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Dyslexia is a myth

Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley, in his Confidential column on literacy, crime, dyslexia and wasted money

Published on January 12th 2009.

Dyslexia is a myth

Anybody who has any doubt about the impact of illiteracy on society should go to prison.

Any prison will do, the statistics don’t vary much.

As Strangeways is within my constituency and I visit it from time to time, I shall use it to illustrate my point. Of the prison population, roughly 80% of inmates are functionally illiterate and a similar number are drug abusers.

I am not, for one minute, implying that all functionally illiterate people take illegal drugs and engage in criminal activities, but, the huge correlation between illiteracy and criminal activity is striking.

It’s shocking that nearly one quarter of our fellow citizens in Manchester are functionally illiterate and this figure has shown little variation in the last 128 years of compulsory education.

I don’t believe in panaceas but I am confident that if the rate of literacy were improved there would be an inevitable decline in crime.

Children who cannot read or write find secondary school a humiliating and frustrating experience. Their rational response, with dire consequences, is to play truant.

Drugs, burglaries, robberies and worse, then, often, follow.

So why does the education system, even after the huge injection of funds over the past ten years, fail so many people and what can be done about it?

Unlike many of society’s problems, the answers are simple.

The reason that so many children fail to read and write is because the wrong teaching methods are used. The education establishment, rather than admit that their eclectic and incomplete methods for instruction are at fault, have invented a brain disorder called dyslexia.

To label children as dyslexic because they’re confused by poor teaching methods is wicked.

Dyslexia is a cruel fiction, it is no more real than the 19th century scientific construction of ‘the æther’ to explain how light travels through a vacuum.

The sooner it is consigned to the same dustbin of history, the better.

There are two simple reasons for being confident about the false nature of dyslexia. International comparisons and the fact that so called dyslexic children have no more trouble learning to read than other children, if the appropriate teaching methods are used.

If dyslexia really existed then countries as diverse as Nicaragua and South Korea would not have been able to achieve literacy rates of nearly 100%.

There can be no rational reason why this ‘brain disorder’ is of epidemic proportions in Britain but does not appear in South Korea or Nicaragua (it is also pretty damning that according to Professor Julian Elliot there are 28 different definitions of dyslexia).

But you don’t have to go halfway round the planet to see where this fictional malady has been eradicated. You can go to West Dunbartonshire where the Council has eliminated illiteracy.

When it started its literacy programme it had a higher than national average level of pupils entering secondary school who were functionally illiterate.

The magic bullet in West Dunbartonshire, was using synthetic phonics (sometimes known as linguistic phonics) to teach children to read.

This system recognises that there are 43 distinct sounds or phonemes in the English language.

In this system each sound is introduced initially with a signal ‘basic code’ spelling, for example the ‘ee’ sound is connected to the ‘ee’ spelling. Students are then taught to read by blending all the signs in the words, e.g for ‘ee’ the spellings ‘y’ as in funny, ‘ea’ as in eat, ‘e’ as in reflex, ‘i.e’ as in cookie etc.

This system successfully stops the confusion caused when learning to read and spell, by the fact that in the English language there are only 26 letters for 43 sounds.

It is amazing that rather than copying the huge success of the West Dunbartonshire scheme, 35,500 students are receiving disability allowances for dyslexia. Last year this cost £78.4 million and Ed Balls, the Minister responsible, wants to identify more dyslexics.

Certified dyslexics get longer in exams. There has been created, a situation where there are financial and educational incentives to being bad at spelling and reading. How perverse. This reached a pinnacle of absurdity, with Naomi Gadien, a second year medical student initiating a legal case against the General Medical Council because she believes she’s being discriminated against by having to do written exams.

I don’t know about anybody else but I want my doctors, and for that matter, engineers, teachers, dentists and police officers to be able to read and write.

It is time that the dyslexia industry was killed off and we recognised that there are well known methods for teaching everybody to read and write.

I started off this article by saying that I believed an effective literacy programme would reduce crime. I believe this to be the case but as important as this is, I think it is criminal that for nearly one quarter of the population, life is impoverished by the failure of the education system to teach them how to read and write properly.

This is not only a huge waste of taxpayer’s money, it is a terrible waste of human potential.

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422 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Kevin PeelJanuary 12th 2009.

Jeepers. Just when I think that the words out of this guys mouth can't possibly get any more ridiculous he pulls another one out of the bag. What an absolutely disgraceful pile of rubbish. The best possible evidence of dyslexia is available right there in his constituecy of Blackley - what other explanation could there be for people selecting him as their MP?!

Jez sezJanuary 12th 2009.

I think Graham Stringer has a point but... to deny dyslexia exists is going too far. I believe English speaking people have the highest reported incidence of dyslexia because the language itself has been derived from many other languages and therefore has few rules to make spelling logical.Take any word ending in 'ough' for instance - there are at least 5 ways of pronouncing the sound: 'uff' as in 'tough'; 'o' as in 'though'; 'oo' as in 'through'; 'uh' as in 'thorough' and 'off' as in 'cough'.It's no wonder there are literacy problems with English speaking people and where there is a genuine difficulty in trying to read words with the letters in the right order such as exhibited by dyslexia sufferers then the condition is more likely to be diagnosed. Dyslexics often suffer from other problems because they often have a difficulty comprehending the order letters are in in a word. They also have problems telling left from right - they can't easily see the difference between a left and right shoe, for instance.I would agree that dyslexia is often used as an excuse for illiteracy whereas, as frequently mentioned in these 'rants', more often than not the main reason is down to poor teaching methods. There is also a lack of patience/responsibility/discipline when trying to get any illiterate or semi-illiterate person to understand the importance of literacy in the ability to take control of his/her life in the community and not be hoodwinked by those who would take unfair advantage of this mostly avoidable ignorance.There are recognised tests which can usually separate the true dyslexia sufferer from the poorly-taught illiterate. If these tests were combined with better teaching methods then reading and writing would be improved for both the genuine dyslexic and 'normal' children.

ErnaldJanuary 12th 2009.

That's exactly right.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

Julian, please don't be too harsh on Mr Stringer ..... he has obviously been researching this for about 5 minutes, and in that time believes himself to be the worlds foremost authority on Dyslexia. Don't let the fact that he bases his argument on conjecture, rumour and superstition sway you from his validity and holiness in this matter ...... then again I could just be talking the mickey out of a whiner (Stringer) and not be being serious at all ..... so go ahead, have a field day on the ignorant nonentity ;)

2outof3January 12th 2009.

I am the father of three children all educated at the same schools, using the same methods. Two coped fine with reading and writing skills, the middle child did not. He has dyslexia. It took us many months to get him statmented and to get any support (due in part to ignorance of the type exhibited in the above article). He was subject to a battery of test which clearly showed he was well above average intelligence, yet failed to cope with reading. Once supported by a specialist teacher trained in helping pupils with dyslexia he rapidly made progress. As for children in Korea etc not suffering from dyslexia (to the same degree, if you read the academic literature), the reason is simple, the complexity of the Korean (Chinese, Japanese, and Arabic) written format means that they use different areas of the brain to process written language than WesternEuropean children. Early studies appear to show this processing area of the brain is less prone to the coding issue that cause most types of dyslexic problems.Sadly there are some who have seen this problem as an opportunity to play on people's ignorance and to set up a "snake oil" bandwagon, taking concerned parents cash in return for bogus cures....Perhaps if our MP's did some serious research and properly funded such educational needs, there would be fewer opportunities for such hucksters?

Jan HJanuary 12th 2009.

Mr Stringer's comments show a complete ignorance of dyslexia. It is an abuse of an MP's power to put ill-informed opinion and prejudice into the public domain. I had an excellent education and I am very well qualified. What do you blame my dyslexia on then, Mr Stringer?

KarlJanuary 12th 2009.

Mike - The naming of the colour of the sky is strictly semantic, and if we gave equal weight to anyone who comes along and gives the colour a new name, we might as well not bother with language at all as everything would be open to interpretation. You simply cannot say Stringer has ignored the evidence on dyslexia when he has clearly formed an opinion based on a body of evidence. Just because his conclusion differs from your own doesn't mean he has igored all contrary evidence. My guess is that like most people he has gone through life blindly accepting the existence of dyslexia in all its forms of testing, diagnosis and treatment and never even considered that an opposing view existed until he had it pointed out to him. Those trying to make a parallel with cancer are utterly misguiding the argument as cancerous cells in their multitudinous forms are visible in many spectra and their symptoms are measurable. The fact is that no reputable scientist IS standing up and claiming its non-existence, so we could do without such straw men.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

Medical evidence has been collected and collated since Dyslexia was first diagnosed in 1881, and yet Stringer doesn't give anything over to prove otherwise ..... therefore his alleged facts are supported merely by spurious figures, yet without evidence of substance ..... It is stated in almost every science, and even Law ..... nothing has credibility without evidence.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

I am a dyslexic student at the University of Manchester, and i have to say this article has angered me! Mr Stringer says countries such as South Korea have 'nearly 100% literacy rates' so people must not suffer from Dyslexia. HELLO! Most dyslexic students arent illiterate! They work at their problems such as reading and writing, so they can get on with life. The people bringing the rates down are the students who are not working.I study English Language and i do agree teaching methods could be improved. When i got to University i still did not have the grasp of basic grammar (im not talking about noun verbs and adjectives.. not that basic) and to my amazement most of my year did not either (to the shock of our lecturer!) This needs to be taught in schools! I think the point of this article is to highlight yet again the inefficient education system we have in England. Dyslexia is NOT a factor in this. Most students diagnosed gain help and improve their marks, so surely if the help and identification process was taken away, literacy levels would get lower?

Kevin PughJanuary 12th 2009.

I am now 50 years old and discovered that I was dyslexic when i was 35. Discovering that at 35 suddenly made it obvious to me why I found studying at school and then University so difficult. We did not have at that time the advantages of computers. So dyslexia, or learning difficulties if you will, certainly does exist. What I would say is that the label of dyslexia is all too often used as an excuse not to even try. As far as I was concerned, as a child, if someone else could read, write and spell then so could I, even though it took some 30 years to reach that goal.Education these days is too focused, in my opinion, on how it makes you feel rather than teaching on the one hand, how to study/learn (repetition, repetition repetition) and on the other, developing one's memory (repetition, repetition repetition). Usually assessments at school comes down to a quick multiple choice check sheet simply because the attention span of most children is extremely short.If we really want to make a difference in education we need to reduce class sizes, get rid of the attempt to control what teacher's are doing through near useless paperwork and focus on developing the child's ability to think, study and learn for themselves.

ContromanJanuary 12th 2009.

Whoa there Chippychap! You're name implies you're a happy go lucky little fellow. You seem pretty aggressive today. Witches don't exist anyway surely? You people don't half rise to the bait! Calm down dear.

Oliver StieberJanuary 12th 2009.

I was taught using synthetic phonetics when I was at school (about 25 years ago) and I'm still dyslexic. I think if I had been taught english at a more technical level in later education (through secondary school and after we were taught the basics) I would have been able to cope a lot better, teachers assuming that you can just do english that don't even bother to explain the science behind it caused me no end of problems. Even if I had had that teaching I would still be dyslexic, I would just have been able to cope better.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

This article has some good points and some bad points. If the synthetic phonics system shows a scientifically provable advantage over existing teaching methods then I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be adopted, but Mr. Stringer doesn't help himself - or the case he's trying to promote - by coming out with nonsense such as:"If dyslexia really existed then countries as diverse as Nicaragua and South Korea would not have been able to achieve literacy rates of nearly 100%"(To which one obvious rebuff is: If yellow fever really existed then how come England has such a low incidence of this 'disease'?)or"it is also pretty damning that according to Professor Julian Elliot there are 28 different definitions of dyslexia"... and the word 'set' has 464 definitions (puzzles.about.com/library/weekly/blmosdef.htm…) - does this mean sets don't exist?The heading to one of the columns in Private Eye is a cartoon bearing the legend "Modern technology baffles pissed old hack".The same applies here except it's science and a politician that's been baffled.Perhaps instead of getting involved in complex issues about which he clearly knows little he should stick to simple matters, such as tying his shoelaces?

Sharon MJanuary 12th 2009.

This is an email i have sent to mr stinger - god forbid he never has a child or grandchild that has these problemsDear Mr Stringer, As I am a mother of a child who is 13 who has dyslexia, asbergers and high spectrum autism I found your comments very disturbing. Since my child was found to have difficulties I have fought to get him a proper education, because as you state, I realised that if I left him in the State Education system he would become out of hands and possibly a criminal who knows. It started with him not being able to talk at the age of 3 so to communicate he used to hit out, which even at that age he was branded the naughty child who no-one could do anything with. Even though he could not talk at the age of 3, he could draw pictures which were way above his peers and he could do 100 piece jigsaws. He showed signs of great intelligence. He was then literally thrown out of our local state school, which was devastating. The education then offered me a place at a resource centre, which was for children who has severe disabilities. I was told that he basically would just play all day. Play all day ??, when he showed great intelligence ??. I refused and sent him to a private school with 50 children attending, which my mother and father funded. He progressed excellently and gained in year 6 level 5 for science, level 4 for maths and level 4 for English !!! This was because I placed him in an environment he could cope with, small classes, professional teachers, support for when he became frustrated etc. It then came to the transfer to upper school and this did not go well. He could not cope with over 200 children, he became frustrated in the lessons as he just did not understand what was going on, his self esteem and behavior problems all came flooding back. This was in a school he had been in since kindergarten who knew him. So it proves that if these children are not in the right environment they can not and will not learn, and to hear people say oh its just because their spoilt or their lazy is devastating. I took him out of the private school and taught him at home for 6 months and I just could not do it, it was very hard and very stressful. I then found a school in Lichfield called Maple Hayes Hall. They teach the children using icons, which is excellent. The children understand this, one child told me at his old school he was being pushed with the phonics way of learning and he said he felt as though he was being tortured !!. What can I say !!. Jack has been there since October 2008 and it is a different world !!. He is top of the class, his self esteem is 100 %. All of the children there have dyslexia and are all improving day by day. They are the most pleasant and positive young children you would ever get to meet, and every one of them says now that they understand and want to learn. The school also stands by a strong discipline procedure which might I add is the major problem in every school. I suggest you go and visit Maple Hayes Hall in Lichfield and I suggest that more schools like this are made available to children with learning difficulties and I am 100 % sure this would have a dramatic effect on teaching these children and getting more positive outcomes. I am currently having to take the LEA in Staffs to a tribunal which at the moment has cost me £5000.00 to date just so my son is educated correctly so he does not become one of your statistics, and I know there are 100's of parents who are fighting to stop their child being educated incorrectly. The school that the LEA want Jack to go to has 1300 children he couldn't cope with 200, and Jack would be taught by a classroom assistant ?? How is he expected to do well in that environment and with teachers who are not even qualified in 1 subject !!. So referring back to your comments I suggest again go and visit Maple Hayes Hall then go and visit these so called special needs centers and then look at why we have so many children turning into criminals. Sharon Moore Also, once my case has been heard I am going to the media with all of my findings as I feel that these children who need proper specialised education and who are not getting it are as good as being abused in the current system and are being totally let down by the UK Government.

kateJanuary 12th 2009.

This MP is a fool ,I have an intelligent son of 14 who can now read after having attended a specialist learning unit for 2 years but still struggles to write,type or even play ball games,as dylexia affects lots of things apart from reading.He could however probably make a speech without notes and come across as the most intelligent kid you had ever seen.local education authorities do not like to diagnose dyslexia,they call it specific learning difficulty and it has nothing to do with writing your b and d the wrong way round!!!

