, and often whether a child is diagnosed with a dyslexia, a phonological processing disorder, or a language learning disability depends more on who does the initial assessment than what the symptoms actually are. That's a problem that needs to be kept in mind whenever talking about prevalence statistics, because it can skew the numbers significantly if the agency collecting the data isn't careful.

The techniques used to teach reading will have an effect on how severely this sort of dyslexia manifests. Kids with phonological dyslexia need explicit instruction in phonics and phonemic awareness, and need a lot more practice and support than other kids do. Sometimes, multisensory methods like the ones in the program baby nemesis linked are a big help. So, this MP is not entirely wrong in saying that methods of instruction are at fault. That doesn't, however, mean that dyslexia does not exist, only that the educational system isn't handling it very well.

In addition, the transparency of the spelling system of the language (ie. how consistent the sound-symbol correspondences are) also plays a role -- something particularly relevant when comparing rates in English speaking countries with rates in areas where other languages are spoken and written. The fact that the documented incidence of dyslexia and literacy problems is higher in Britain than in Korea proves nothing (even if we're assuming that the same diagnostic criteria are being used). English orthography is not at all transparent.

(In the interests of full disclosure, one of the things I do in my job is run a multisensory remedial reading group for kids in grades 1-3. I have no idea if any of the kids in my group have been formally diagnosed with dyslexia, but most of them do have significant problems with phonological awareness. Some of them can't even perceive rhyme.)
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Old 14th January 2009, 09:25 PM   #17
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Actually, now that I think about it, I agree with this guy on one other point. To write kids off who have the label "dyslexic," and just say that they're dyslexic and therefore they can't read, is indeed cruel and wicked. Most kids with dyslexia can learn to read, and to enjoy reading, if they're given appropriate support.

But from that it really doesn't follow that dyslexia is a fictional disorder invented by educators to cover up their incompetence. We don't say that aphasia, stuttering or vocal cord nodules don't exist just because they can be treated.
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Old 14th January 2009, 11:14 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by quixotecoyote View Post
A similar story happened to a Norwegian fellow I know, even made it into the papers:

Supporting this observation is the story of Ole Olson. Ole was the janitor in the First Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. A new minister decreed that all employees should be able to read and write English. The reasoning was that all employees should be able to handle phone calls and write down information for the minister in his absence.

Poor Ole. He had left Norway in his youth and never had learned to read or write. Despite his tearful pleas to the minister, Ole was forced to leave his job as janitor because of his lack of education.

In his bitter disappointment, Ole hitch-hiked out to Seattle and got a job in a fish cannery. No worry about reading and writing there. He later worked on a fishing boat and in time saved enough to buy his own boat.

As time passed, Ole acquired many more boats . . . in fact a fishing fleet. With pyramiding profits and Ole's natural thrift, he eventually became owner of a small fish cannery in addition to his fleet of boats.

Then came the opportunity to buy a much larger cannery in Seattle. For the first time in his life, Ole was forced to consider going to a bank because the amount involved was much more than he could handle from his cash reserves.

As Ole recited his list of impressive assets, the banker smiled and assured Ole the loan would be granted, The loan papers were handed to Ole to sign. But Ole said, I'm sorry, but I don't know how to read or write.

The astounded banker looked at Ole in disbelief. "Mr. Olson, it is necessary for you to sign to make this loan legal. I am astounded at your assets. Where would you be today if you read and write?"

"Well" said Ole, "I'd probably be a janitor in the Lutheran Church in Minneapolis."

http://leaderadvertiser.com/articles...2771315004.txt
Forgive my skepticism, but I find it difficult to believe that this guy's story so faithfully tracks W. Somerset Maugham's "The Verger," published in 1950, especially since a number of similar but not identical stories have made the email rounds in recent years.

Here is the Maugham story.
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Old 15th January 2009, 03:05 AM   #19
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The MP claims that dyslexia doesn't occur in some countries, given they have a literacy rate of 100%. I wonder if that's true.
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Old 15th January 2009, 03:05 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by geni View Post
Cruel yes (calling it dyslexia anyway). Fictional? Well trying to explain the results I produce on on certian tests without it is rather tricky.

I would have thought that an appraisal of Geni's posts on this forum, especially back in 2003-04, would be strong indication that there's something to explain.

Geni's dyslexia seems to be of the super-creative type which contributes greatly to the gaiety of nations. I've had many an amused chuckle over his posts. But no amount of spelling solecisms can hide the underlying intelligence.

Actually, my colleague who's just walked out of my office is said to be dyslectic, and others confirm this, but she produces near-perfect written and typed work. I just proof-read the monthly report she wrote, and I could find nothing of any substance wrong with it. However, she says she's had to struggle really hard (and constantly use a spell-checker) to be able to function on that level.

