Education research ignites Dyslexia debate

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A Professor at Durham University's School of Education has sparked a major debate about the status of dyslexia and the value of labelling of some people with reading problems as "dyslexic".

Professor Julian Elliott, who raised the issue at a conference in Durham earlier this year, takes part in a Channel 4 television programme on 8 September and writes about it in the Times Educational Supplement of 2 September.

He says there is no consensus about to define dyslexia and what diagnostic criteria to use. He says a “dyslexia industry” has grown up based in a spurious link between diagnosis and intervention. This leads to expectations that being diagnosed “dyslexic” is a signpost to recovery, and that dyslexia implies that someone is intellectually bright, in spite of their reading problems – which Professor Elliott says is not necessarily the case.

Instead, he says, there needs to be more attention on assessing and addressing individual reading problems.

Professor Elliott is a former teacher of children with learning difficulties, educational psychologist and President of the International Association for Cognitive Education.

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