HelenJanuary 12th 2009.

Hi Tom SF could you ask the following questions please?No 1:-Will he now speak to leading researchers in Dyslexia such as Prof Margaret Snowling and leading researchers in reading research such as Prof Rhona Johnston?- as he clearly has not done any real researchNo 2:-How did he collate this alleged data from Strangeways and does he think this is a representitive sample?No 3:- Ask him what it feels like to be an A grade numpty?

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

Mrs Leeson - I don't actually think he would be in the queue to have them assessed, because judging by this article Mr Stringer appears to put his own opinions and political career ahead of his or anyone elses family.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

My mother has specialised in teaching children with dyslexia for over twenty years, my ex-partner was dyslexic and I find Mr Stringer's attention grabbing slurs a disgrace. Who's next for the firing line? People with depression should pull their socks up? Asthmatics should take a deep breath and get on with it? Last time I looked we were in the 21st century and MPs who are there by the grace of the public remember should be working to make life easier for all constituents not marginalising sections of society.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

99% of the pro-dyslexics cite little more than anecdotal evidence.

JulianJanuary 12th 2009.

I have a Degree in ENGLISH. I am also dyslexic - how do you reconcile that you pathetic ignorant little man.

RchirdarJanuary 12th 2009.

What, Kevin ...? Was the other candidate called Graham Stirnger?

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

openmind, if they're paying him more than £1.50 for a 3 year contract then they've been done.

BekiJanuary 12th 2009.

How dare this Mp say things like that?!?! It must be wonderful to be able to get away with slandering lots of people and not having to pay for it! Dyslexia IS a recognised condition and you cannot fake it in the actual tests!

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

this has inforated me!! he should go back to school him self i may strugle to spell what a shame..thats why GoD made man invent a spell cheek!!!idout!! dosn't he know all recorded geounis are thort or know to be deslecixs...I whent to Good schools were and had home schooling to teach me to spell but you know what what dose spelling reaily mater and dose the fool not reilise thats not the only thing it can afect!!!!At the end of the day just about any one I've ever meet cant tell unless i tell them and normaly tell me im one of the smartest pepoule they have ever meet. AT school and coolage the teachers always said i was one of if not the smartest!!!im so out raged i have stared a facebook group as there's power in numbers to ensure labour are never in power agin in my life time if they have brain less idouts like this working for them!!!!!

please resignJanuary 12th 2009.

your ignorance is not representative of the people that place you in the position to you have been employed.I suggest Graham Stringer you resign before you do our city any further damage...I for one will join any campaign to get you out !

Juan KerrJanuary 12th 2009.

As I said when he singled out scots as all bad because he had long running problems with his boss(a scot), he is an idiot.Now he is trying to keep his neb in the paper by singling out the dyselxics, the man is a idiot and a liabilty. The people of macnhester should punt him into the long grass and elect someone who isnt as fond of the expenses form.

PaulipipsJanuary 12th 2009.

Society needs labels to let us feel better about our own lack of skills........ Eg : A crap builder excuses his lack of skill by saying he must have built on subsidence......A crap doctor excuses his lack of skill by saying his patient must have M.E ........... A crap Child Psychiatrist excuses his work by saying the kid must have ADHD.......A crap teacher excuses their lack of skill by saying the kid has Dyslexia. I'm surprised the Pharmaceutical Industry aint come up with a pill for Dyslexia - there would be ooodles of cash to me made and watch the 'diagnosis' rate soar overnight if they did.....Hang on ! I cant run a 100 meters in 12 seconds - I wonder if I have some form of disorder that I could get benefits for...mmmmmm!

secretoJanuary 12th 2009.

Oh Helen, oh my! my entire opinion undone due to an uncorrected typo or two. Maybe I'm dyslexic as well. I must put a claim in.Surely you can mark my grades up in sympathy for my hideous suffering?

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

what does he know? Does he know what it`s like when you know what you are trying to write down and its takes up to three times as long some times before some one gets it correct esp when you are under pressure and you have to concentarte so much harder.

Secret4uJanuary 12th 2009.

This is a damaging article by a Labour MP who has failed to grasp anti-discrimination legislation and who knows little about the lives of disabled people, and who has failed to grasp how non-disabled society - i.e. people like him - obstructs disabled people.It is true to say that a huge proportion of our prison population either have learning disabilities or mental health problems. However, in the light of this, to deny the existence of dyslexia actually reinforces the problem.I don't know if he has actually met any parents struggling to get their dyslexic children statemented - or to ensure that the LEA fulfills the terms of their statement - but if he had more insight into these situations, he would not present the picture he does.What shocks me is how ignorant he is about equality. As a lifelong Labour supporter and member, I am extremely disappointed. The quality of backbench MPs seems to be very low.Contrast this with William Hague, who brought in the Disability Discrimination Act, and we can see why Labour loses ground to the Tories. Mark Haddon, Shadow Minister for Disabled People, also looks increasingly impressive in contrast to the Hon. Graham Stringer. So does David Cameron.Many of the Labour Party's leading members don't even understand their own politics. No wonder the Tories run rings around them.

PhilJanuary 12th 2009.

Hopefully at the next election, the dyslexics will know where to put their x and it will not be next to the name Stringer.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

Please get someone from the dyslexia institute to comment. Our son has had their expert guidance for which we have paid - his primary school also gives him excellent support. Through all their effort and our son's determination to prove he's not stupid just dyslexic - he is now achieving and his confidence is building. He did not get a free laptop just loads of extra homework. We also paid for testing for Meares Irlen Syndrome - as mentioned in previous comment. We're very fortunate that he was diagnosed at a stage before he didn't want to or thought he couldn't learn. If dyslexia is such a "myth" then why do "Waterstones" the book shop have it as their chosen charity?

SuJanuary 12th 2009.

Can't you see Graham's point about the student's crazy case against the GMC though? That's human rights gone mad - yet again. What if her disability meant she misread someone's medication dosage with fatal results? I'm hopeless at maths - would I be able to claim I was being discriminated against if I had to sit an exam for a maths degree which included some algebra and equations? Maybe it's over-simplifying things, but I'm tired of hearing folks whinge about discrimination.

LizRJanuary 12th 2009.

My sister is 14 and has recently been diagnosed as dyslexic. Despite her diagnosis she does not have any issues with reading, indeed her library is extensive and varied and has always had a passion for reading from a very young age. Stringer’s comments regarding dyslexia are not only uninformed, inaccurate and simplified a very real problem but they are also discriminative and prejudicial. It would be my suggestion that before anybody publically makes controversial statements that they research all facts and perhaps he should contact the British Dyslexic Association for further information. If he were to do this he would learn that dyslexia is much more than reading and writing and symptoms and severity differ from each dyslexic. Further, it is a condition that is regulated by brain activity/control, much like mental illness. Had Stringer made such controversial, inaccurate and uninformed comments regarding depression/mental illness I am sure he would have suffered a very public backlash. Dyslexia’s brains function in a different way to the average joe which means they may have problems in expressing in writing their actual intelligence level, spelling may be poor, mix up similar letters, have poor auditory memory and have issues with time frames, to name a few symptoms. However, unlike an average joe a dyslexic person will have to deal with their symptoms on a daily basis. Stringer’s statement is misleading, I concede that there are no doubt people in the UK who state that they are dyslexic as an excuse for their shortcomings. However those dyslexics who have been diagnosed by a recognised psychologist should not be tarred with the same brush. As for the extra time for examinations, laptops etc, not all dyslexics receive such measures. Indeed, to obtain additional time in exams, a dyslexic child must undertake an assessment and meet certain criteria. They are not measures doled out like sweets all those children that are unwilling to learn. By dumbing down this very real illness Stringer has done nothing but increase the level of prejudice and discrimination dyslexics receive on a daily basis. Thanks to the misconception that dyslexia equals illiterate and stupid her peers and uninformed teaching staff have little regard for her diagnosis and as such make derogatory and unjustified comments to the point that her self esteem and confidence is at an extreme low. Unfortunately, Stringer’s comments will only to further serve such small mindlessness and discrimination. For Stringer to conclude that having dyslexia means you are likely to turn to crime is absurd. A high percentage of burglaries, drug related crimes and violent crime is as a result of poor social and financial circumstances, poor parenting, poor education and greed. To blame these crimes on dyslexia is ridiculous. Also, I am a little sceptical of the accuracy of the statistical information for Nicaragua and South Korea particularly as Stringer’s accuracy in his other statements is severly lacking!Maybe Stringer should meet with dyslexic suffers to obtain their views on dyslexia. Maybe Richard Branson or Bill Gates have 5 minutes in their poorly educated multi-million pound lives to explain to him how dyslexia affects them!!!!!!!

Sharon MJanuary 12th 2009.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7829684.stmthe above link is an interview with Mr Stringer following his comments. He says that if children are taught properly we would not have dyslexia, ok my point is why is it costing me a lot of money to go to tribunal to get the education my son needs and why do so many parents have to fight, then what about the children whose parents will not face facts that their child has learning difficulties, there should be a proper assessment system, which might i add, they will say they have and I can assure you they havent. I have paperwork here on my case and I have emails from the LEA departments which i dont think should have been copied into my paperwork stating 'Its gonna be cheaper to do this ' How is that helping the children who cannot learn ????

LurseJanuary 12th 2009.

Recent evidence reported in IC New Scientist 5 November 2005 supports a genetic basis for this apparently non existent problem. There is also evidence that optic nerve damage may play a part ibid 18-Aug-1999. The lack of correspondence between spelling and phonetics in standard English undoubtedly exacerbates the problem in England and explains the better results obtained in Korea which has an almost wholly phonetic orthography. It may also explain why Welsh literacy has improved since the teaching of Welsh was encouraged in Wales given the high rate of Dyslexia reported in Wales. Notwithstanding any of the above personally I find the MP's remarks wholly offensive as someone who was only identified as Dyslexic after 45 years of struggling to spell correctly and has never learnt his tables despite both proper and what would now be regarded has highly improper traditional teaching. Finally I'd like to add that this almost makes Rhodes Boyson look like an enlightened educational reformer. In conclusion it's pitiful he didn't actually bother to do any of the research his scientific training should have taught him before drawing uninformed conclusions based on insufficient evidence. The only excuse is I can think of is that he's a Chemist or forgotten his training in becoming a politician and look what the last one of those did who achieved political prominence. Good effort Stringer.

TRTJanuary 12th 2009.

Go easy on the guy. He's obviously a bit hard of thinking.

Professor IgnorantJanuary 12th 2009.

I've not read this article but I agree with its messages and believe then man is right. I also agree with most of the posts. Well done all of you, especially you dyslexics, you've done especially well.

bbshropshireJanuary 12th 2009.

Dyslexia is not all about reading and writing! This guy seems to have stormed into this with his eyes shut!I suffer from dyslexia and yes my handwriting is terrible but as far as the rest of the condition stands I have a terrible memory amongst other things. To be sat in the car on the way to school and sat at school and also at the kitchen table every day for over a year trying to remember my times tables by repeating them over and over verbally and written and still to this day at the age of 23 couldnt even begin to answer a single question you ask me! It also affects me with spacial awareness and the inability to get out things I know perfectly well in my mind but couldn't even begin to outwardly put into words or down on paper which can get very frustrating. I am a very competent driver but yet it took me 6 attempts. I have no idea which is my left and which is my right... If i'm not dyslexic then I don't know what the hells wrong with me!?You cannot put me in a box though as dyslexia comes in all different shapes and forms and affects everyone in different ways but if someone looks at me funny or says something about me being thick or stupid then I will turn and around and tell them that actually I am neither thick or stupid I am actually very bright but suffer from dylexia which makes me shine in different ways that some may not acknowledge. I may not be a banker or a lawyer etc but as a freelance photographer I feel my dyslexia has helped me to develope new stragegies and ways of dealing with every day life in a more creative and maybe sometimes outspoken way.I am now making a name for myself as a freelance photographer after graduating with a 2:1 BA hons degree in Photography and for the 1st time in my life I am being praise for my ability and slowly I am beginning to feel some selfworth. But every day when I have to go out and market myself I dread it incase i get tonguetide or someones going to ask me a question I know in my head how to answer but can't get it out into words.If this man has never experienced these difficult stepping stones to living a basically ordinary life he can't possibly know what it is like or even what he is talking about.

Tom SFJanuary 12th 2009.

Exactly right Mike, this site has Manchester News on it if i am right yes??? The reason why there are 150,000 words ( did u count them or something ? ) is because some people are angry whilst some are in support to Mr Stringer.

will wilsonJanuary 12th 2009.

This is a complete joke. I am dyslexic, but not badly affect, like some people, and I have had 100% private education in some of the top schools in my area. So if these schools are trying to cover up bad schooling then why have not all of the students coming out of these establishments also not got dyslexia??

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

you are an idiot.

AngilegsJanuary 12th 2009.

I'm sure it's lovely to rely on statistics rather than real life and the experiences of real people. What a luzury you have.

KellzoneJanuary 12th 2009.

PS I also want engineers, teachers, dentists and police officers to be able to read and write. I also want MPs to be better-informed on a topic before they expound there views.

RihcadrJanuary 12th 2009.

He's not alone in thinking this, and he's far from ignorant. There is no scientific basis for thinking that there is a part of the brain designed for reading, which is something invented by humans just as evolved as - indeed indistinguishable from - modern humans. Reading is an acquired skill gained by repetition and recognition, first of letters and then of whole words. You might as well assign my mother a syndrome for her inability to grasp Windows XP. Badly educated children ARE labelled as dyslexic, and can actually benefit from this diagnosis in the ways described. What is diagnosed as dyslexia might well be a reading difficulty caused by some other psychological problem or even problems with the retina or eye muscles, but to label Stringer ignorant for actually seeming to have read up on the subject is just wrong.

byslexicJanuary 12th 2009.

what an ignorant tw*t!

KellyJanuary 12th 2009.

Are you trying to tell me downwinder, professor ignorant, paulipips are not showing their ignorance? I think you should read my comment again Jimi C, I didn't comment on the whole article, I find Grahams dyslexia comment poor. FYI I think Graham does have some points, and I fully agree with improving teaching methods, which will inevitably reduce crime and literacy.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

Are you dyslexic Zabzy? Their only appears to be one there? Am i wrong?

Mrs LeesonJanuary 12th 2009.

My daughter who is now 10 years old has had problems since with reading and writing since starting school. She reads very well now, but still has problems writing. She also has significant problems with maths.I had spoken to her teachers on many occassions to discuss these problems but was told that she was slow learner and was making progress slowly. I knew that this was not true due to the fact that she was so intelligent in other areas. We decided to have her assessed ourselves and our fears were confirmed, she suffered from Dyslexia. I wonder if the school would not admit that here was a problem because of the cost. My daughter is not lazy she is very hardworking and always gives 100% in anything she does. I worry about her future and how she will fare when she comes across people like you who dismiss her problems or blame them on the way she was taught. She will have to fight for any extra support throughtout her education - I just hope she has enought fight in her and doesn't give up.I'm sure that if one of your children had problems with reading and writing you would be the first in the queue to have them assessed.

Tom SFJanuary 12th 2009.

Hi Helen, yes of course i will ask Mr Stringer those questions. shall i post the answers on here or email you them? Out of curiosity is Mr Stringer anybody else's MP? If so will this affect whether you vote for him in the next election or not ?