I do think there are some very bright people who have an inordinate difficulty with literacy. There may be multiple aetiologies involved. There may also be some who are labelled dyslectic who have merely been the victims of bad teaching.

The real problem must be when the label is seen as an excuse for poor literacy skills, rather than as a reason for more intensive and structured literacy education.

Rolfe.
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Old 15th January 2009, 04:05 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by tkingdoll View Post
The MP claims that dyslexia doesn't occur in some countries, given they have a literacy rate of 100%. I wonder if that's true.
Why would dyslexia mean that the literacy rate can't reach 100%? Dyslexics can learn to read and write.
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Old 15th January 2009, 04:21 AM   #22
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The MP (what is an MP) seems to have some other information than wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of..._literacy_rate

Not saying that wiki is correct though.

UK, South Korea 99%

Nicaragua 80%
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Old 15th January 2009, 04:21 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Why would dyslexia mean that the literacy rate can't reach 100%? Dyslexics can learn to read and write.
That could be a factor, or his claim could be untrue, or the country reporting 100% literacy rate could be exaggerating, etc.

I don't have an issue with him raising this, I also find it highly improbable that 10% of the population is dyslexic, but some of his claims sound spurious.

Not that there isn't mileage in such comparisons. Only France has 'heavy leg syndrome', and only rich western countries seem to suffer from CFS.
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Old 15th January 2009, 04:22 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by borealys View Post
There's actually a wide range of types of dyslexia. What most people think of when they think of dyslexia is visual dyslexia, where the letters appear reversed and scrambled. This type actually accounts for a pretty small percentage of cases. Visual dyslexia may or may not be a "myth" -- I don't know. Certainly, it's not what's happening in most kids called dyslexic. Most cases of dyslexia are actually thought to be an auditory processing disorder.

Phonological dyslexia, IIRC, is the most common type, and it's characterized by an underlying difficulty in breaking down words into their component sounds and reassembling them from a visual representation of those sounds. It's generally associated with language delays, and often whether a child is diagnosed with a dyslexia, a phonological processing disorder, or a language learning disability depends more on who does the initial assessment than what the symptoms actually are. That's a problem that needs to be kept in mind whenever talking about prevalence statistics, because it can skew the numbers significantly if the agency collecting the data isn't careful.

The techniques used to teach reading will have an effect on how severely this sort of dyslexia manifests. Kids with phonological dyslexia need explicit instruction in phonics and phonemic awareness, and need a lot more practice and support than other kids do. Sometimes, multisensory methods like the ones in the program baby nemesis linked are a big help. So, this MP is not entirely wrong in saying that methods of instruction are at fault. That doesn't, however, mean that dyslexia does not exist, only that the educational system isn't handling it very well.

In addition, the transparency of the spelling system of the language (ie. how consistent the sound-symbol correspondences are) also plays a role -- something particularly relevant when comparing rates in English speaking countries with rates in areas where other languages are spoken and written. The fact that the documented incidence of dyslexia and literacy problems is higher in Britain than in Korea proves nothing (even if we're assuming that the same diagnostic criteria are being used). English orthography is not at all transparent.

(In the interests of full disclosure, one of the things I do in my job is run a multisensory remedial reading group for kids in grades 1-3. I have no idea if any of the kids in my group have been formally diagnosed with dyslexia, but most of them do have significant problems with phonological awareness. Some of them can't even perceive rhyme.)
In the transcript of the Channel 4 documentary I linked to earlier, they have people saying that one factor, among others, that can influence a child's capacity to have a good ability to distinguish sounds in words, is the amount parents talk to them when they're babies:

Quote:
... 0:23 [Narrator] “So why do some children like Tina find reading so difficult … Over six hundred separate research studies have converged on one answer. This is that in children who cannot read, a bit of the brain is not working properly. It is a part of the brain that makes no contribution to intellect.
It is not measured in intelligence tests nor do researchers know where it is but what they do know is that it is an area of the brain that allows the child to distinguish the tiniest sounds in words. If it is working properly children will learn to read regardless of how they are taught… “

[Professor Snowlin] “… core problem in child who have difficulties in reading is manipulating and analysing speech sounds. ...

[Narrator] “So children like Tina have a minor neurological weakness that makes it difficult to comprehend the different sounds in words. Its comparable to being a little bit colour blind… It has nothing to do with intelligence but what causes it?”

