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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:39 pm 
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Here's one to raise hackles on both sides of the discussion:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manc ... 828121.stm

"A Labour MP has claimed dyslexia is a myth invented by education chiefs to cover up poor teaching methods. Backbencher Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley, describes the condition as a "cruel fiction" that should be consigned to the "dustbin of history". He suggests children should instead be taught to read and write by using a system called synthetic phonics. But Charity Dyslexia Action said the condition was "very real" to the 6m people in the UK affected by it."

I have to say that he's exactly reflecting my own recent experiences and opinions of reading tuition in state schools but I'm sure other people have different views.

So does dyslexia really exist?

Mike


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:04 pm 
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Ouch! Mike, I'm just going to run away from this discussion as have no personal experience...

Likely to cause quite a stir I imagine :shock:


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 2:08 pm 
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Yes, I'm wondering how long it will take to be locked once anyone takes up the bait!

I think he's probably talking about at least three different things, none of which is actually dyslexia (of which I have neither knowledge or experience).

Mike


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 3:36 pm 
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In my opinion it does.

My eldest children learnt to read in Welsh which is a true phenetic language. My eldest is an excellent reader but it is fairly obvious that he doesn't seem to see all the letters in a word in the same way my second son does. The fact that he learnt to read in a second language made this more obvious, when children learn to read in their own language they will deciphere a word from one or two letters and contextual meaning hence my sons problem appeared to dissappear when he transferred to an English school.

The problem comes often not with the reading but with spelling. My eldest finds it difficult but thankfully education has moved away from making spelling the be all and end all of everything. Specialist teachers are also able to help these children achieve far more than they would otherwise though obviously it would be very convenient for a government to do away with this extra expense.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2009 11:17 pm 
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"...hence my sons problem appeared to dissappear when he transferred to an English school..."

The school transfer means you can't rule out bad teaching. When I said "in my recent experience" I was referring to our son, who made approx. four years' progress in reading in two terms after changing school. To all appearances he was "obviously" dyslexic, but it turns out that he wasn't after all - simply illiterate, thanks to bad teaching methods.

Mike


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:08 am 
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Sorry I didn't phrase that very well Mike.

My son was in a Welsh language school although he only spoke english he therefore could not understand much of what he was reading. When he reads in english his sound vocab knowledge allowed him to guess the word rather than read it phenetically. In welsh he couldn't always do that. He still progressed quickly because he simply learned to recognise the words over time. Fortunately he is bright and a naturally good reader (because of this I have never bothered to have him diagnosed and if he is dyslexic, it is a very mild form)

Where it does seem to affect my son still is spelling and importantly for the eleven plus when reading words out of context.( some of these problems will also be down to his initial education in welsh but his brother who is a year younger has found the transition a lot easier even though he reads far less than his brother)

As a parent who is now teaching my third child to read and as a previous primary school teacher I feel phenetics are important but they are not always the best method to use with certain children. I agree that your son may have been suffering from bad teaching but personally I feel it is those teachers and schools which insist on sticking ridgedly to one method of teaching reading that fail to meet the needs of all their pupils.

Bad teachers do exist but does that then mean dyslexia doesn't?

I think not.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:25 am 
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hmmm controversial.

There are other aspects of dyslexia such as the words "moving and flipping"

as pupils have described to me. I once went to a conference where they suggested that dyslexics tend to think in 3D , whereas our society has "pinned down" words in 2D since we discovered printing. Most peoples brains happily take to the transition but not all.

This may explain why many dyslexics are artists and architects, they naturally see things from all angles so the letter P, could be d or b also....

an interesting theory I thought.

Many of the methods which can help dyslexics, eg multi sensory teaching are good teaching practice anyway. So as long as teh children progress maybe a label is of limited use


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:45 am 
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The b d is a classic. Apparantly children should be able to distinguish by around 7 years of age, a bright child sooner. My DS, 11, still can't and I know some adults who can't but who would not call themselves dyslexic.

I think the label is good iin that it raises awareness that not everyone sees the written word in the same way. Naturally good spellers can be very precious about it and make assumptions about others because they lack that ability. We are lucky in that computer technology can help with poor spelling but there will be times when people can't and shouldn't have to use that technology.

Spelling doesn't equate to intelligence. Many people, I believe, still think it does.

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This may explain why many dyslexics are artists and architects, they naturally see things from all angles...




Interesting, also I wonder in the past if many would have gone down the art route because it was the one area where they weren't penalised?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:20 pm 
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"I once went to a conference where they suggested that dyslexics tend to think in 3D "

Interesting because our son is the most dramatically 3-D thinker you are ever likely to meet (hence his G and T in art which I'm not sure I totally agree with - I don't think it's particularly a gift for art as such, but he sees things differently than most of us see them).

From our numerous dealings with the education system, I have a total hatred of labels; our son has been subject to more than his fair share and none of them have actually been constructive or helpful, even in the (minority of) cases where there is some justification.

Much of the time I feel the tendency is to pin a label on a child and believe that in some way that has dealt with the problem whereas in some (most?) cases, it would be better to refrain from labelling and focus on dealing with the issues, which could sometimes be best addressed by having higher expectations and trying to teach to them; pinning a label on is distinctly counter-productive to that approach.

Which does not, of course, solve the problems of someone who has got to adolescence or adulthood with literacy, numeracy or other problems which may or may not have been caused by inappropriate teaching methods when they were at primary school.

Mike


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:55 pm 
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I personally shy away from labels myself and yes they can be to the detriment of the child and are not always necessary, as I said, I have avoided having son tested because he is doing well academically and haven't needed to.

However children get labelled, whether we like it or not,and unfortuantely in the past and still many 'dyslexic ' children would simply have been labelled thick! grrrrh.

The flip side is that there is now an obsession with finding a label and as you say it doesn't always work. The classic was autism, one or two autistic children are highly gifted, the majority not, but some parents liked the label. Also some parents who feel their children aren't as bright as they would like them to be look for an excuse or a label to try and make their child appear less average re the upsurge in dyslexics..

In my experience though and, I could be wrong, a label does help in education if it is a correctly diagnosed, because the child receives extra funding to provide extra support. A friend of mine is a perepatetic teacher who does small group work with dyslexic children. It would be nice to think this was unnecessary but with schools funding as it is and large classes being the norm certain children would not progress without it.

Hopefully in the long term we can eradicate future adult illiteracy and numeracy probs:?: Don't know whether this will happen though because we still have so many inconsistancies going on in schools and constant changes to the system as a whole hardly helps.


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