30 years ago

7th October 2005 at 01:00
Controversy over dyslexia is nothing new, as was demonstrated in the following contribution to the columns of The TES Scotland of October 10, 1975:

There is nothing vague about dyslexia, even though its symptoms cannot be measured. Ask any parent of a dyslexic child.

For the moment, let's begin by forgetting the word "dyslexia" and consider the condition itself.

To teachers, its neurology is irrelevant. They are concerned with remediation. In this school for children with severe language disorders, all are poor readers for obvious reasons.

However, despite high quality teaching, there is a cut-off point below which, even by our standards, extraordinary methods have to be adopted.

A good deal of the discrepancy between the incidence of the condition here and in France and Germany could be attributed to the relative phonic regularity of their languages.

In the past, the phonic approach to the teaching of reading was of positive value to children now described as dyslexics.

But the main reason why "everybody learnt to read" was because, as with other handicaps such as language disorders, it was never recognised. These children were to be found among the maladjusted and mentally handicapped, or sitting quietly at the back of a large class. And still are.

From our experience, many parents find it a relief to learn that their child's difficulties can be labelled and that appropriate action can be taken.

And why shouldn't they?

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