0:26 Colorado Twin Study

[Professor Richard Olsen] Uni of Colorado. “… We find that identical twins are much more likely to share reading difficulties than fraternal twins. “

[Narrator] “They found that a half of all reading problems are inherited. If they have a parent with a problem they are twice as likely to have one two.
Girls they found are just as likely to have reading problems as boys. … Inheritance is only part of the story. Something is happening after they are born.”

0:27 Houston, Texas medical centre

[Narrator] “The breakthrough came when they scanned the brains of children before and after they were given help with their reading problems. After as little as eight weeks of one-to-one tuition they found the brains of the children had changed dramatically.” ...

[ Professor Jack Fletcher] “Effective instructions alters brain functions. These neural systems are plastic, they are malleable, they are sensitive to the environment.”

[Narrator] “… What happens to us after birth can have a big effect. It can cancel a potential problem or it can make it much worse. … It can even cause the neurological problem which other children have inherited.

[ Professor Jack Fletcher] “In some children the environment can lead to mal-development of the same neural system that produces reading failure… We know environmental factors all by themselves can cause reading problems.”

0:30 Discussion of babies and language, e.g. Japanese inability to hear the ‘r’ sound, and Mothers using baby talk.

[Narrator] “… Stressed or depressed mothers tend not [talk to their babies as much]. Television doesn’t replace this. Children hear little aural language, they don’t sit at a dining table. Their parent to busy or stress to talk or sing with them” ...
I was out with a group of people once, and one of them said he'd met a woman who was talking baby talk to her baby, and he told her not to, saying the baby wouldn't learn to talk intelligently that way. But I remember hearing that research had been done that had concluded that talking baby talk is helpful for babies, because it helps them pick up the sounds in words because it's simplified.

My brother's got a baby. He's about 15 months old now. My brother and his wife have always talked to the baby a lot, and now he has a good understanding of what quite a few words mean, and is picking up some new ones every day. So it seems that it's worth talking to them a lot.
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Old 15th January 2009, 04:33 AM   #25
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Why do we expect one person should find reading and writing english of a particular level of complexity as easy as another person finds it?

Do we expect everyone will find it equally straightforward to jump over a 1m high bar?

Rather than spending their time dividing bell-curves into regions and labeling groups of people as having condition X, Y or Z, perhaps the "experts" should redirect their efforts into addressing what individuals need to overcome or compensate for the specific difficulties they have.

I think a large part of the problem is our healthcare systems have been set up such that unless an individual can be labeled with a specific disorder or illness, she will not be eligible for access to the services she needs.
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Old 15th January 2009, 04:51 AM   #26
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In 1959 I was assessed as dyslexic. At the time they used 'whole word' to teach reading. Mom was trained in phonics (grew up in western Pennsylvania) and taught me to read using that.

It's not how I see what I'm reading, but in how I process the signals. Slows down reading speed, but if I rush comprehension suffers. Kept me from learning speed reading, which means I read the whole document instead of skimming it, thus getting more out of what I read.

The problem with saying a kid has dyslexia is not that it's a phony diagnosis, but that it's used as an excuse to give up.
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Old 15th January 2009, 05:12 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Baby Nemesis View Post

My brother's got a baby. He's about 15 months old now. My brother and his wife have always talked to the baby a lot, and now he has a good understanding of what quite a few words mean, and is picking up some new ones every day. So it seems that it's worth talking to them a lot.
Unfortunately you have no way of knowing if their talking is any factor in the development of that particular child. Had they not talked to him, he might be at the same level, at a higher level, or at a lower level by now, you simply don't know. Not that anecdotes aren't interesting, but they're not evidence and conclusions shouldn't be drawn from isolated cases.
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Old 15th January 2009, 05:54 AM   #28
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I wasn't claiming it as proof of anything; but hang on! If they hadn't talked to him, he might be at exactly the same level or even above?? Now where do you imagine he'd have picked up his burgeoning language skills from if he hadn't had their input? How do you imagine he could have been at a higher level if they'd never said a word to him?
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Old 15th January 2009, 06:47 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Mod WarningPosts about Wigan moved to:http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=132976
Posted By:Darat
Damn, I was expecting something about pie-eaters!
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Old 15th January 2009, 07:38 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by JWideman View Post
Yes, because previously those kids were just labeled retarded.
Wow, not really, , retarded is a harder standard than you might think. I do fine with math, and did become a better reader in my thirties (I read very slowly before then). I did not have the reversal in writing that many people with dyslexia do, but I sure have both types of dyslexia.
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Old 15th January 2009, 07:54 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by tkingdoll View Post
I find it unlikely that 6million Brits, 10% of the population, are dyslexic.
You might be surprised, dyslexia is a pattern of problems with reading/writing it falls into two main categories with considerable variation.