Sharon MJanuary 12th 2009.

his email address is stringerg@parliament.uk ive sent one and not only to him but others but as usual you do not get any responses, well what do you expect.

Mr John GoodwinJanuary 12th 2009.

My father states "as a Cambridge graduate in Chemistry and an Oxford Doctor of Philosophy (DPhil) in the Medical Faculty I can scarcely be accused of being illiterate. However, his life experience proves beyond question that there is a world of difference between being illiterate and Dyslexic. I still remember the terror I experienced at school when I was expected to learn poetry by heart and to spout it in public. The reason is that I have a form of Dyslexia which interrupts the transfer of data between short-term and long-term memory, which has over the years prevented me from rising to the highest levels of my profession, despite total dedication to it. It is a great insult, and potentially defamatory, to have people like Mr Stringer considering that Dyslexia is no more than illiteracy or laziness." I am myself a dyslexic, and I suggest that Mr Stringer talks to "Two Jags" Prescott and Lord Heseltine and see their reactions to this outburst. I am mindful to report him to the Parliamentary Ombudsman for breach of the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 for encouraging others to discriminate against Dyslexics and allied conditions. I wiil be writing to my MP, Dr Vincent Cable, about this crass outburst.

Steve JobsJanuary 12th 2009.

One too many Daily Mail readers blinded by the headline. It would be interesting to see how the percentages of dyslexic children varied between type of school and area and how they ultimately correlate to performance tables.

yyee-yinJanuary 12th 2009.

Reading through my flatmate, Victoria's post, I agree wholeheartedly.I teach older children and I would go further and say it's not just dyslexia that the weaker students are diagnosed as having. For instance, I had a poor learner whose parents had a hippie-like passion for freedom and a firm anti-establishment stance. The child ended up with a statement for attention defiicit disorder.Another child who chatted and giggled, instead of applying himself in my classes, was statemented with short term memory loss.

TRTJanuary 12th 2009.

Incidentally, I've had a number of emails from Nicaraguans and many of them are written in very poor English. They often complain that they cannot afford the medical treatment for their sick relatives, or extra schooling for their genius children. Some, however, are looking to release money tied up in bank accounts for the estates of wealthy individuals, and rather than be greedy and take this money myself, I will put the two in touch.Maybe Mr. Stringer has had similar emails?

Monsieur ControversialJanuary 12th 2009.

Well dyslexia eh? It's all a load of tosh isn't it? The moronic state of our progeny is now established. Why? Because they don't care and nor do their ignorant parents. When they finally sign on all they do is moan about how they never had the opportunities. Even a below average retard (that's a retard that isn't quite as up-to-speed as his retarded peers) could scrape together a bag of GCSE As and A*s. That's all I have to say.

a mumJanuary 12th 2009.

Totally agree - phonics works best for most kids, should be adopted in all schools, and no child should leave primary illiterate. I was horrified last year to find an 11 yr old at the local primary who couldn't read. Equally stunned that there was no concerted effort to sort that out before secondary - to the extent that I volunteered time to help when the school seemed to think there was no problem. Staff for this age group did not understand phonics or current best practise. This sort of thing is failing a significant number of our kids.But PLEASE do not equate this with dyslexia. A small number (maybe 2-4%) of children are genuinely dyslexic. Like my son. He comes from a house full of books, was read to every night & yet had difficulty learning to read. He is literate. Through our hard work. He still at secondary age has problems reading & writing quickly, organising his thoughts, remembering things. He will probably never express himself well on paper.His school have offered him very little in the way of help - most extra things he needs are provided by us.It is very frusrating to read that an MP doesn't believe in something that I see affecting him and other kids.By all means make the case for phonics teaching - it would benefit the majority of kids including dyslexics. But don't throw the baby out with the bath water. Dyslexia does exist - and shouldn't be used as an excuse for poor teaching.PS If you really believe in phonics could you ask Gordon Brown why he is funding the very expensive Reading Recovery programme to the tune of about 10 mill? This is not a phonics based program as reccommend by the Rose review

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

esquilo - ok, as you've stated that this website is dedicated to food, drink, art and entertainment, maybe you would like to explain where in those categories the article these posts are in response to falls (and fictional humour doesn't count)

stunnedJanuary 12th 2009.

dyslexic people are not iliterate. They just need more help and work to become literate. Nicaragua and South Korea do not have literacy rates of nearly 100% and anyone who believes they do, is to use your term "diverse" Many South Korean women living in rural areas do not have the luxury of education. I am dyslexic. School was made so difficult for me, I left at 13. I am now studying for a diploma with no secondry education. I run a sucessful business and at the ripe old age of 29 I own also own 3 houses. I did'nt get where i am without constant reading, research and self education. There are few people that would call me lazy or stupid however i can't spell numbers over ten or the days of the week. My daughter is also dyslexic she reads roof! as floor. Words are like anagrams for her and she needs extra time to translate.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

Another interesting discrepancy in this article is: "There can be no rational reason why this ‘brain disorder’ is of epidemic proportions in Britain but does not appear in South Korea or Nicaragua" ................ I found out that the HQ of the Korea Dyslexia Association is in a little known city called Seoul ..... anyone care to hazard a guess whether thats in North or South Korea?

KarlJanuary 12th 2009.

Mike - You can't genuinely read into the article that Stringer believes that dyslexics are criminals, can you? That seems like reductio ad absurdum to me. Let's not forget he's a politician. Politicians are not scientists; they are, however, in a position to listen to the opinions of scientists and form judgements of their own - indeed, to ignore dissenting voices would be a dereliction of duty. Imagine if all politicians ignored the evidence on global warming, for example. We have a very recent example of this in the shape of GW Bush, and even he has changed his opinion now he doesn't have to act on it. Great progress is made when we seek out the truth, and if the dyslexia apologists would rather live in comfortable darkness than have every single aspect of their supposed condition researched, debated, opposed and maybe even upheld, they are effectively supporting the cessation of progress in their situation.

Playwrite27January 12th 2009.

As an American citizen, I always thought the British were better than us, but this bloke really takes the biscuit! I have a learning disability. It's torture for the learning disabled to go through life, being told by ignorant prats like this MP of yours, that they are not disabled...being told year after year all your life, by peers, teachers and even a parent, that you can "do the work if you want to," even though the very real reality is...no, you can't! You're brain has a glitch in it--it's nothing to do with wanting or not wanting, it's everything to do with some wonky electrical impulse in one side of one's brain--probably that you were born with. This "man" is giving Manchester a bad name...and Britain as well. Who in their right mind wants to be represented by someone who boldly shouts from the rooftops that he's a mentally lazy and cruel prat. It's almost like being in America, listening to this...whatever he is. This prig doesn't help--he hurts--the issue. He hurts me, with his words...words can leave invisible scars, and if this disability nazi doesn't have the b_lls to apologize, than the miserable coward should just go back to his pram where he belongs.

AmusedJanuary 12th 2009.

I noticed that the first few commenters against the article were, as a whole, badly written with many mistakes.I also noticed that nobody seems to mention the most important teachers in a childs life, the parents. Teachers have to teach 30+ children at a time and can't use different methods for each one. Surely then, if parents see their child is struggling they should step in and ensure that they bring their child up to the required level.The same goes for discipline in schools, children should be taught respect and manners at home first.

HelenJanuary 12th 2009.

I see you are living up to your screen name Professor Ignorant!Who are you to tell us how to use this forum and FYI that is far from a full bibliography!

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

I am disgusted at some of the comments. My 16 year old son is dyslexic. He has received no help or support or computer and the stress he has been under is immense. He has taught himself to read and write, now attends college and has never caused us any trouble. Due to the stress he also battles with ME (probably another myth) but he is winning and on his own. What he has achieved personally is remarkable and he has only just started.

ATC talks bolloxJanuary 12th 2009.

See link This girl has half a brain and she's not dyslexic.Get a real job you numpty.http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8159631.stm

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

I have dyslexia, it does exist. I am 42 and I can read perfectly well, and enjoy reading, but I still read very slowly compared to my 11 yr old son, who can probably read about twice as fast as me. My hand writing it also slow and poor quality, but not for the lack of trying, and I have problems with spelling - I simply can't see that a word is spelt wrong in the way most people can - I could look at 10 different spellings of the same word and they would all look fine to me, fortunately they do not look correct to the computer.When I was at school dyslexia was not recognised and I was labelled stupid, when in fact I am an extremely gifted and intelligent individual with an IQ of 142.It is this kind of ignorant bigotry that labelled me stupid - this country should not waste the potential of some extremely talented individuals because of this ignorant bigot. This MP's remarks are as offensive to me as telling a disabled person in a wheel chair they are faking it and should pull themselves together and walk. He should research his subject more carefully before opening his mouth - starting with "The Gift of Dyslexia" by Dr Thomas West - featured in a Ch4 documentary on the subject.

leonaJanuary 12th 2009.

there are many other famous dyslexics...heres a few Hans Christian Andersen, Agatha Christie, Richard Branson, Woodrow Wilson, George Washington, Muhammad Ali, Cher, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, Leonardo da Vinci, Alexander Bell, Thomas Edison, as we know Albert Einstein, Robin Williams, Keanu Reeves, Kiera Knightley, Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Cruise and Orlando Bloom. there are many others including brain surgeons and nobel prize winners! they couldnt all be lazy victims of a bad education could they? i mean many went to private schools? and did great work, inveted things, created thoeries, proved theories etc!

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

I can't believe this was published! Just because somebody suffers from Dyslexia, it doesn't mean that they are illiterate or any less intelligent than people who do not suffer from it. This is absolutely ridiculous and offensive! I don't have Dyslexia, but I have friends who do have it, as well as their degrees and careers. Therefore they're clearly not illiterate. I cannot believe that somebody actually commissioned this article to be written in the first place!

leighJanuary 12th 2009.

Dear Editorial-Do you intend getting a response from Graham Stringer?Perhaps he is still writing it?

Kasper HauserJanuary 12th 2009.

Stringer is 100% right. Dsylexai is a mtyh!!

ClareJanuary 12th 2009.

I felt So frustrated and angry after reading this article. How can this sorry excuse of a man truely believe its a myth.What he has written is totally without compassion or feeling towards anyone who struggles every waking hour with Dyslexia.Try and explain to my nine year old who works extremely hard doing extra reading and writing every day that she doesnt have Dyslexia.A girl who cries because she still mixes up her ds and bs,a girl who gets upset because her seven year old brother can read better than she can. And no its not poor teaching, she attends one of the best schools in the area.It seems to me that people do extreme things in order to get attention. Cant wait for the next election!

dolfrogJanuary 12th 2009.

Graham Stringer has no idea what dyslexiais and he has no idea how dyalexia relates to literacy.Being illiterate is not eh same as being Dyslexic.Illiteracy can be caused by poor teaching methods and synthetic phonics is only best suited to those who do not have a listening disability and are able to improve their listening skills.The myth that surrounds dyslexia is thge claim by some agencies that dyslexia is a neurological condition in its own right. Dyslexia is a man made problem which is about having problems accessing the visual notation of speech, which in our culture is called the written word. There are nuerological conditions which cause both auditory and Visual disabilities, which share a common symptom of dyslexia. These neurlogicla conditions include Auditory Processing Disorder, Visual Processing Disorder and Scoptic Sensitivity Syndrome, and some other sensory and motor deficits.As professor Elliot pointed outdyslexia is not a condtion but it has many uinderlying neurological causes of the dyslexcic symptoms, which is bourn our by most of the peer reviewed research into dyslexia.So Mr Stringer do your research before opening your mouth again to discriminate against the disabled.

Stevenage_saintJanuary 12th 2009.

I am classed as dyslexic and in my case I was not diagnosed until I was doing my A Levels. I have always had poor handwriting, and struggled spelling but nobody ever thought about dyslexia. When tested I was diagnosed with mild dyslexia. One thing that was noted my symptons were made worse when the school changed from Blackboards to White Boards. In many places Mr Stringer talks about how many have white boads or the electronic white boards. After being tested by UMIST in Manchester I now wear tinted glasses and this helps me in my day to day work. Mr Stringer should look in to the problem more and understand how it affects people before making comments.

Andrew WalesJanuary 12th 2009.

I find it disgraceful that someone who is an elected MP can peddle such ignorant perfidious nonsense. Dyslexia is not a "fictional malady" any more than the earth is flat and Mr Stringer further underlines his ignorance when he equates it solely with literacy problems.I had always assume that the Labour Party existed to fight prejudice, rather than to pedal and re-inforce it. Mr Stringer has acted irresponsibly and I will be saddened if his Party does not seek to take action against him as a result.

Thoroughbred MancJanuary 12th 2009.

This article has just been covered on Five lunchtime news...

HelenJanuary 12th 2009.

Hi Tom SF, Could you post them on here please? Thank you

silence is goldenJanuary 12th 2009.

Graham stringer does read these rants and Graham stringer is also well aware of the response he has achived.Graham stringer appears more and more arrogant as the seconds tick by with no response to the rift of questioning he has caused.

DavidJanuary 12th 2009.

Much of this article is very silly. I have seen dyslexic pupils and the substantial improvement in their literacy skills when they receive teaching that addresses their needs.Of course, lack of literacy is really damaging for children, and of course phonics can be an excellent way of teaching. None of this means that dyslexia isn't real, though, and we need to provide every young person with the kind of teaching that they need, which is not necessarily the same for everyone.Don't rubbish dyslexia; help the dyslexic!

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

Tom, the views are indeed only held by stringer himself and not the party as a whole, but the fact that he has made them in open forum while stating himself as the MP for Blackley automatically makes the connection between him and the party ..... If the Labour Party do not wish to be associated with this view, then they should distance themselves from it specifically.

KarlJanuary 12th 2009.

Stringer has high expenses. Ergo, his opinions on anything are bound to be wrong. Can we stick to the point, please? We might get somewhere.

Marilyn GuyJanuary 12th 2009.

Well you achieved it, another political gaff but it got the response you wanted huge publicity and contraversy, well done. Only it made you look the stupid one for not researching your topic! A classful of pupils, all taught by the same teacher, same methods, yet only one suffers this terrible affliction, even its subblings can read & write. I know I have spent years giving extra help to one daughter who is dyslexic. She is very artistic, gained her exams, trained as a jeweller, opened her own high street shop, employes 4 p/t staff and designs and makes some of the jewellery, plus won awards for her success. She is clearly far from stupid, unwilling or unable to be taught, or as you put it "confussed by teaching methods". Don't you think that you, in your positon of MP should do some research before giving your opinion so publicly on a topic you clearly know nothing about, but then as I said, it got you the public profile to further your political career, never mind the people you upset.

LukeJanuary 12th 2009.

