Current Affairs, Dyslexia, Television

Response to ‘The Dyslexia Myth’ from Maggie Snowling

Professor Maggie Snowling who featured strongly in ‘The Dyslexia Myth‘ has published a response to the program via York University’s Centre for Reading Language.

No one in the field of education would deny that there are myths surrounding dyslexia … But this does not mean that dyslexia is a myth … there is strong scientific evidence concerning the nature, causes and consequences of dyslexia. Thus, dyslexia can be readily identified by educated professionals …. [but] It is no longer relevant to ask ‘who is dyslexic and who is not’. Rather, the skills underlying the acquisition of reading are continuously distributed in the population, such that some people find learning to read and write a trivial matter whereas others, notably children with dyslexia, have extreme difficulty … a massive consensus that learning to read depends upon phonological (speech) processing skills. Children who come to the task of learning to read with poor phonology are at high risk of dyslexia. …. If they do not receive intervention, they try to compensate by relying on visual skills, their reading and spelling development proceeds on the wrong trajectory and subsequently goes awry. … it is important to note that phonological abilities do not depend on IQ … Our research suggests that some 75% of children identified at risk of reading problems in Year 1 respond positively to such programmes. The remaining 25% continue to give cause for concern, and will include those with dyslexia whose problems are likely to persist. … A crucial question therefore is whether, if appropriate procedures for the identification, assessment and intervention of children at risk of reading problems were put in place in all schools, dyslexia would go away? The answer is quite simply no. Dyslexia is a brain-based disorder with consequences that persist from the pre-school years through to adulthood. Good teaching delivered at the right time will not eradicate the condition but it will greatly help these children learn to read and write and cope with the demands of our educational system.