A clue is when someone thinks the words 'square' and 'sphere' are the same word, they are reading the first letter and the last two letters. (And it is a consistent pattern). I used to gestalt words of more than three to four letters, so a long word I knew the first three letters and the last two letters and recognized the shape of the ones in between. So the person is not reading the letters in order.

Now for some people it is just a matter of practice, they will learn to serially read letters and understand words if they practice over a normal schools day, not me.


Some people can not actually seem to tell the difference between a letter and it's mirror. You will see reversed letters and numbers in their writing.

For me the idea of 'sounding out' words just made no sense at all 'about' did not look like 'ab+out" to me it looked like 'about', the idea that i would take the 'a' and 'b' to come up with the sound 'ab' just made no sense to me at all (dysphonetic). It sorts of makes sense to me now that I am 50 but really I just memorized all the words and how they were spelled.

Now on the other hand, I was very motivated to read, so I kept at it after I learned how (in third grade) so while I was very frustrated and read slowly, I liked it when I did read something. So I kept at it. (Thank you Classics Illustrated and Disney comics)
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Old 15th January 2009, 07:57 AM   #32
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Does it exist? I'm not sure. It didn't when I was in school in the 1960's. Same with ADD.If anyone got hyperactive and disturbed the class they were sent to the headmaster and came back ten minutes later,their ADD miraculously cured.
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Old 15th January 2009, 07:59 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by borealys View Post
There's actually a wide range of types of dyslexia. What most people think of when they think of dyslexia is visual dyslexia, where the letters appear reversed and scrambled. This type actually accounts for a pretty small percentage of cases. Visual dyslexia may or may not be a "myth" -- I don't know. Certainly, it's not what's happening in most kids called dyslexic. Most cases of dyslexia are actually thought to be an auditory processing disorder.

Phonological dyslexia, IIRC, is the most common type, and it's characterized by an underlying difficulty in breaking down words into their component sounds and reassembling them from a visual representation of those sounds. It's generally associated with language delays, and often whether a child is diagnosed with a dyslexia, a phonological processing disorder, or a language learning disability depends more on who does the initial assessment than what the symptoms actually are. That's a problem that needs to be kept in mind whenever talking about prevalence statistics, because it can skew the numbers significantly if the agency collecting the data isn't careful.

The techniques used to teach reading will have an effect on how severely this sort of dyslexia manifests. Kids with phonological dyslexia need explicit instruction in phonics and phonemic awareness, and need a lot more practice and support than other kids do. Sometimes, multisensory methods like the ones in the program baby nemesis linked are a big help. So, this MP is not entirely wrong in saying that methods of instruction are at fault. That doesn't, however, mean that dyslexia does not exist, only that the educational system isn't handling it very well.

In addition, the transparency of the spelling system of the language (ie. how consistent the sound-symbol correspondences are) also plays a role -- something particularly relevant when comparing rates in English speaking countries with rates in areas where other languages are spoken and written. The fact that the documented incidence of dyslexia and literacy problems is higher in Britain than in Korea proves nothing (even if we're assuming that the same diagnostic criteria are being used). English orthography is not at all transparent.

(In the interests of full disclosure, one of the things I do in my job is run a multisensory remedial reading group for kids in grades 1-3. I have no idea if any of the kids in my group have been formally diagnosed with dyslexia, but most of them do have significant problems with phonological awareness. Some of them can't even perceive rhyme.)
Originally Posted by borealys View Post
Actually, now that I think about it, I agree with this guy on one other point. To write kids off who have the label "dyslexic," and just say that they're dyslexic and therefore they can't read, is indeed cruel and wicked. Most kids with dyslexia can learn to read, and to enjoy reading, if they're given appropriate support.

But from that it really doesn't follow that dyslexia is a fictional disorder invented by educators to cover up their incompetence. We don't say that aphasia, stuttering or vocal cord nodules don't exist just because they can be treated.

More power to you!

The is so little funding for education, people don't really ever go to a school who talk about funding.


The people we really write off are the 'slow' kids. Most schools in Illinois have some sort of reading support programs, but not enough specific support for dyslexia.
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Old 15th January 2009, 08:03 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Baby Nemesis View Post
In the transcript of the Channel 4 documentary I linked to earlier, they have people saying that one factor, among others, that can influence a child's capacity to have a good ability to distinguish sounds in words, is the amount parents talk to them when they're babies:



I was out with a group of people once, and one of them said he'd met a woman who was talking baby talk to her baby, and he told her not to, saying the baby wouldn't learn to talk intelligently that way. But I remember hearing that research had been done that had concluded that talking baby talk is helpful for babies, because it helps them pick up the sounds in words because it's simplified.