How disappointing to find a man who clearly has a level of intelligence using it to score headlines rather than research the whole issue. Yes, he researched literacy but did he get bored at that point? Literacy and dyslexia are too different things (for example does Mr Stringer think synthetic phonics will help my short term memory or instinctively know left from right – I’d like to see that). I have a degree and have a good career but struggled with writing in school. I spent more time on my GCSE English (for which I got a ‘B’) than on all the other subjects combined. I was only diagnosed at university and then only because I decided to get tested due to things pointed out on the Cosby Show, not because of people in education spotting it. When I was diagnosed my first question was what can I do about it – the response you will get off most people. Yes there will be lazy people trying to get what they can - show me an area of society (around the world) where this isn’t the case. As many of the people with personal involvement who have replied to this have pointed out, getting help from the education system is not easy. They don’t hand things out at the drop of a hat. Most people want support. Yes a laptop is nice but it’s an easy answer, not a proper one. The information is out there and the different methods of learning such as synthetic phonics will help but it often takes more effort than should be necessary to get that support. Well done to Mr Stringer in comparing a few statistics and coming to a conclusion. I can do that too. South Korea has 121 people per 100,000 in jail and Northern Ireland only 30 (World Prison Population List 2007 – International Centre for Prison Studies, King’s College London). Does this mean increasing literacy in Northern Ireland will increase the number of people committing crimes? No, not unless you are Mr Stringer. As for the editor who is now welcoming a response from a qualified person – did you used to work on the Russell Brand show? Your level of editorial control is non existent. Asking for a response after publishing an article that is this offensive to a significant proportion of the population is a bit late to say the least.If only you’d done a synthetic phonics course because apparently that solves everything!

EdwinJanuary 12th 2009.

Graham Stringer is right about this - but it wasn't an excuse invented by our schools. It was invented by educationalists, who have virtually nothing to do with the actual business of teaching real children. and they have made a lot of money and a lot else out of the idea.

Tim RJanuary 12th 2009.

I have dyslexia, I often have to read and then re-read sentences to make sense of them, I can only remember telephone numbers in 3 number sequences and I dont write cheques because I spell the number incorrectly (let alone the names).I wasn't picked up as dyslexic until I was 20 years old even though I was picked up as a 'gifted' child at school with an IQ of 154. Subsequently, because I couldn't copy off the blackboard and couldn't add up simple numbers in Maths I was labelled as lazy and troublesome.. this was the late 70's early 80's and Dyslexia wasnt even on the radar as far as my teachers were concerned. I was encouraged to leave school at 16 and apply for a job at the local meat-packers.However I was a smart kid, I learned strategies to help me over come my problems and to cut a long story short I now have 2 degrees from major universities, I have written for the Guardian, I have co-authored academic papers, and written for magazines on subjects as wide as music and philosophy.Dyslexia is real, though no doubt some people are being labelled as dyslexic who are not, but it is very complicated (its not like having high blood pressure or a lazy eye) it comes down to how our brains are wired, how they interpret the world we see and interactive with, how it process and stores data. To write it off as nothing more than a convenient excuse for poor education is nothing more than a demonstration of ignorance.

maccaJanuary 12th 2009.

Dyslexics Question The Existence of Graham StringerDyslexics today questioned the existence of Graham Stringer MP.The Manchester Blackley MP was labelled "a cruel fiction", who should be consigned to "the dustbin of history".Stringer insisted he was "very real" to the 6 million people in the UK affected by him.However, dyslexics said millions of pounds were being wasted on what they called a "false" MP."The establishment, rather than admit that their eclectic and incomplete methods for instruction are at fault, have invented an MP called Graham Stringer," they said."To label Graham Stringer an MP because he's confused by poor teaching methods is wicked."If Graham Stringer really existed then countries as diverse as Nicaragua and South Korea would not have been able to achieve literacy rates of nearly 100%. There can be no rational reason why this 'brain disorder' is of epidemic proportions in Britain but Graham Stringer does not appear in South Korea or Nicaragua."They claim the "fictional malady" has also been wiped out in West Dunbartonshire, and research has conclusively proven that Graham Stringer MP does not exist in that particular area of Scotland.A spokesman for the Department for Children, Schools and Families said the government was supportive of Graham Stringer: "We understand the distress and frustration that the parents of Graham Stringer feel so keenly," he said."Often they have endured years of struggle trying to get extra help to overcome their child's difficulties. That is why the government is working with a number of organisations to identify and promote best practice in identifying and supporting Graham Stringer."A spokesman for Mr Stringer said: "Once again Graham Stringer seems to be making the headlines for all the wrong reasons."It is frustrating that the focus should be on whether Graham Stringer exists or not, when there is so much evidence to support that he does.""Many people assume that literacy will solve the issue of Graham Stringer MP, however although many Graham Stringers have acquired the skills of reading, there is no doubt that they still remain Graham Stringer," the spokesman said."It is concerning that dyslexics do not recognise Graham Stringer, who affects 10% of his constituents, even though his government have taken steps to make sure Graham

cannonball111January 12th 2009.

Dyslexia a myth? Why only a few weeks ago a secretive Family Court "expert" determined that Welsh medium courts retard children (www.walesonline.co.uk/…/….) In the meantime the same courts routinely determine that autism is caused by women with MSBP - or through witchcraft (not sure which) or demonic possession (it's one or the other, or all of them.)Why stop at dyslexia? How about schizophrenia Graham? Cerebal palsy (aren't these folk drooling just to get a free laptop?) Downe's syndrome (aren't these kids just acting it up to get a free laptop?)Think of the money that could be saved by denying such conditions support - hang on! That's what New Labour do in any case! By gum Graham, you've tapped a rich vein here - appealing to those who like to roll out dyslexia jokes and at the same time not denying yourself the opportunity to write about your own personal prejudices.

RobocopJanuary 12th 2009.

Dyslexia is REAL.So is Ignorance.Dyslexia can be counteracted.Can your ignorance be counteracted too, I wonder?Don't throw the bay out with the bath water. Maybe phonics is a better solution for the teaching of reading than others used elsewhere.That does not logically mean that dyslexia doesn't exist.Indeed many of our most literate, numerate & creative individuals, scientists, artists, performers & entrepreneurs are dyslexic and will remain so until their last breath.True one should not abuse labels or specific names of conditions as a blanket excuse. Surely it is those who do use ADD & Dyslexia as blanket excuses that results in this kind of knee jerk reactionary indulgence in pig headed ignorance upon Mr Stringer's part.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

Anonymous academic: .... Mr Stringers 'factually based' comments are in actuality based on literacy rates in prisons and a very spurious link to the dyslexic condition, however he has missed a few critical points ..... 1: As Dyslexia has been around as a recognised condition since the late 19th century, and more has been found out about it with every passing decade, how can it possibly be linked to a way of teaching that has changed constantly over the last 130 years? ..... 2: As dyslexia is a worldwide condition, and each country has different ways of teaching, how can it be linked to an educational system at all? ..... 3: German Genetic scientists (with a little more knowledge on the matter than Mr Stringer) have found a Gene which they believe is the genetic cause of the condition, how is that possible if it doesn't exist? ..... 4: As dyslexia is in effect the mildest form of autism, does that also mean that Autism itself is a figment of peoples imaginations? ............... Tom, Thanks for the reply, you'll have to keep us updated on what he says.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

I am dyslexic (actually dyscalculic, but they're very similar). I was also priviledged to have enjoyed the best education money can buy. It hasn't changed my disability, I still have it. I struggle with the most basic maths, including making change in the shops and telling the time. I've never set foot in a state school in my life, so you can't blame the condition on the state system or poor education. I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I hadn't at least had the support of a good education. Denying the existence of the problem only makes things worse for people in my situation, and removes any chance we have at a normal life. I see statements like this as incredibly dangerous.

RobJanuary 12th 2009.

I do not mean to knock colour blind people it is an analogy to discrible dylexia too some one who is not dylexicI know nothing about the condition of being colour blind but if I was an M.p writing an artical about it I,d study the subject in depth or better still ask someone who is colour blind.Ask your self this though Mr Wizard of Oz ,do you object to my using the colour blind as an anology in which case I apoagise for the offence or are you annoyed about dyslexics defending them selves on this forum?

KarlJanuary 12th 2009.

Good point, Frank! I'll drop the doctor, just like Gillian McKeith did. It didn't do her any harm!

Nic ConnerJanuary 12th 2009.

Mr Stringer MP said on manchesterconfidential.com that dyslexia is a 'cruel fiction'. He claims this is nothing more than a conspiracy to hide bad teaching. He tells us that there are 'well known methods for teaching everybody to read and write'. Well the well known methods to read and write obviously did not work for me. As I was the only child in my class not able to read or write this shows that either the teacher was teaching the right way to all the class apart from me or that I am too stupid to learn. It was none of the above I am in fact Dyslexic. I left the state primary school to attend a prep school which was specifically for Dyslexic children (Appleford Prep School, Wiltshire). Whilst I was there my parents undertook in a tribunal against my local education authority (LEA) in order to get me a statement proving I was Dyslexic and had specific learning requirements. After an independent educational psychologist (EP) report said that I was indeed severely Dyslexic. I took an IQ test the results of which showed that I scored high marks on all aspects of the test apart form my ability to read and write. If this was omitted from the IQ test then my IQ would be in the top 2% of the nation. The LEA sent out their own EP who had reservation as to the existence of dyslexia, but after testing me he wrote in his report that there is no doubt that I am Dyslexic and that I need specialist teaching so that I could achieve my intellectual potential.I learnt a lot whilst at Appleford, but when the time came to begin secondary school I was still severely Dyslexic this required I joined another specialist school which had a ‘whole school’ approach to dyslexia. This school (Mark College, Somerset) was run by an expert in the field of dyslexia (Dr Steve Chinn) the school only employed teachers highly specialised and experienced in teaching children with dyslexia. During my time at the school my Farther past away, my Mother was unable to pay the school fees so she went back the LEA. The LEA could not prove that any school in my area could give me the education I required so I was fully funded by my LEA. The support of my LEA allowing me the specialised schooling paid off, though I had a reading age of 11 and a spelling age of 9, I past my all GCES's grades from A* to C (with the help of a reader and scribe and in addition to extra time).I had to move to a new school which provided a Sixth Form for my A levels. I had to visit all the colleges and Sixth Forms at schools local to my home to see if they would be able to accommodate my needs. None could.lso managed to secure LEA funding for my Sixth Form at another school with a whole school approach to dyslexia (St David’s College, Llandudno) but this time it also took in pupils who where 'normal'. I studded English Lit, History and Phillphy of which I past all three with grad B and above.I would also like to know on what authority or indeed experience Mr Stringer had to justify his claim that Dyslexia does not exist. Since when do we take Nicaraguan figures to be true? Or the fact that in South Korea only 4.6% of the populous are educated, but to what level can they read and write? As a Dyslexic I can read and write, but not to a high level. I would happily meet Mr Stringer to discuss my Dyslexia if he wishes. I can ashore you and him that I am indeed a Dyslexic and that the specialised teaching does in fact work.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

"....an analytical chemist in the plastics industry." That's a great qualification for understanding and commenting on dyslexia. He is pig ignorant at best!!

Mark TownsonJanuary 12th 2009.

On hearing what this MP has said about dyslexia, I am absolutely appalled and disgusted on the actual thoughts of an MP who has nothing better to do than slag off quite a large minority of peopl with certain problems. I am 36 years old, I have had problems with dyslexia since 1988, after I was diagnosed with it. I would like this MP to have one day in my shoes while I was at school and I bet all the tea in China that this so-called MP would be running home crying to his mummy after living one day in my shoes. Its okay having a silver spoon shoved up my arse from birth but unfortunately I didn't have a silver spoon, I had dyslexia. I apologise if the readers are offended with the way I put myself across but as I have said, I am appalled by this jumped-up MP who has possibly never had any experience of dyslexia, therefore, I think he should be fired for his comments, not just disciplined, a smack on the hand. An MP is supposed to be the voice of the people, not slag them off and make them feel small and inadequate. It is a scientific fact that dyslexia exists and you ask anybody who has dyslexia how hard it is to live day to day life. I hope this MP reads this and all the other comments that people have left. I am very sorry but I think that this particular website should not have published this article. People go on about discrimintation, colour, race etc, from where I am standing, I have just been discriminated against because I am not as clever as this SO-CALLED MP. Thank you.

Dyslexia studentJanuary 12th 2009.

DYSLEXIA IS NOT A MYTH.What the Mr I'm-going-to-call-everyone-stupid Stringer talks about, as AD states, is an ignorant ill considered and inaccurate piece of writing. HE clearly doesn't consider all possible facts that can occur in this accusation as i see it and many others i'm sure will too. Firstly, he ignores all the scientific tests and results that have been conducted with the question 'Is there such a thing as dyslexia?', such as the genetic resoning that can be used to oppose why it isn't as diverse in countries such as Nicaragua and South Korea, and the Neurological + Cogntive evidence to support the diffenert functions and brain process ijn Dyslexic minds. Meanwhile, he is also using crinimal activity in his resoning and blames illiteracy when he doesn't look at other causes of crimes such as family or social experiences personnal to the human being and only balming it on the teaching system that the government themselves approve of and keep regular checks and progress reports of. Then there is the fact that NOT ALL dyslexica are under-achieved or illiterate as he implays, otherwises how do you think that i am here in a college if i am an under-achiever because i'm dyslexic. Looking back at his numbers that he has provided with the issue about other countries, he hasn't provided any hard evidence of the 'nearly 100% literacy rates' for Nicaragua and South Korea showing that it is accurate and consistent. If he had said recent reports prove such and such, i would have been a little more persuaded by his reasoning.In the end, as a conclusion, it turns out that Mr. Stringer is just throwing around unsupported accusations, and blaming it on the teaching methods. And it is totally unacceptable and ridiculous. He has no right what so ever to make such statements.

Roger RelevantJanuary 12th 2009.

What a fool! He seems to be confusing dyslexia with literacy. If it really was the case that dyslexia was as a direct result of poor teaching methods then it surely stands to reason that entire classes of children would be classed as dyslexic, on account that they will all have been subject to the same teaching methods. Clearly there is something that inhibits 6m people in the UK learning in the same way and at the same speed as the majority of the population. I suffer from Dyslexia, however it did not present itself in my reading ability, but in my spelling (thank god for spell check!).Dyslexia is as connected to poor teaching as ADHD is to poor parenting! I must say for an elected Member of Parliament his argument construction is pretty poor, and full of holes… oh hang on… he’s a Labour MP!

PaulyJanuary 12th 2009.

Sorry I didn't realise it would appear like that or I would of put commas in.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

I think that this is a very ill considered comment about Dyslexia.Dyslexia is a leraning disorder that I have had for over 35 years. I have learnt techniques such as mind mapping to solve the difficulties i have with the condition. Dyslexia is the same as someone with sight issues. You would not stop them from wearing glasses!!! So it is the same with Dyslexia, it the putting of a 'name' to a learning problem that can be overcome with other teaching methods. I concur that there may be abuses of the system that was created to help people with dyslexia, but that is the problem of the system not of dyslexia.Allowances should be made for people with a diagnosed learning problem and yes, there should be a greater use of different teaching styles in school which would help to give all people the chnace to achieve their full potential. But please don't through the baby out with the bath water. Dyslexia as a condition exists.

STRANGE WAYSJanuary 12th 2009.

This is something I happen to know quite a lot about - much of it through first-hand experience having been a secondary school teacher for three decades. I thought the days when idiots like this say 'It's a middle-class umbrella term to cover up the fact that some kids are thick' were long gone. How sad and how depressing to know that someone in a position of responsibility and accountability is uttering this nonsense. Perhaps he'd like to share the evidence base supporting his hypothesis with the rest of us? Having exposed his ignorance in this manner can any credence be given to anything else this fool says?

HelenJanuary 12th 2009.

Secreto- have you not heard of spell check?- there goes your argument lol!

answer to benJanuary 12th 2009.

