Wednesday, April 2, 2008

E-Book on Literacy and Dyslexia

Hugo Kerr’s highly recommended chapter on dyslexia from “The Cognitive Psychology of Literacy Teaching: Reading, Writing, Spelling, Dyslexia (& a bit more besides)” brings me back to the ongoing debate, at least in my mind, about the “reality” of dyslexia.

Hugo is truly sceptical about dyslexia, without going quite as far as to suggest that it doesn’t exist. I might have agreed more fully a few years ago, though I would never have read the amazing quantity of literature quoted, which covers the field. In those days I really was more anti-dyslexia, I believed that it didn't matter to the way I delivered my teaching; I wondered about trying to put those views into order. Looking back now, I remember a few people in particular who came to me for help with spelling, but their needs were great and they never seemed to make as much progress as others.

Now I feel I am more of a believer. I have written in this blog before here and here ideas around the definition of dyslexia. From Hugo’s quoted definitions I am probably closest to the Moray House definition; I certainly do not like the idea of the primacy of reading or literacy difficulty.

I wonder about the other, perhaps secondary, “symptoms” of dyslexia, which include:
  • Memory difficulties
  • Organisational difficulties
  • Difficulties listening to two people at once
  • Mis-saying words
  • Difficulties with maps
  • Difficulties with maths
I wonder about the idea, in Cynthia Klein for one, of difficulties with different sorts of processing, motor, auditory and visual, and the different sorts of literacy problems consequent; I have done these analyses and find them useful.

I wonder about the continuum, about dyspraxia and dyscalculia.

I wonder above all about all those people I have worked with who find great relief in the diagnosis of dyslexia; once it is accepted, there can be release from the anxieties remaining from school and there can be a new addressing of current priorities. As a support tutor I can move away if desired from teaching spelling to supporting writing and expression.

In the UK the diagnosis of dyslexia is crude and unsatisfying, and open to abuse. However it is very often needed for funding to ensure support, and therefore necessary.

I found the book from Maggie Harnew's site, as so often. I'll read more of it, when I can find when I get used to the idea of an e-book - I don't find it easy on a landscape monitor.

No comments: