Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Dyslexia Debate Rumbles on

When a story leaps into the news without any obvious event to kick it off, one has to ask the question - who has been working so very hard behind the scenes to put it there? So it is with the recent dyslexia debate. The shocking story has slammed into the news, again, that some people believe dyslexia is a myth.

I'm sorry? Did I miss something? How did this story get taken up? I know it came just after a bank holiday, but was it really THAT quiet a news day? Someone must have been sending out reams of press releases and talking to influential friends in the media.

Taking a wild guess, I'd say that the way the Special Educational Needs budget is divided up could a motivating factor. Not that I'm any fan of conspiracy theories.

On the other hand, how to teach children to read and write is a good question for debate. How the resources are divided up is important. For myself, I am sceptical of one-size-fits-all teaching methods. But that's just me. I'd only point out that the history of educational theory is littered with discarded methods that were once going to banish illiteracy forever.

I'm more concerned that in this narrow debate, the general public might become confused about the obvious and undeniable truth - there were dyslexics around long before writing was invented. And dyslexia isn't 'cured' once a student has achieved a 'C' grade or above in their GCSE English exam. It is a life-long condition, a difference in the hard wiring of the brain that conveys some advantages as well as disadvantages.

Please, let's not lose sight of that.

5 comments:

Olive said...

Is dyslexia real? Is that the right question?

There is so much publicity around these days arguing about whether dyslexia is real or not , at Seeing Spells Achieving, we should like to put a quite different frame on the question. Dyslexia is very real for those with it, but it seems to be a learnt behavior (this may be a shock for you, but read on), that we learn by ourselves or by watching our parents/teachers around the age of 3 or 4 years old and by the time we are finishing junior school we are quite proficient at this confusing behavior. The symptoms we have of not being able to "see" words, like all the best spellers can and not being able to keep them still when we do "see" them are 2 behaviors that can be changed in minutes, not months through the NLP techniques described in the book, Seeing Spells Achieving. It is so quick it should be the first place to look for any concerned parent. If you understand the technique and help your child early enough they should never become confused by words. If your child is older, a few hours is all you need to help your child. For more information take a look at www.seeingspellsachieving.com and you are welcome to e-mail the authors for help - this is a real offer of direct assistance. And returning to the origional question, all children who are using their visual capabilities well, are much brighter at school.

Rod Duncan said...

Thanks for your comments.

Like I have said, I am always suspicious of one-size-fits-all educational theories, whether they be NLP or colour overlays or phonics or whatever. (Not that I object to you advertising your company here - that is fine, as you have identified it as a commercial concern as well as the fact that you are linked to it.)

But your assertion that dyslexia is simply a 'learned' condition blatantly contradicts the scientific evidence - which identifies physical, neurological differences as a significant componant of the condition.

Not that I reject NLP as a whole. I am very intereted in it. You will probably have seen the link to an NLP organisation on my website.

hayesatlbch said...

Most dyslexics have no visual problems that are significant enough to interfere with their reading ability. Most dyslexics see the written page in a clear, stable, uniform and focused manner. There is a minority of dyslexics that, as a group, do have a wide assortment of visual problems that makes reading difficult for them. I call that minority of dyslexics visual dyslexics.

When I developed See Right Dyslexia Glasses I refused to bring them to market for years because I was not able to identify which dyslexic would benefit from the glasses. Looking at the " dyslexia intervention Industry" I saw that the common practice was to claim to help all dyslexics, give no indication of what a successful result would be, and have no guarantee that wasn't made meaningless by the small print.

After reviewing all the interviews with the dyslexics who had tried my dyslexia glasses, both the successes and failures with the glasses, I saw what was oblivious in hindsight.

All the dyslexics that could describe a visual problem that made reading difficult had their specific visual problems removed by the See Right Dyslexia Glasses. A successful result would be the removal of the visual problems that made reading difficult for that visual dyslexic. By identifying which dyslexic would or would not be helped by the dyslexia glasses I could offer a 100% money back guarantee for any reason.

I admit that because people tend to think that what they see is normal, some visual dyslexics during my research were only able to identify that they had a problem after trying the glasses. Asking the dyslexic if he or she sees the page and words in a clear,uniform,stable and focused manner allows many of those dyslexics to identify that they may have a problem. I had one visual dyslexic that was very surprised with the results and said " you mean all the words can be in focus at the same time?". He thought it was normal to have to wait for each word to become focused before it could be read.

I may not be the best salesman for my product but my return rate is very low and there is no financial risk except the cost of return shipping. The last thing you read before ordering the glasses at my web site store is: If you see the page and words in a clear,stable focused and uniform manner you will have no benefit from these glasses as that is all they do.

More information is available at www.dyslexiaglasses.com .

Rod Duncan said...

Thanks for the comment, hayesatlbch, even though it was more of an advert than a comment on the posting.

I wonder how many more different 'fixes' for dyslexia will be advertised on here before the thread grows cold.

:-)

Anonymous said...

I am astonished at some of the comments/adds that are posted here.

My younger sister was dyslexic and a very smart girl to talk to, however struggled all through her schooling years and still does. Her teachers believed she was just lazy and any issues she exhibited were all in her head, therefore not helping her as they should have. She graduated in 2000.

It is now 2010 and my son of nine (year 3) has dyslexia and is being treated in a similar fashion!

My son is extremely smart, has a memory to rival the best. He is a very talented artist, however reads, writes and spells at a year one level!

My other daughter and son are near ‘A grade students’, as we do encourage reading, writing and maths from a young age. So let me say this out loud... HE DID NOT LEARN THIS BEHAVIOUR!

This year, 2010; I am still shocked and appalled that I have had to ring nearly thirty plus doctors to find one who will help my son let alone acknowledge his dyslexia. Not to mention that the Education Department itself, does not acknowledge Dyslexia as a learning disorder. They will not alter their lessons, nor give them a tutor or assistance of any kind.

With a world so large and with so many things we have, and are yet to discover; is it really so hard to think that we can't all learn things the same way! Personally I learn things best when I do things physically, where my husband merely needs to read a subject to grasp it. People with Dyslexia are very intelligent and if just taught things a little differently would have no limit on their possibilities.

We need people who will not put everyone in the same peg hole. I believe that you need to listen and acknowledge even if you don’t understand. Dyslexia is like air; just because you can’t see this disorder doesn’t make it less real.

So stop debating wether it is real or not! Accept Dyslexia as the problem and not the person who has it. From here we can move forward!

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