I think the key is - dyslexia isn't an excuse to be illiterate, it's just harder to learn than the average person. The brain functions in a different way. I'm dyslexic, but i'm not illiterate. Maybe Dunbartonshire have a fantastic teaching resource - going by their results - which means everyone is up to speed.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

I've just re-read the whole article again and it sounds almost like a denial/justification piece ..... I wonder if Mr Stringer has been diagnosed as Dyslexic himself at any point?

esquiloJanuary 12th 2009.

or even "Leave".Not that the dyslexics would've noticed. Obv.

PrincessJanuary 12th 2009.

I have 10 A's and A*'s a GCSE and 3 A's and a B at A level.... Not to mention a university degree.I wonder how Mr Stringer would explain my dyslexia?Clearly i can read and write, and have not been taught poorly. So how exactly does someone with my academic achievments get diagnosed as (severly) dyslexic. I really am curious.Also, he should probably get his facts straight in the case of the medical student. She has not asked not to sit written exams, in fact, quite the opposite. At her medical school all end of year exams are multiple choice questions. She performs very well in her written assignments and has requested that she be allowed to take an alternative written test.

Professor ChucklebuttyJanuary 12th 2009.

If Mr Stringer had read the email properly, we could have avoided all this fuss. He was asked to do a piece on DYSPEPSIA following his foul wind during lunch the other week.

Anonymous_28January 12th 2009.

I am appalled by the blatant discrimination about this genuine disorder, and equally shocked at some of the comments posted here! I am dyslexic but have developed coping strategies in order to achieve a 1st class science degree and a PhD, and have a successful career as an academic scientist. It is incredibly ignorant to suggest the difficulties experienced by people with dyslexia are due to ‘laziness’, do you not think that if we had a choice we would prefer not to struggle through?. Despite all the best will in the world dyslexia can be very hard to cope with and I would suggest that unless you suffer from it you are in no position to judge or discriminate.

MeJanuary 12th 2009.

What an idiot. There is enormous amount of evidence to support the existence of this disorder. The reason it is difficult to pin down is because there a a large number of causes. Dislexia is an umbrella term for many conditions, a bit like the word cancer covers many underlying conditions. Before a child with dislexia is treated by a specialist they are tested to see what the causes are in their particular case.Many children with dislexia have an issue that means their working memory is severely impaired, or in other words a brain disorder, not something made up. The fact that many countries do not suffer from dislexia is well documented and is believed to be because their written language is constructed differently from ours, for example in some cases it is phonetic when our is not.Dislexia is also a spectrum, so I am sure there will be some for which another teaching method might have worked better, and perhaps even cured it, but to make this ridiculous claim that it does not exist is biggotry in the extreme.People with dislexia need a lot of ssupport to teach them strategies to oovercome this disabilitating condition. They need our support, not this ridiculous rant. Literacy is so basic that without it a small minority fall out of society and end up in Strangeways. If we don't want this to happen in the future we need to provide more help, not less. Sufferers are taught strategies to overcome their shortfalls. Mr Stringer is paid a lot of money but that strategy does not seem to be help his afliction of biggotry. Perhaps a short period out of work by being voted out will teach him that someone in such a public position should check their facts first and perhaps consult and expert!

ChippychapJanuary 12th 2009.

AND, if you throw women into the water the ones that float are witches.Moron.

AndrewJanuary 12th 2009.

Graham are a complete idiot. I have dyslexia and believe me it is very real and whilst I was growing up not very nice. I have learnt overtime lots of coping methods which I use every minute of every day. I now have an Electronic Engineering degree and a very good job thanks some very good teachers who recongised the dyslexia and helped me deal with it. Like I said you are a complete idiot.

echo734January 12th 2009.

Wow, never previously been a fan of Graham Stringer, but I agree with his comments. Nice to see someone with influence putting his head above the parapet!!

Oh dearJanuary 12th 2009.

I'd agree with the person who called Stringer's dribble 'tripe writing' except I quite like tripe. It is nonsense, the worst kind of ignorant gob-on-a-stickness that MPs given their position in society should avoid. A few things worth noting:1. Comparing statistics across countries can be very misleading for a variety of reasons. E.g. some countries exclude all children with special educational needs from mainstream schools and therefore statistical measures of mainstream literacy/numeracy, etc; our UK statistics include the whole school age population.2. Languages vary in their decodability, particularly around grapho-phoneme correspondence (the relationship between sounds and letters). English is rather irregular; Italian, e.g., isn't. English is a relatively more difficult language to learn.3. Research shows a physiological basis for dyslexia to do with the transit of visual signals to the brain. The work of Prof John Stein at Oxford University is where little Graham needs to look.Stringer describes the 'educational establishment' (who they?) as 'wicked'. The wickedness is in his puffed-up, willful ignorance. Buffoon.

Sharon MJanuary 12th 2009.

My son has had just this year, 2 education phsycologist assessments, which might i add you need to get an independant assessment as the LEA assessments go in favour of the budget and not your child !! 1 of which I have paid for, and a speech and language assessment which I have had to pay for which have dug very deep into Jack's issues, thus resulting in a diagnosis of dyslexia, hyperlexia, dyscalculia, asbergers and autism and the LEA are still refusing that their is anything drastically wrong with him. I have received their statement for the tribunal and it all comes down to the fact that they do not want to use their budget to pay for him to be educated properly. I have got it in black and white its harrendous !

teacherJanuary 12th 2009.

Simply put dyslexia is the difference between IQ and ability (i.e. high iq but low ability) showing that the person is not functioning at their full potential. Being thick.... is matching low intelligence and ability. I think that this gentleman is demonstrating the latter... he clearly has NEVER taught a person who is dyslexic.

TempleJanuary 12th 2009.

Mr Stringer has (like so many modern politicians) gone a step too far, in equating poor or no literacy with dyslexia as though the two are synonymous. Many people have commented on how they have aided a child with managing the functional impact of having difficulties learning to read (i.e. that is ONE of the symptoms of their dyslexia). It is likely that the time and effort you have invested has paid off, and your child will feel more confident, and probably have a closer relationship with you as a result, as well as being better equipped for secondary school.If Stringer had not started making misinformed comments in respect of a recognised condition of which he is not an expert, then he would have made a valid contribution to the debate on childhood literacy issues.The reason there are problems with this is not just down to lazy teachers, or even indifferent and/or busy parents (who are most certainly responsible to a degree and should not try to shirk their obligations to the lives they brought into being). The government has used education as a battle front for a large number of years, prompting change in policy almost annually and certainly with changes of government at both a national and local level. I have a friend on a teaching degree (year 3 at a leading London school for such things) who was taught methods and approaches in year 1 that are obselete now. We need a consistent approach to be used, so that teaching assistants use the correct phonics pronounciation (if that method is choosen) or teachers, students and assistants can all develop expertise and refined skills for supporting primary school children. Some kids will always do better than others, but we should stop aiming for New Labour's lowest common denominator 'equality' and just help each child do the best they can, with the necessary support. There is no panacea for illiteracy for certain, but perpetual change and blaming teachers exacerbates the problem rather than containing it.

Frank VJanuary 12th 2009.

D WilliamsAn interesting post. However, I think it a poor indication of society, when we call for people to be censored, regardless of how misjudged their views may be. We live in a democratic society, where the Rt. Honourable Graham Stringer's career, will live and die on his comments. I would give example of the BNP representatives who were not allowed to take part in open debate at Cambridge University. The day we prohibit open debate, we condemn ourselves to ignorance and give up our freedom to the state.

mark bakerJanuary 12th 2009.

as a dyslexia sufferer, with a son and daughter with dyslexia and part of a family that they used to isolate a dyslexia gene, i have found that there are no Nicaraguan or South Koreans in my family. Thank you for clearing this up. As a member of the labour party, i have a feeling that yopur job may not exist soon, does nicaragua have any vacancies for you?

john greenhalghJanuary 12th 2009.

What a fool this coming from an MP is a total discrace he should resign his seat god help us with bigots like him in charge of our country. My son suffers with dyslexia, so i know the problems it causes, through sheer hard work he was accepted by Worcester University in 2008 but had very little help from our education system untill he arrived at uni.

AndreaJanuary 12th 2009.

This ill-considered article is an affront to all those students, parents and teachers who work so very hard to enable the students to reach their potential.

DownwinderJanuary 12th 2009.

I might have agreed with the premises of this article before I got Multiple Sclerosis. Now that I have experienced the results of brain damage and dysfunction I will have to say that the author has his head someplace where the sun doesn't shine.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

Amused may hava apoint about parental input but there are many parents out there who have struggled to get help with their children's learning difficulties due to lack of finance/time/teacher awareness of specific learning needs etc in our education system. It is easy to distinguish learning difficulties when your child reads words backwards, wants the same book over and over, can't tell left from right, learn the time, doesn't want to go to school. It took until my daughter went to college and 18 yrs to get her dyslexia diagnosed and her university assessment to help me identify my own dyslexia, diagnosed at age 48, My greatest stress in life is from smart alecs who will not accept that some of us work differently. G.S is clearly misguided in his assumption that Dyslexia is poor reading and writing, it is much more complex. It doesn't make an individual a criminal, many of these have also been failed by the education system and probably a genetic inheritance from parents who weren't helped either. As a health visitor I see many families where these experiences are being perpetuated by young parents who themselves received poor parenting.

PaulyJanuary 12th 2009.

Ashley's Vibrating Bumhole, check your spelling!!! *hands you a pickaxe*

I'm starting a facebook groupJanuary 12th 2009.

'Kevin Peel - get out of my life'

foobooJanuary 12th 2009.

Those last two posts made no sense...who would want to trust their health to someone who hadn't put the time in and qualified to actually know how to safely treat you.And computers only know what humans tell them. They aren't the machines from comics that can do your homework for you. A human who knows their subject has to put the info in to them in order for them to be able to give out that info. Understanding how to use a computer is no substitute from learning your subject of interest yourself.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

Karl - That is true, advancement in science is based on challenging opinions, and Mr Stringer has definitely done that part of it ..... the problem lies in the fact that he has no evidence to refute the current standing on Dyslexia ..... and the evidence he claims to have, as shown on previous posts, is either incorrect or at best spurious. Also with the way he words the article, he makes an insinuation that most dyslexics are criminally inclined by the nature of the condition, which is also a fallacy. Even his view of the discovery of the condition show his research on the subject to be lacking (if he ever did any at all) in that he claims it was the educational establishment that 'created' dyslexia, where the truth lies far further back, and in the medical industry.

PokerPaulJanuary 12th 2009.

Good point Pauly here are some more for the Ignoramus: Winston Churchill, John T Chambers,CEO of Cisco Systems. Henry Ford. William Hewlett, Co-Founder, Hewlett-Packard. F. Scott Fitzgerald.

CherryFairyJanuary 12th 2009.

"There can be no rational reason why this 'brain disorder' is of epidemic proportions in Britain but does not appear in South Korea or Nicaragua." Perhaps, had MP Stringer done his research, he would realise that one very rational explanation is that different alphabets require different depths of decoding. South Korean reading difficulties would not manifest in the same ways as those in English, hence the '100%' reading accuracy. Dyslexia in a language like Korean would show up in reading RATES rather than ERRORS. Perhaps Mr. Stringer would like to do some reading os his own next time.

D WilliamsJanuary 12th 2009.

I could comment that in the past 5 year Graham Stringer MP has ranked 1st twice out of 657 MPs for additional cost allowance on his expenses, As I know nothing about what these costs involve I would be in my view irresponsible to comment. It should be noted that as far as I know Mr. Stringer has no interest in any committees or topics of interest relating school aged education. To note further I believe that Mr. Stringer has conducted no educational research, has no background and has not referenced a single educational paper. His comments in my opinion have as much academic rigger as would be expected from an 8 year old pontificating on the plastics industry (Mr. Stringer area of expertise).SPLD dyslexia isn't an excuse to be illiterate; it's just harder to achieve certain processing skills than the average person. As with any cross section of society there are low ability, average and high ability people, this is no different for Dyslexia. The brain functions in a different way for dyslexics; this is shown in many studies of brain activity. Normal readers are found to use the left side of the brain in reading. By contrast, competent dyslexic readers use the right side of the brain; further to this, the more competent the dyslexic reader is, the less likely they are to use the left-hand side of the brain: “Dyslexics who read well consistently bypass the left temporal region." (Abigail Marshall 2003). I'm dyslexic, but I am not illiterate. Having had a low reading age at primary school I received a 1st for my thesis and have had educational research papers published. Interesting point, A one legged man who has a false limb is able to walk. Does this mean that the disability does not exist? “Dyslexia is a myth invented by education chiefs to cover up poor teaching methods” Obviously a very old myth! Orton (1937) claimed that reversible letters (b/d. q/p) were literally perceived wrongly by dyslexic readers either through a lack of suppression of the mirror image, produced by the alternate hemisphere of the brain; or through misperception based on incomplete visual information being obtained from the stimulus. Or not quite as old: "Dyslexia an inability to read normally as a result of a dysfunction in the brain". Myklebust and Johnson (1962) Although individuals can learn to read, reading is never fully mastered by anyone. Definitions of what exactly dyslexia is have varied over the years, but there is a broad consensus that it is a phonological memory problem.My belief is that public officials that think this kind of ignorant, tabloid nonsense is appropriate for public forum despite breaking the “Disability Discrimination Act” (1995) should not be in office. Mr. Stringers actions, by association, bring his party into disrepute and provide in my opinion strong grounds for his resignation.Mr D Williams Reference:Marshall, A 2003 www.dyslexia.com/…/different_pathways.htmMykebust…, HR and Johnson, DJ 1962 "Dyslexia in children" Exceptional Children, 29 14. In Naidoo, S 1972 "Specific dyslexia" Chap. 2 London: Pitman.Orton, ST 1937 "Reading, writing and speech problems in children." New York: Norton.Reid, G 2003 Dyslexia A Practitioner’s Handbook Wiley p7Singleton C 1999 : Dyslexia in Higher Education - Policy, Provision and Practice (Report of the National Working Party on Dyslexia in Higher Education). University of Hull.

UxterJanuary 12th 2009.

this guy is obviously a tawt!

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

Blue Peter, I think you'll find that people don't object to Mr Stringer airing his views on any matter, regardless of whether they agree with him or not ..... the problem has arisen that he has presented his views as fact when they are quite clearly not (as supported by medical evidence).

oops - i'm rushing - now i've got a my instead of meJanuary 12th 2009.

oops. x

Tim ManionJanuary 12th 2009.

Chris, given Stringer's comments here and other pieces he's put on Mancon I'm not sure you could call him careerist. To deny dyslexia is real is probably not Labour Party policy.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

CrisisSurfer - I would agree with you on the point that dyslexia is more than likely a term for various problems, however that makes it no less valid as at the very least a condition category. Cancer has over 120 variants, most of which are unlike others in the category, but they are still termed validly as cancers, same with flu variants and strains ..... so although it could be argued to the letter that it does not exist as a single condition, it could not be reasonably argued, as Mr Stringer has attempted to do that it does not exist at all. Your point on the early teaching of writing and language is well noted however, this could indeed lead to problems and misdiagnosis under the dyslexia umbrella.

Blue PeterJanuary 12th 2009.

