Friday, June 15, 2007

Being Dyslexic

I added a link to Being Dyslexic to the Dyslexia Information Sites page yesterday. The site has been around for a few years and gets a lot of traffic. The site was set up by a dyslexic adult, it contains a vast amount of information and has a very active forums section. I do however have some reservations.

With so much information from so many sources, it is inevitable that some of it is conflicting. As a tutor working with dyslexic learners I am looking for clear information which is reliable, both for myself and to point others towards. Because the underlying cause of dyslexia is unclear, dyslexia is defined through its symptoms and diagnosis tends to be restrained, even tentative. Yet when I am working with someone who is dyslexic I have no doubts about it. When a learner displays a symptom I think (or say) that that is the dyslexia coming through. It is quite different from working with someone who is not dyslexic, although there is also a category of people who might be dyslexic.

Unfortunately one of the first statements I came across on the forums was that dyslexia is about difficulties with reading, writing and spelling and that is the sum of it. I have read this online in several places in the past few weeks. And it is a statement which I find very untrue. I would try to define dyslexia as being something which has a number of characteristic symptoms and these include difficulties with reading, writing and spelling. Other symptoms such as short term memory difficulties, difficulties processing sounds, organisational difficulties are just as significant, if not always so apparent, and are also used in diagnosis.

The reason I feel a need to bring this up again is that dyslexia remains a controversial subject and is liable to enquiry by the media. We have seen writers such as Julie Birchill and Peter Hutchins cause backlash and outrage in recent weeks, as elements of the media seek to undermine the legal right to recognition and support. What we need is clarity and discretion.


Ghotit said...

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Ginger said...

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The Ginger Team