My brother's got a baby. He's about 15 months old now. My brother and his wife have always talked to the baby a lot, and now he has a good understanding of what quite a few words mean, and is picking up some new ones every day. So it seems that it's worth talking to them a lot.
Different issue in many ways.
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Old 15th January 2009, 08:07 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by dafydd View Post
Does it exist? I'm not sure. It didn't when I was in school in the 1960's. Same with ADD.If anyone got hyperactive and disturbed the class they were sent to the headmaster and came back ten minutes later,their ADD miraculously cured.
Yeah right, anecdotal evidence that ADD doesn't exist.

Sure whatever. Moralism.
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Old 15th January 2009, 08:12 AM   #36
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All I can say is that that the classrooms were oases of peace and quiet back then. No moralising,please do not jump to conclusions.
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Old 15th January 2009, 08:19 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
Wow, not really, , retarded is a harder standard than you might think. I do fine with math, and did become a better reader in my thirties (I read very slowly before then). I did not have the reversal in writing that many people with dyslexia do, but I sure have both types of dyslexia.
Lucky you. A guy I know who never finished school and still can't read, all because his school said he was retarded, not so much. Of course, he was in school probably many years - if not decades - before you.
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Old 15th January 2009, 08:45 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Baby Nemesis View Post
I wasn't claiming it as proof of anything; but hang on! If they hadn't talked to him, he might be at exactly the same level or even above?? Now where do you imagine he'd have picked up his burgeoning language skills from if he hadn't had their input? How do you imagine he could have been at a higher level if they'd never said a word to him?
I don't know these people or their lifestyle so I can only hypothesise. It's entirely possible that a greater vocabulary is used on television than in his home, so if he was exposed to TV all day then that could influence his development, in either direction. Equally, presumably his parents talk to each other. Also, to whom are we comparing this child? How do you know his development is higher than average or even average?

I'm not disputing that talking to a baby helps with language development, I don't know anything about the topic. It may or may not. It seems likely that it does. I'm disputing that one anecdote is evidence for it though. There are presumably studies out there which could enlighten us. I've seen articles which claim that television in general and DVDs developed specifically for baby language development actually have the opposite effect but I haven't read the actual studies, just the news coverage.
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Old 15th January 2009, 08:49 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
Yeah right, anecdotal evidence that ADD doesn't exist.

Sure whatever. Moralism.
I know that I would be labeled ADHD if I was attending school now. I was given "incentive" to control my urges and to direct my energies toward learning rather than allowing free flowing consciousness streams distract me and the class. I learned to control my temper and to react to things rationally rather than using the "anger management" methods so in vogue today.

Things weren't perfect back in those days of yore but granting the teachers the authority to dispense discipline (a word that has very little meaning or acceptance in schools now) helped keep the lid on a lot of issues.

On teaching methods, my daughter was struggling with reading and getting frustrated by the whole word method (back yet again!). While driving to visit her grandparents, I stopped by the side of the road and started her on phonics. In fifteen minutes her reading speed doubled. End of her problem.
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Old 15th January 2009, 11:33 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by tkingdoll
I don't know these people or their lifestyle so I can only hypothesise. It's entirely possible that a greater vocabulary is used on television than in his home, so if he was exposed to TV all day then that could influence his development, in either direction. Equally, presumably his parents talk to each other.
All day? No!

Tut tut! You didn't read the quote from the transcript I put here! Shame on you! Here it is again:

Quote:
[Narrator] “… Stressed or depressed mothers tend not [talk to their babies as much]. Television doesn’t replace this. Children hear little aural language, ...
Originally Posted by tkingdoll
It's entirely possible that a greater vocabulary is used on television than in his home, ... I've seen articles which claim that television in general and DVDs developed specifically for baby language development actually have the opposite effect but I haven't read the actual studies, just the news coverage.
Well now you know of a bit more. ... So you've read articles about how babies merely exposed to television all day without getting one-to-one communication from parents don't do so well; and yet you still hypothesise that my brother's baby might have gained a higher level of language attainment than he has, based merely on listening to people talking on television, minus the one-to-one communication his parents give him?

Originally Posted by tkingdoll
I'm not disputing that talking to a baby helps with language development, I don't know anything about the topic. It may or may not. It seems likely that it does. I'm disputing that one anecdote is evidence for it though.
And did I make any grand claims for that anecdote? Is it not possible to put a cute little anecdote for people to contemplate on here without being accused of trying to build a whole case on it?

Incidentally, he's a very lively little boy, and trying to make him sit in front of the television for twenty minutes would be like trying to make a river flow upstream.
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