Sorry to interrupt this cosy little love-in Mike but I think you'll find the facts as you put it are precisely what are up for discussion. I'm afraid 'as supported by medical evidence' doesn't quite cut it.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

Just to illustrate my point, I'm going to take one of the main claims in this article and show exactly how far off the mark Stringer is ..... extremely bad research or 'not quite the truth? you decide ......................... "The education establishment, rather than admit that their eclectic and incomplete methods for instruction are at fault, have invented a brain disorder called dyslexia."....................... Point 1: Dyslexia was first discovered in 1881 by a German physician (doctor) by the name of Oswald Berkhan. ......... Point 2: The term Dyslexia was first used in 1887 by an opthalmologist. ........ Point 3: It has also been known under the names Congenital Word Blindness and Strephosymbolia, all these names and researches were conducted by Doctors, not the Educational establishment. ....... All of this is available from readily accessible sources, and yet it seems that Stringer either could not find them in the course of his research, or has completely ignored ESTABLISHED MEDICAL FACTS in his misrepresentation of Dyslexia.

ATCJanuary 12th 2009.

I'm sorry but this gut is talking complete rubbish. I teach basic literacy to adults at a college in Birmingham and I would say about 25% of our learners have dyslexia in varying degrees of severity. It can manifest itself through one of or a combination of three types which affect the individual in different ways including how they understand the spoken word! Current wisdom and research suggests that the cause of dyslexia is right side brain dominance whereby the right sphere of a dyslexia brain is actually slightly larger than a non-dyslexic brain. Consequently, The cogitative processes carried out by the left sphere, including skills required for literacy are suppressed by the dominant right sphere. As a result of this, we often find that with the right sphere being responsible for artistic abilities, dyslexics will be gifted artists or able to express themselves some other way.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

I assume Mr Stringer has never lived with someone who is affected by Dyslexia. My wife has lived all her life with it, though we never new why she had such difficulty with instructions etc. We eventually realised it was probably a form of Dyslexia when she was in her 50's. As a result, from a very young age she has built up protective walls to avoid embarrasment when she didn't understand something. However my wife went on to complete and pass a two year diploma course, while continuing in full time employment at 55. Her spelling is generally very good & She is neither lazy or illiterate. Mr Stringer does not know what he is talking about.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

Einstein was dyslexic. Are you suggesting he was academicly too lazy or lacked the intellegence to remember how to spell five letter words correctly.

JohnJanuary 12th 2009.

While I agree with a lot of what Graham says, I think he is muddling up two seperate issues. Illiteracy is caused by crap teaching and the use of whatever vogue method is in favour at the time. I went to primary school in the 50s and everyone came out able to read and write having been taught by traditional methods. Then various 'phonics' methods became fashionable and literacy rates tumbled because children had to learn one method then unlearn it and learn actual spelling. None of this has anything to do with dyslexia though, to say that it doesn't exist is nonsense. I've sat with a friend who is dyslexic going through a document and he literally could not see apostrophes. This hasn't made him a criminal, in fact he's an academic.

leighJanuary 12th 2009.

Good on you Sharon.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

I'm actually waiting to see what Mr Balls has to say on this matter, seeing as his name was brought into the fray ..... I wonder if he'd consider writing an article in opposition to this one here

ScottJanuary 12th 2009.

As a dyslexic who had a small help up when i was 16, I managed to change my life, after completing a dyslexic course in Chelmsford in my 30's I have give 14 years of my life to develop Unist of sound, a phonic teaching methord developed bt Walter Bramley in the 70's, they are in fact 150 phonetic sounds, Units of Sound is in use 100's in school and presion in the UK on computer for 14 just look at the evidenceHow any computer program actual teach?

leonaJanuary 12th 2009.

i am totally stunned that this MP didn't think a little more before presenting such total rubbish! it really helps people to beleive in democracy. it is true that dyslexia is an umbrella term however many people suffering from it have more than one problem. myself for example have no problems with reading however struggle with spelling and punctuation, i get confused with where to put commas etc. i am by no means illiterate, i have never had any extra time with examinations nor have i ever had a scribe. i attended extra classes to build up my skills and try to learn some of the things that were creating problems and i was refered to the exam board so i wouldnt be unfairly penalised. i dont think this could be described as my being lazy and i dont think it is even easy for the teachers. i had to partake in tests and was inteviewed by a psychologist before a diagnosis was made. as i said before i am not illiterate and i dont know any dyslexic person who is. perhaps that is simply the area i come from but there a many reasons for illiteracy and dyslexia is only one of them. lazyness is another but so is childhood illness, or children acting as carers would he say that they dont exist either? i agree that in some parts of the country the schooling is awful and something needs to be done, i also agree that there does apear to be a link with illiteracy and criminality however i totally disagree with his views of dyslexia being a myth. its a very real problem that people struggle with every day. i was going to take my rant directly to him but i can't seem to find an email address, any ideas?

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

There have been some very good points raised there, but I would just like to expand on one of ShelleyinHull's statements in her last post there: "In response to your comments re there being no 'rational reason' why Dyslexia is more prevelant in Britain than in South Korea or Nicaragua - It is NOT." ...... If you look at the possible reasons behind this, then the way Mr Stringers dishonest spin on the entire subject becomes clear, and to illustrate this I'll use some extreme cases from abroad. What he has said about Dyslexia in relation to South Korea and Nicaragua (despite being wrong in the main) is like quoting South Africa in an AIDS article, or Zimbabwe in one about Cholera ..... Just because the powers that be refuse to acknowledge a problem doesn't mean that sweeping it under the carpet makes it cease to exist. Before Gallileo people believed the Earth was flat, did that make it fact? Of course not ..... Before people knew what electricity was, what was lightning? The answer is of course electricity ..... There is also the factor that regardless of how much it has been bogged down by staff shortages, targets, quotas and 'red tape' managers, we still have one of the best health services in the world, and as such have an advantage in diagnosing these conditions over countries that lack an advanced healthcare infrastructure.

DellJanuary 12th 2009.

Dyslexia is the secret password for 'free laptop', isn't it?

gyaiffJanuary 12th 2009.

I am a teacher and, sadly, it is commonplace to refer a poor reader to the relevant authorities to obtain a special needs statement for dyslexia.The parents like it as it excuses poor progress and our school's league table likes it because poor performers results are removed and confined to the special needs section.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

Karl - Thats the crunch point, whether he believes it or not he has made the link within the article between illiteracy, dyslexia, crime and drugs, therefore he has technically insinuated that 'mythical' dyslexics are functionally illiterate, and therefore predisposed to crime and substance abuse (incidentally it was a clever stroke of him to put the disclaimer in stating that he wasn't saying 'all' functionally illiterate people ..... however, from his example with strangeways, we are looking at a range of between 60% and 80%) ..... You're right, they do have the position to talk to scientists and make their own opinions, and just like GW and the Global Warming issue, Mr Stringer has done so, and ignored the evidence which points to the fact that Dyslexia does indeed exist. ...... Is it wrong for the dyslexia 'apologists' to expect at least a little bit of verifiable evidence and research to back up the claims made here? I would say that it was common sense to reject an idea to a greater extent until evidence was produced. ...... Extreme example here, and a bit of a silly one, but still valid ...... If someone were to state that the sky was bright pink with no evidence, you would obviously, and quite correctly, ignore the claim because you know it appears blue (or grey around here), however if they produced evidence that the colour 'Blue' had been misnamed and it really should be 'Pink' then you'd be correct to take a pause for thought on the matter.

Professor IgnorantJanuary 12th 2009.

Apologies there folks I seem to have posted this twice. You'll note I corrected my mistake. Perhaps I too am dyslexic?

Pete StarJanuary 12th 2009.

Excellent! For years I've been saying the dickslexsia is just a posh word for stupidity. Sounds Like I was right!

esquiloJanuary 12th 2009.

Is it part of dyslexia that family members feel the need to post 150,000 word tirades about the unfairness of life on a website dedicated to food, drink, art and entertainment? Its almost as bad as when there's a "there might not be a god" or "evolution is looking likely" article on a British newspaper's website's comment pages and they are invaded by creationists from Armpit County, Nebraska. Anyroad, anyone been to Luso or Grinch recently? Is Cloud 23 still worth the faff? Was t ever? BTW, Slumdog Millionaire is ACE!

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

i love how everybody is ranting to their own tune!

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

Anonymous, there are many 'special needs' in education, are you saying that all of these are fake, or are you just jumping on Mr Stringers bandwagon ..... bluster with no backup ..... and targeting Dyslexia, a condition with 127 - 128 years of hard evidence behind its existence?

Sharon MJanuary 12th 2009.

I though id better ad that I have had to sell my house and move back in with my parents to fund Jacks schooling and tribunal costs before anyone comments that its ok for me because i have got money. I have not got money but if I have to get in debt to give my child a proper education that is what I have to do.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

Stringer you'll never know what it is like to be respected in the community. With a bit of luck at the next election you'll lose your seat over this. Better still resign now you're an embarrassment to the Houses of Parliament. It just goes to prove that MPs do actually talk nonsense about subjects they have not got a clue about. Stick to areas of your own expertise, like making cups of tea. The only wasted money here is your salary as an MP. Oh by the way GET YOUR RESEARCH DONE STRINGER.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

Well, I think you're all a bunch of cnuts

RchirdarJanuary 12th 2009.

What, Kevin ...? Was the other candidate called Graham Stirnger?

KarlJanuary 12th 2009.

See, Mike? It's perfectly possible to submit a rationally argued and arguable post. You're right that everyone deserves a say. This is at the end of the day an entertainment website and does not claim to be scientific. As the original article questioned the existence of dyslexia (as many others have done), it is, however, quite natural that the majority of respondents will represent the opposing viewpoint. I don't know how many of the respondents have actually studied dyslexia objectively and how many are basing their knowledge of the subject solely on their personal experiences. The great thing about science is that anyone can challenge the status quo and occasionally they are right - that's how it moves forward. A lot of the posters here take the opportunity to slag off Stringer and several label him bigoted, simply for challenging the orthodoxy. It really isn't helpful and you could even argue that it harms their argument to make it personal rather than draw on the facts of the matter.

GuyJanuary 12th 2009.

Graham is obviously exaggerating in order to grab a headline, but he is correct in the point he is making. I find it incredulous that governments and educationalists can sit by and allow an underclass of citizens to slip through the net.

PaulyJanuary 12th 2009.

Mr Stringer, could I just take a moment to point some 'illiterate' dyslexics.....Richard BransonAgatha ChristieJohn LennonNigel KennedyCherTom CruiseMuhammad Ali - and we've all seen what happened when he thought a certain Yorkshireman called him 'illiterate!!! ;)Sir Steve RedgraveJackie StewartAlbert EinsteinKeanu ReevesZoe WannamakerHenry FordJamie OliverOrlando BloomSteven Speilberg also here's a couple for you to take note of Mr Stringer......George WashingtonJohn F. KennedyHow do you like them apples......?

TrickyJanuary 12th 2009.

OK. Forget dyslexia, would Graham Stringer like to puff out his chest and write a column about why his government spends so much on education up to the age of 21 or more and yet university graduates like "Gobsmacked" still do not understand apostrophes. It's just not good enough. It's appalling, in fact.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

Another little point I'd like to raise, and if possible have answered is that Mr Stringer quotes Dr Julian Elliot, stating that it is 'damning' that there are 28 descriptions of Dyslexia, and uses this as a leverage point in his claim that it doesn't exist. There are over 120 different types of cancer, each with multiple descriptive variances, and 3 primary types of flu, each with many strains, and again multiple variations of description for each. So going by the logic stated above, this must also be damning evidence as to those conditions not existing either, regardless of what the evidence says ..... time to eat those words and admit you are way off base on this one Mr Stringer.

Alan ArtusJanuary 12th 2009.

Sringer's comments show him to be nothing more than a headline seeker. to seek to confuse the very real condition of Dyslexia with the failings of society and the education system is absurd. Perhaps GB will call upon Stringer to resign.

Frank VJanuary 12th 2009.

Dr KarlBy your own rant, are you not negating your own views (although I do agree with most of them) by using the title, "Dr"?

Lucy PalmerJanuary 12th 2009.

Thinking that dyslexia is just about reading and writing is bollocks. My lovely boyfriend has dyslexia and struggles with reading, writing, organisational and conversational skills and is often left struggling to find the correct words to express himself while speaking, especially when he's tired. This affects his confidence and social skills, hugely important parts of life. As a keen reader with an English degree, a journalism postgrad and general love of words, I used to find his problems incredibly frustrating, but after seven years I appreciate that it's a million times more frustrating for him. He is immensely bright and has a huge capacity for knowledge, he just has trouble articulating that knowledge. He is neither lazy, stupid or the victim of a poor education - he has a degree in landscape architecture and is very good at his job - he is merely a 30-something bloke with a medical condition doing the best he can. He's recently got some special glasses with coloured lenses which are making some difference, so fingers crossed he'll keep receiving help and keep improving. Graham Stringer, you're welcome to come and meet him so you can gain an educated understanding of what a true dyslexic has to cope with day in and day out. Maybe then you'd be able to write a more well-informed column.

KarlJanuary 12th 2009.

Honestly, I can feel it in my waters. At some point someone is going to present an argument that doesn't contain a personal anecdote before abstracting their story onto the whole of humankind. Don't ask me why ... I just a feeling.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

i cannot believe this was published. it is people like Graham Stringer that unfortunately do not understand what Dyslexia is yet feel that they can comment about it. Dyslexia is far more complex than just reading and writing spelling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Sam ReynoldsJanuary 12th 2009.

The sooner Mr Stringer is consigned to the same dustbin of history, the better.No more need be said

abbyJanuary 12th 2009.

The world has changed. Kids nowdays dont need to do exams like it was in the old days because they understand computers and computers do all the work. the doctor have no need to do exams if she has a good new computer with all the information and she can turn it on and ask it question on the person to see if it have an answer from the chemist or something.

french dyslexicJanuary 12th 2009.

ther are in fact 42 sounds in the french phonetic langauge as we struggle to pronounce "TH". It messes with my head any how....But Graham Stringer is surely vee biggest thucking idiot I have read about in this city...Hey I did it, I am cured!...Prat!!!

Ernalds alter egoJanuary 12th 2009.

Damn I just cant keep my mouth shut...it'sno wonder I did'nt make a head teacher!

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

I am very disappointed to read the article published. My bright 8 yr old has been tested for dyslexia and now confirmed is indeed dyslexic, I have a bright 13 yr old who is sailing through education, I have tried everything to help my 8 yr old, the teachers are extremely good and include lots of individual help and group work. It is sad to read such a sweeping, generalised statement, which appears not built on extensive research both sides of the coin, in my opinion, as this gentleman has had his, it sounds as if he has done his research visiting prisons. There are many social factors that people end up in prison, to pin point dyslexia, I find is absolutely ridiculous.

Wizard of OzJanuary 12th 2009.

only a buffoon would think colourblind people see in black and white!

Jimi CJanuary 12th 2009.

"All the comments agreeing with Grahams comments are just proving how many uneducated ignorant d**kheads we have in Manchester.”And the above comment shows your ignorance for failing to see the other side of an argument.Well done!

Jane SJanuary 12th 2009.

Mr Stringer is, as ever, a disappointment. I do hope the people of his constituency are pleased with their efforts in returning such an enlighted and useful addition to the House of Commons. Sadly, dyslexia is real and can have a devastating effect on the lives of bright children who are made to feel stupid by poor special needs identification and support. Mr Stringer's comments only add to the stigma these children can feel from a very early age. Dyslexia cannot only affect reading and writing, but organisational skills and the ability to learn tables and even tell the time! If anyone needs help with education, it's Mr Stringer.

Jo TutorJanuary 12th 2009.

