THE BLOG

Does Dyslexia Exist?

05/03/2014 11:54 GMT | Updated 03/05/2014 10:59 BST

One in ten people in the U.K have dyslexia, current reports show, which is around six million people. If this is the case, then first of all what is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is characterised by difficultly reading, phonological (auditory) encoding problems, poor processing speed and the inability to use language skills effectively. It's also a reading disorder.

Recent Professors from Durham and Yale University have suggested that Dyslexia is a Myth, that dyslexia should be abandoned as it lacks scientific clarity and educational value.

Individuals, including adults and children, have learning difficulties, no one can deny that, not research, or a Professor or a Doctor. The issue is 'what specifically does the individual suffer from?' 'Labelling' them as dyslexic, all 6 million of them, makes it extremely hard for intervention, for help and for the right support.

Dyslexia is, by it's very nature, hard to define, and I believe that because of this it's hard to treat, and hard to assign the correct personnel for the job.

Dyslexia, as we presently know it, has serious educational implications, it's a disorder that affects 100's of 1000's of people, and it affects their everyday lives, their confidence, their ability, and their esteem. I think rather than a Professor simply dismissing the existence of dyslexia, which helps no-one, they should be using their academic aptitude to advise teachers, psychologists and tutors how to spot dyslexia early and how to help individuals. Simply sitting in a room building evidence, devising theories and recording statistics will not help people who are dyslexic, whether their diagnosis is correct or not, but advising educational professionals will.

A big problem for children is that schools don't have the right provisions for the number of dyslexics. I agree that 6 million people diagnosed with dyslexia seems a lot, but in almost all schools there is a lack of support, and perhaps even care. From the work that we've conducted in schools, I would say there are many students and children with quite severe dyslexia; many have seriously maladaptive approaches to learning and grave problems with encoding information.

There is of course a stigma attached to dyslexia and in a number of cases this stigma can lead to poor self-efficacy, depressive tendencies, social exclusion and even aggression. Dyslexia often breeds frustration, frustration breeds' anger. It's not a pleasant experience for the dyslexic, the parents or the teachers.

Research is helpful, but often not accurate. Researchers and scientist are not in the day-to-day life of a school, they don't see the specific problems associated with dyslexia, they're just happy to say 'it doesn't exist.' It does. Admittedly is not easy to define, but it can be easy to treat, given early intervention and the correct support.

Another issue is cost, an Educational Psychologist report cost between £300-800. 'Your' dyslexia report (as an example) labels you dyslexic, you're 15 years old. That is too much money, and with no intervention, that's very late on.

My solution is this: specifically trained tutors working along-side teachers, schools and Heads to deal, very early on, with 'recognising' dyslexia.

Giving children early skills and techniques to deal with the encoding of information is the key to success.

Or you can ignore everything everyone says, and just embrace the fact that you're dyslexic, I do.