Wednesday, August 20, 2014
The End of Dyslexia?
In 2005 Julian Elliott contributed to a television programme, The Dyslexia Myth, that highlighted the many misuses and misunderstandings of the dyslexia construct and the corresponding failure of professional services to cater for all who encounter reading difficulties. In the subsequent fallout he was repeatedly accused of undermining efforts to help children with dyslexia and setting back years of hard-fought-for advances. Indeed, in the programme itself he was criticised by a number of teachers on the grounds that parents who have fought for their children for years will be rendered puzzled and distraught by such arguments. Here Julian Elliott and his collaborator Elena Grigorenko ask, What is understood by the term dyslexia? and Is there really any value in the construct? To what extent is it professionally acceptable for psychologists to use diagnostic labels that they know to be scientifically questionable on the grounds that discontinuing their use would reduce the salience of very real difficulties that many people experience, and undermine the influence of lobby groups in highlighting the need for action? In essence, this is a key question that has occupied our thinking since The Dyslexia Myth was broadcast in 2005. more