OH yes and inability to precis!!!! SECRETO must feel very safe to be blinkered and only able to see in one direction. UNLIKE DYSLEXICS. We can see/ think many things at once. I have had very little general problems with spelling - but do have others. don't be so limited dear.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

Perhaps Graham Stringer should have a chat with Dr Neil Humprey; a specialist in learning difficulties at Manchester University, and ask him how he manages to secure grant funding for a non-existant condition.

Allan WhyteJanuary 12th 2009.

I'm a Labour party member in this man's constituancy and I will find it a real struggle voting for him in the next general election. After his cheap comments about the Scots, his disloyalty when times got difficult for the party and now this. I'm no academic but surely there are better qualified people to be commenting on this subject than him. Graham do yourself a favour and avoid the rum before you think of your next headline grabbing comment.

NathJanuary 12th 2009.

The 'label' dyslexia is pathetic. People cannot be great in all areas. I wasn't good enough to play for United- i'm not searching for a label or condition to excuse my failing!! My spelling is terrible and my reading isn't much better...I AM NOT DYSLEXIC...just not very good at it. My strengths lie in other areas.Simple....end of.However, if there is a free laptop going, i'll be as thick as you want!!!

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

How can Mr Stringer be trusted to represent his consituency in the house of commons if he cannot even grasp a basic concept? As numerous studies have shown their is a distinciton to be made between dyslexia and illiteracy. Dyslexia does not prevent literacy it makes certain activities sucha s reaidng writing, spelling and processing information more difficult even ofr those who may become very literate or be considered exceptionally talented. Whislt dyslexia should not be something for local education authorities to hide behind it remains a very serious disability that makes reading and writing more difficult for those who suffer from it. I think it is disgraceful that a public official thinks this kind of ignorrant, tabloid nonsense is appropriate for a public official. His actions, by association, bring his party and office into disrepute and provide grounds for resignation in my opinion.

Magpie 11January 12th 2009.

I'm boiling with rage.....First, this ignorant (at least ill informed) M.P. gave the game away. Money. Universities and colleges are spending millions that some people begrudge.Secondly...The man does not begin to understand what went on in that Scottish Borough...Synthetic phonics was just one weapon used to raise levels of literacy. I would, timidly, suggest that equally important was the involvement of the whole community in teaching the children to read. The suppost of a large majority of the community must have meant that the children were more likely to succeed.Third... The dyslexics in West Dunbartonshire will still have difficulties even tho' many of them will be able to read (and what do we mean by read? BTW)but they may find they have short term memory problems, problems with organisation, problems with spelling...I will not go on.Fourthly...as a teacher of 37 years experience I must say this: If I had known everything I know now about the difficulties some people have in learning that we call dyslexia then I would have been able to help many more of my pupils than I did.Fifth...I too did not believe in Word Blindness (as it was often called) until it impinged on my own life and I saw it within my own family. My youngest son is mildly dyslexic, highly intelligent by any means of measuring but still mildly dyslexic. Looking at my own schooling I see where I had (an d still have) problems...Oh yes! I am almost as intelligent as my son but I had difficulties learning and organising. My wife's family exhibit signs of dyslexia and she herself did not learn to read until she was nine, her mother taught her by constant repetition and a smattering of phonics.This man must be stopped. Enough damage has been done by the ignorant interfering in education. BY "the ignorant" I mean politicians and those who seem to forget that when they were at school there were always those who found academic learning difficult...but then most of these people were privileged to go to academic schools and, later, universities.I could go on...and on...and on.(by the way,snipers, if I have made any errors in typing this remember that I learned to write in longhand and that a computer keyboard is an alien environment to such as I ...oh yes I am also mildly dislexic)

gaspodeJanuary 12th 2009.

What a bigot. Who will he pick on next?Why did you vote for him?Will you vote for him again?I want my elected representative to be able to research and understand complex issues not just repeat half baked ideas from others. Given the volume of research that has been done on dyslexia, a condition which goes way beyond reading and writing - and manifests it self with varying degrees, any considered article could not simply dismiss it or its impact upon how people learn.

foobooJanuary 12th 2009.

Once again a person in an influential position fails to do their homework and causes distress unnecessarily. The "can't read and write" definition is the Victorian one. It was how they first spotted the condition. There has been over 100 years of research since then proving that it's exists and that it is more than a literacy condition. Poor literacy is just one symptom of around 35 common ones.His statement is that of a bigot.

esquiloJanuary 12th 2009.

Dyslexia, schmyslexia. Can't people just be allowed to be stupid anymore? Leve 'em in peace.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

MCK - Being able to teach dyslexic pupils to read and write normally does not disprove its existence, I think it is more likely to be a testament to your teaching skills that you have been able to do so. It has been previously stated that Dyslexic people can be taught with the right methods, and I would say that in the face of the evidence pointing to the existence of the condition, you have simply been fortunate enough to use one of the correct techniques as standard ..... they ought to grab you for a teacher training group to get other teachers to use the same or similar methods.

NickJanuary 12th 2009.

I think the main problem is the goverments view of one method fits all approach rather than every child is an individual and requires different teaching methods. From experiance and coming from a school who already use the synthetic phonics form of teaching (as most schools already do for the record), we have found that combining this system with a see and say method for children whos' main form of learning comes from thier amazing visual accuity has benifited this area of the classroom. Just a suggestion

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

Hmmm, how would be label Mr Stringer's comments? Ignorant, misinformed, misguided, irresponsible, dangerous, idiotic, insulting, simplistic... or just media hungry? Actually I think the best way would probably be to say he is just plain WRONG. A classic bit of media hype from an MP looking for publicity, I suspect this will haunt him for the rest of his career... hopefully he doesn't have one now, Education Secretary anyone?

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

Don't blame dyslexia when the population ticks the box for Conservative candidates at the next election. The result will be an expression of peoples belief that Labour has forgotten about the people they represent - many of whom are Dyslexic. I trust that the well known sufferer from this debilitating condition Mr Richard Branson will now see the true Labour beliefs and withdraw his support for the party you are discrediting by these totally unfounded comments.

BenJanuary 12th 2009.

No one seems to have explained how some places seem to have no dyslexia. Does using synthetic phonics "cure" it? Or does an effective teaching tool show that anyone can learn? Those mocking Mr Stringer need to explain how West Dunbartonshire eradicated the functional illiteracy it previously recorded. Or maybe they think WD simply fiddled the stats....

AndyJanuary 12th 2009.

I have dyslexia, and in my 4th year of university, 90% of the time I have to re-read sentences to make sense of them (missing words, letters or words in the wrong place). But if I was to speak it out it would be perfect. When pen goes to paper words get mixed up or missed out.

risunJanuary 12th 2009.

Now you should know why the british public has so much contempt,for our political "friends", when they come out with such crass & ill informed opinions,like this "so called" educated sub human has just done!!!

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

CrisisSurfer and Frank: Learning disabilities are indeed difficult to quantify, mainly because we know so little about the workings of the human brain, and although you could quite accurately say that everyone bar a select few on this planet have some form of learning disability, it is the severity of it that gives it its final classification .... But to reverse the analogy that someone else put forward of the car mechanic ..... you don't need to see under the bonnet to say 'it's not working', but a mechanic needs to be familiar with all parts of an engine to tell you exactly what the problem is and how severe it is ..... likewise with the brain, teachers and other educators (and in fact ill informed MP's) may be able to say whether something is wrong or not, but it takes a specialist to tell you what it is, and unfortunately the human brain isn't quite as much of an 'open and closed' book as a car engine, hence the amount of difficulties that are termed dyslexia.

helenJanuary 12th 2009.

I did not mean your typos. The body of your argument stated that people who have dyslexia seemed to be able to spell therefore in your opinion are faking it -what i was meaning is how do you know they were not using spell check?

KimJanuary 12th 2009.

Sharon, we live in a country where childrens education is supposed to be free, so it is absolutely diabolical that you have had to go to the lengths that you have, in order to provide your son with the education he needs.

NathJanuary 12th 2009.

Ralphy boy, i'm quite happy to be thick aka dyslexic for a free laptop when needed. However, i'm not in need of all the sympathy your 'group' constantly craves.Get on with your studies kid but don't worry if things don't go well- you can blame it on dyslexia.

Mrs EdgsonJanuary 12th 2009.

I was very upset with the rantings of an MP which I saw on the television. My son is now 14 and I have fought to get his dyslexia acknowledged all of his school life. He has always had extra help with his reading and writing at school. He has a statement of educational needs entitling him to an extra 15 hours of help a week,of which he probably gets about half. He is a very bright boy but still struggles with reading. I have always encouraged him to read and have spent hours with him over the years reading and going over homework. I challenge the MP to teach my son for 6 months to see if he can make any significant improvement to his abilities. I do worry about life after school as he cannot read and write very well and like any other parent want the best for my child. My child has been called stupid and thick before and it is very hurtful and untrue. Unless you have a child with learning disabilities I do feel it would be wrong to comment. I say to the MP please be a bit more thoughtful for the parents who cannot afford to send their children to special schools, we all have to rely on what the state offers us. Instead of condeming the label he should look at the way we teach our children to see if a change across the board can make an improvement. Please remember that some parents do care if their children cannot read and will try everything to help them even though it sometimes doesn't work.

leonaJanuary 12th 2009.

thanks Sharon, i will be sanding an email, i wont be doing a spell check on it and he can decipher what i am saying. shouldnt be too hard for him. after all i had a good education and good teaching methods so acording to his theory i cant be dyslexic.

TeacherJanuary 12th 2009.

I work daily with adults who are illiterate or who have low levels of literacy and also with dyslexics. They are not the same. Those who have low literacy due to poor or interrupted education usually respond well to 1-1 or small group instruction using a balanced mixture of phonics and whole word recognition presented in an interesting context, and are thrilled to make progress. Those with Dyslexia find making progress much more difficult. They struggle with language processing problems which affect either the way they see letters and/or the way they hear the letter sounds. Dyslexia is not only found in this country but the fact that English is not a phonetically regular language can make it more difficult to grasp the sound-symbol correspondence.At the moment I am working with a Dyslexic of Ethiopian background who attended school in Ethiopia from age 4-11 and failed to learn to read and write Amharic, then came here aged 11 and failed to learn to read and write English. He is not stupid and he is very motivated but progress is quite slow.I agree with Mr Stringer that there is a connection between poor literacy and criminality and I believe that this should encourage the educational authorities to target more resources on remedial literacy programmes in primary and secondary schools. However I feel very saddened that he felt he had to raise his national profile by attacking vulnerable people and seeking to diminish their struggle.

mumofdyslexicJanuary 12th 2009.

OK, how about a column from an acknowledged expert in dyslexia next week ManCon -as a responsible news site, there should be a right of reply, not this daft response thread. You could do worse than go to Manchester Uni, where ophthalmologists have been carrying out research into this condition and helping hundreds of children every year with special coloured spectacles -no, not a joke. Some children with dyslexia (like my daughter) can't make sense of the pattern of black print on a white page. The glasses help. My daughter, now 18, could not read at age 8 - she pulled up to her normal reading age in SIX months with the glasses, no special teaching methods used at her short-sighted (ha) school. She's now an A level student, but still struggles to make sense of a printed page when she is tired or stressed. My ex husband (PhD despite it) had a similar problem. How about the right to reply, editor??

HelenJanuary 12th 2009.

Well what can I say bored I'm a firm believer in drumming a point in so if that means repition then so be it - as you can see from my track record it works and gets results!

NLPJanuary 12th 2009.

Mr Stringer assumes that a lack of 'proper' education is where the blame lies for our children not being able to read and write. How narrow minded can someone with such authority be? I think it is frightening to think that Dyslexic people are taking the blame for the sake of finding yet another way to take away benefits. What about the real reasons behind children with learning difficulties? Please Mr Stringer - have a closer look at how poverty, bad housing, poor diet,illness, abuse, birth problems and bullying, amongst other reasons, affect a childs ability to grasp what is going on in the classroom and wider world. You have not mentioned any of these elements which can and, do contribute towards a less than wonderful start to learning. Look at the wider picture when assessing why and, how people commited particular crimes. Yes, some people within prisons may have problems with literacy but, blaming the education system ( which is more supportive and, stimulating than ever) for failing and, dismissing the very real condition - Dyslexia does not paint a true picture of what really is going on here.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

esquilo - In the main I would agree, however the line 'whats hot in the city ...... ' covers a multitude of sins, including the one labelled 'News & Comment' in the contents menu at the left hand side.Anyway, people love being offended by a nobody ..... look at all the complaints about Jonathon Ross and Russell Brand ;) lolFavourite pub ..... hmmm, have to go way out of the city (and the county too) for that ....... The Duck and Drake in Leeds centre, not been in one that can beat it for the laugh yet

Jarhead68January 12th 2009.

Oh, thank you, Helen. I was wondering what I was going to do at the weekend. Now I have a fabulous reading list. Bless you, dear girl.Man. U. 4 Evah!

Professor IgnorantJanuary 12th 2009.

I can't believe the passion this debate has created. Some woman's actually included a full bibliography in there! Get a life folks. Where do you have the time to write all this stuff?The day forums like these are worthy of our time is the day I see someone actually acknowledge the opinion of another and perhaps show some demonstration of a change in their mind-set. Get back to work folks. Save your breath.

nick de villeJanuary 12th 2009.

appalled at this man's stupidity, another good reason not to vote labour, clearly he doesn't have the intellect to govern and the labour party should have the sense to sack him....

dyslexicandproudJanuary 12th 2009.

Dyslexia is not just about reading....Yes, i acknowledge that there are clear links between literacy and crime but blaming this so globally for all ills I feel is somewhat simplistic. it has taken me a long time to get right got. I'm a student nurse. Without the active support that is the University has given me, I don't know what I would have done. dyslexia can also be manifest with problems of organisation and sequencing. It affects people in different ways. With me, I find organisation very difficult but I have found strategies which have helped me greatly. Also, it is the actual processing of the words, the coding of the letters, that is the problem for me. I was not diagnosed as dyslexic until I was 17 years old.before then, I thought that I was stupid and thought that there was no hope. It's taken me nearly 18 years but I am now in the third year of my nurse training. And I am not the only dyslexic in my cohort of nurses. I do acknowledge that there does need to be a certain level of literacy amongst professionals however, I think that the diversity in any profession is essential. Sometimes, dyslexics solve a problem in a way which is different to the average way. We get to the same place but by a totally different route. Because we think differently, this can sometimes be advantageous because can have greater empathy with people who are different themselves.I'm very proud of being dyslexic. VERY PROUD. I'm quite happy to declare that I am dyslexic also because I feel that it gives power to those people who may be dyslexic themselves and feel ashamed of it and who suffer in silence terror of making a mistake and being labelled as stupid before it.I find what this politician has said offensive. He is obviously not dyslexic and does not realise the suffering that it causes. He does not realise the sheer terror of being at school and being asked to read something out loud I'm being terrified that he will read it wrong and be humiliated. he also did not have the fear of being labelled lazy or stupid or something that he had a problem with.Investment in dyslexics is an advantage to everybody. Look at all the amazing people who are dyslexic who have shown genius such as Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci and Richard Branson.If I could change whether I was dyslexic or not I'm in two minds about it. Part of me would love to be able to read and to think in the same way that other people do. There is another larger part that is glad that I am who I am, a unique individual who thinks in the uniquely individual way... And I think uniqueness is something that should be celebrated.it's amazing how technology can help individuals as well. I'm dictating this with voice recognition software. I use a computer to take notes in lectures and I find text-to-speech software absolutely essential. Some people don't like technology that, I can tell you that it has been the key to my cell.

