Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Graham Stringer, MP and the Dyslexia Debate

Count to ten, Rod. Don't type what you feel after reading about Graham Stringer's outrageous statement on dyslexia.

One, two, three, four...


The man thinks the education budget should be divided up in a different way. Fair enough. But he then advocates a one-size-fits-all approach to the teaching of reading and writing. Synthetic phonics. It will solve all problems and we will have 100% literacy, so he says.

But educational history is littered with debunked one-size-fits-all theories. When I go to a shoe shop for a pair of black lace-ups, I expect them to ask what size my feet are before offering me a pair to try on. Or better still, having them measured. How much more, then, would I hope that our children in schools are being assessed and appropriate educational methods offered to them!

What this MP seems to believe is that if we were to reach 100% literacy then we would have proved that dyslexia does not exist. He does not seem to realise that dyslexia is not a synonym for illiteracy. It is a difference in the hard-wiring of the brain that causes significant differences in ability. Dyslexia confers some advantages and some disadvantages. It is not a disease. It is not 'cured' when a child learns to read.

This is turning into a rant. I must count to ten. I really must.

Five, six, seven... Agggghhhhh!

It's the distress that this statement will cause that annoys me. There are children and adults out there who have always struggled with reading and have just been told that they aren't lazy after all. They don't have to feel the guilt they have been feeling all their lives. It isn't that they are sinful. Other people were just finding it easier. It wasn't that the others were more virtuous or were trying harder. The relief that comes with this knowledge! It is the beginning of healing.

And then they read that Mr Graham Stringer MP in his infinite wisdom has informed the world that there is no such thing as dyslexia. Go back to feeling guilty all you dyslexics. Mr Graham Stringer has spoken.

Count to ten, Rod. Seven, eight, nine, ten.

There. I have counted. But I am still angry. And therefore I must stop.


Kiamo said...


what a fool.

go listen to ken robinson talk about education. it'll sooth your pain. not everyone trying to influence the education system is a complete moron...

Rod Duncan said...

Thanks Kiamo.

I talked about it on the radio, blogged about it, wrote to the Labour Party about it and think that it is out of my system now.