Steve, HullJanuary 12th 2009.

Yet another absolute prick of a politician, finding something obscure to get some free publicity. Rather than 'killing off' dyslexia, this nasty rash of a politician should be killed off. I have a partner of 19 years who is dyslexic, like many others failed by the education system, but despite this has achieved through his own dedication and commitment. This nasty PM Rash is using dyslexia as an excuse for the SHEER INCOMPETENCE OF THIS GOVERNMENT, AND THEIR INTERFERING INCOMPETENCE IN EDUCATION!! THEY HAVEN'T GOT A CLUE!!

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

Polly - Yes I was being sarcastic :) It wasn't a pop at Mancunians, it was in reference to Mr Stringers claim that Dyslexia was absent in South Korea ..... which is negated by the fact that there is a Korea Dyslexic Association based in Seoul

Student TeacherJanuary 12th 2009.

What an embarrassingly shocking lack of thought and research went into this extremely biased, self-aggrandising, and ultimately worthless piece of drivel.How wonderful it is that opinionated morons get to waffle on regardless. And judging from the sheep-mentality of some of those commenting, I'd guess you (and they) won't even bother actually doing any research on the subject to change your ignorant status ... why bother, after all, when your uninformed opinion can be used to pompously belittle anyone who has a learning difficulty? I expect that ADHD, ME and stress-related illnesses are myths too, in your little world. When I don't understand something through lack of knowledge, I educate myself. I research. I take time out and learn from people in the relevant fields. I guess that I have learned enough to know that I DON'T know it all. Something you very obviously have yet to learn.

KellzoneJanuary 12th 2009.

What IS a waste of taxpayers' money is the salary paid to this self-appointed expert (i.e., idiot) who has absolutely no understanding of the struggle people with dyslexia face, not just in school but for the rest of their lives. I started teaching my son his ABCs before he could even walk. I read to him every single night. I bought video tapes and cassette tapes, including a phonic system. I used flash cards. He had a frieze of the alphabet on his bedroom wall. I sent him to nursery school where he continued to learn the basics of reading. By the time he started school he should have been able to read a newspaper with all the effort that had been put it; but he was one of the slowest readers in his class. I suggested that he must be dyslexic and his teachers thought I was mad. I sent him to private school for the last two years of his primary education because I thought the state school wasn't up to scratch and still he struggled. He was finally tested for dyslexia and my suspicions were confirmed. I then bought a multi-sensory reading manual designed especially for dyslexics which teaches children to read polysyllabic words through syllable division and still he struggled. I finally bought him Harry Potter books and the cassettes to go with them and he read them every night; and now his reading is pretty good, but he still can't spell or punctuate. He is entitled to a laptop and extra time during exams, but refuses both as he doesn't want to be seen as different! So, Graham Stringer, try telling my son that he is lazy or that there is no such thing as dyslexia!

Peter J KeeganJanuary 12th 2009.

I tried emailing the Parlimentary Ombudsman to complain about Mr Graham Stringer but got a reply from a complaints officer. I got sent a copy of the Parlimentary complaints and in it, it suggest that if you have a compliant about an MP's conduct, you can write a letter to a Mr John Lyon, CB, Parlimentary Commissioner setting out the compliant as fully as possible with evidence to support it, you will need to provide an address and phone number. I intend to do this as soon as possible. I have also emailled my local MP Louise Ellman A/W a reply. I say to all those affected by Dyslexia and those who support Dyslexlics to keep on going, don't give up no matter what. There is also a support for those that Neurodiversity challenged which includes all learning disabilites based in Manchester and have monthly meetings, Janet Taylor is point of Contact, next meeting 07th Feb at the Town Hall Tavern at 1400 hrs for two hours. Details can be found on facebook or on the internet. Theres another group in Preston and there are other groups that meet across the country and may help some individuals that you are not on your owna and there are others who have similar sorts of issues. I intend along a good friend of mine to start a similar group in Liverpool at some point but in a more proactive role. I take this opportunity to wish all those dyslexics and those who support individuals with dyslexia well and those individuals who have displayed negitive comments to question their own comments and do more research into dyslexia to better their own understanding or are too ignorant to do so?

hippleJanuary 12th 2009.


Tom SFJanuary 12th 2009.


HelenJanuary 12th 2009.

I do currently work in a local womens prison which does not reflect the same 'alleged' statistics as Strangeways. Furthermore, can you really generalise your findings from one institution to the whole population-I think not!

PollyJanuary 12th 2009.

Would someone like to define dyslexia for me? Some people mention spelling, others remembering instructions and now someone says it means your brain works in pictures. It seems to cover an awful lot.

CONTROMANJanuary 12th 2009.

Isn't it obvious when anonymous says "get you facts straight" that the problem is there are very few facts or empirical evidence to support the existence of a dyslexia. Nor is there evidence of a developmental or pathological process in the "disorder". Should we not conclude this is a product of nurture not nature?

Ashley's Vibrating BumholeJanuary 12th 2009.

In this day and age, the spazzers should at least use a spellchecker. There's no excuse for mongoloid spelling in such enlightened times as these. The can also get their computers to read out the words to them. If they still fail in society after that, then let's just give them a pickaxe and throw them down the mines. :thumbup:Ashley's Vibrating Bumhole xxx

quit yow jibba jabbaJanuary 12th 2009.

Stringy....Dyslexia does exist unfortunately...what also exists is lazy good for nothing's who don't want to learn, grasping onto the coat tails of the real sufferers in the hope that they get out of a bit of comprehension and get a free laptop for the trouble. Honestly, look around your office, of all the real people on the long term sick with depression about 75% just wanted a few weeks off.FACT!

pobyl cwmJanuary 12th 2009.

It is all about discrimination against this poor woman.She has every right to be angry against the male dominated medical profession who are too scared to lower standards to allow women to become doctors.The law should enforce that 50 percent of doctors are women and no man should ever treat a woman.All modern training should be directed towards women and not men to allow this oppressed gender minority equal rights as medical professionals.The issue of exams and qualifications is irrelevent it is all about mysogyny and denying women opportunity.Why do doctors need such high qualifications? How often do we just get the same old stuff when we see a GP?It is all smoke and mirrors.

NormanskieJanuary 12th 2009.

I do not normally respond to idiotic people seeking power through controversial, stupid, ill informed, vote seeking remarks.YES let's educate people to a high standard and then they can make educated informed choices at the ballot box instead of voting in incompetents.

Stephen NorwoodJanuary 12th 2009.

It is sad that a member of Parliament would write an article without studying his subject matter. Dyslexia is a real condition, it can seen in the different organisational structures of the brain during brain scans. It is true that it varies in the incidence in the populations across the world. There are a number of explanations for this but chiefly are the rules that govern the grammer and spelling within each language. English is a particularly difficult language because it is made up from many different languages and has many exceptions to the rules that define spelling. It is often not phonetical and this presents difficulties for dyslexics who rely on the phonological cues to support their learning. The governments Letters and Sound initiative is a positive way forward in raising teachers and parents of the correct approach to phonics teaching. I hope that the MP will now take the time to study dyslexia a little more. The Inclusion Development Programme is a new initiative to raise awareness of dyslexia - he should start there!

a mumJanuary 12th 2009.

Chris B said "It takes focus, concentration, self-discipline and desire plus talent in a field to succeed and learn. Not a free lap-top."Exactly. A free laptop or extra time will NOT help someone who doesn't know the answers to exam questions. They only help with getting the answers down in writing.Anyone who thinks these things are going to give someone a big advantage is not thinking clearly. So perhaps its time to stop moaning about this being dyslexics "cheating" or being given some sort of advantage......

Sharon MJanuary 12th 2009.

frank v - this is why i have been fighting for my childs education to put him somewhere where he can understand and learn, the methods used at his previous school were not helping him but at his new school he is doing excellent, but you have the fight to prove that this is what your child needs and unfortunately time runs out as they get older to get them what they need, therefore which leads to the socail problems.

teacherJanuary 12th 2009.

can i just add.... that is intentionally a very, very simplistic description intended to highlight my opinion, before anyone rants at me about the complex nature of this learning difficulty... ;)

Blue PeterJanuary 12th 2009.

For me, there is something altogether more sinister emerging from this 'debate' than many of the rabidly polarised views expressed. There is a wholly undisguised assertion from some contributors that Graham Stringer should be prevented from airing his views simply because they happen to conflict with their world view. By all means assert your opinion but respect the right of others to express theirs. Incidentally, those who vehemently disagree might wish to write to the NAD (National Dyslexic Association).

before tricky notices itJanuary 12th 2009.

I left a 'be' out - shoot my now. ;-)

AdeleJanuary 12th 2009.

When did ManCon turn into the Daily Mail? This could've been a healthy debate as Mr Stringer makes some good points about standards. I have taught in the past (moved into training and development now) and there are lazy teachers who are part of the 'it's not my problem, when's payday' mentality so by the time illiteracy is picked up it's often too late. Dyslexia is a different issue altogether though and it's a bit ignorant to put them together like this, I'm a bit embarrassed for ManCon and Stringer actually. Regardless of what our opinions on the matter are, dyslexia is covered by the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) and it's pretty poor practise to allow such a rant to be published, you wouldn't allow it for deafness or cancer or someone in a wheelchair. I'm not dyslexic and am lucky enough not to have struggled in school but I'm glad there are measures and additional help for such conditions. Not everyone learns in the same way and this is a fact. Improved literacy rates in West Dunbartonshire are highly commendable but I'm sure that's got nothing to do with dyslexia being a supposed myth.

Concerned ConstituentJanuary 12th 2009.

I cannot believe my eyes.This argument over whether Dyselxia is real or not was ended decades ago.All i can say to Graham is that he has achieved nothing except give fuel to those uninformed people that dislike anything that money has to be spent on. Like helping people with the real and scientfically provable condition of Dyslexia.The fact that phonics teaching helps a lot of people with Dyselxia does not mean their condition does not exist. That would like be saying if we all had hearing apliances there would be no such thing as a person with deafness.Dyslexia is also a spectrum disorder and involves many other aspects such as memory problems and dispraxia.I suggest Graham reads a book on Dyslexia before commenting again.

Jan HJanuary 12th 2009.

Responding to amused:You seem to want to be critical of the spelling mistakes and poor grammar. You are not without fault.Perhaps your parents should have taught you how to use an apostraphy correctly. Stones and glass houses?

Bernard ChittyJanuary 12th 2009.

Graham Stringer MP,Dear Sir, Dyslexia is a myth.I think that there is much in what you say.I had great difficulty as a child reading and spelling. I failed my 11+. Both my elder sisters passed. I suggest that writing the names of objects on separate cards, eg TABLE, CHAIR, etc and then giving the card to a child to place on the correct item can be one way of learning. This is a good start. The second point is to learn the most used 200 words. Names are tricky, so ask how do you spell it? Also, what effect a silent "E" has on a word: it makes the preceding vowel "say its own name".I would be happy for some one from your office to contact me if you wish. Regards Bernard Chitty 023 92 466200.

JamesJanuary 12th 2009.

MP Mr Springer what are u talking about!?!?!? Your a waste of time and a waste of are tax payers money. Its people like you who need to shut there mouth and get there information from a dyslexic person first. You’re just another one of the useless Labour MPs who has done nothing for this country

Chris LewisJanuary 12th 2009.

I'm not sure whether I find it more disturbing that Mr Stringer believes what he has written to be true or that he decides to share it with the world.Firstly, his statistics are worth a look: nearly 100% literacy in Nicaragua. Well, yes, if you think that 80% is nearly 100% (check the UNESCO Institute for Statistics figures). Literacy is very important in Nicaragua, and has been high on the agenda for some time; however, in a country with 20% illiteracy, the statistics on dyslexia are very likely to be subsumed.Secondly, even if Mr Stringer had checked his facts, it's worth considering how and if dyslexia is related to literacy. Extreme cases exist, of course, but the fact is that dyslexia makes reading and writing difficult, not impossible. Muddying the water by quoting statistics on literacy in one paragraph and trying to directly compare them to statistics on functional literacy in another is a low way of trying to make a point.Thirdly, £78.4M spread across 29 million UK income tax payers equates to about £2.70 a year to help children get the greatest benefit from their education. Which doesn't seem like quite such a burden. It is in all of our interests to see each generation achieve their potential and to attempt to remove as many hindrances to their education as possible.Fourthly, linguistic phonics is a fairly controversial area, and claiming it to be a magic bullet for literacy based on a study in an area with population 91,000 is pretty risky. Also, it would not address the issues of dyslexia sufferers; even if you know the group of letters "igh" is usually pronounced "i", if you can't recognise the order of the letters it is of no help. So while changes in the education system may be useful in some areas, the same needs for support will remain.Literacy is vital, and I commend attempts to improve it; however, poorly researched articles are of no help. This article is extremely defamatory to a large number of people (including sufferers of dyslexia, their families and their educators) to whom I believe Mr Stringer owes a sincere apology.

MarkJanuary 12th 2009.

You've spelt Strangeways wrong on the image. ;¬)

SarahJanuary 12th 2009.

I cannot actually believe that an MP is stating that Dyslexia is a myth. I think this is harmful, and an affront to those who have to suffer the condition and also to those who do such brilliant and valuable work aiding those with Dyslexia. A vast majority of the views expressed here are insulting, out of touch and show no understanding at all, and are, quite frankly, gravely concerning.

Roy LewisJanuary 12th 2009.

Unbelievers may wish to check out:Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain by Maryanne Wolf

Sharon MJanuary 12th 2009.

pete, yes i will let everyone know how i got on, my tribunal is supposed to be march 18th but the date has changed a few times. And yes I have had to fund this very expensive fight myself £5000.00 to date plus school fees, but i have had to sell my house and move back to my parents to do this, so i am one of the luckier ones, but this is not only my fight i am fighting for all other children whos parents cant afford to do the appeal process. and for those people moaning about other peoples comments on here regarding dyslexia, dont read it, go onto another forum and talk about good pubs etc, as obviously this horrible thing does not affect you at all. When you have been through this you will then understand how sickening his comments are !!

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

No probs Helen, and thanks :) ........... popped an email off to you Tom, a few q's in there that should go down like a lead balloon :) .......... I'll also be watching for GB's response to this, I don't like the guy, but he does have one thing going for him, he doesn't mince his words :)

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

CrisisSurfer - I agree that a 'one size fits all' approach would be the utopian ideal in this situation, but as you say ..... If only. ....... I would personally say that dyslexia as termed nowadays is both a condition and a symptom, as well as an end result in some cases. ..... The condition refers to the people who do have true dyslexia, but with the term being used for a wider range of learning difficulties, I also think the education systems teaching methods do shoulder some of the blame by 'creating' dyslexics (note: different from creating dyslexia) through bad teaching methods and poor resources. ..... Now if Mr Stringer were to put his money where his mouth was and fund an independant research into what dyslexia as a whole is, and what the different types of dyslexia are, taking a hands on role with the researchers, then he would not only be qualified to comment, but he would also be able to put together a better informed article ..... which I believe would read a lot differently.

GoffeyJanuary 12th 2009.

I can't be sure, but believe that perhaps Mr Stringer has chosen his words here badly (at least one would hope so). From my interpretation, he would appear to suggest that dyslexia is too often used as an excuse for children not being able to read and write. I believe this, as do i believe that dyslexia is a real and treatable condition. I did find it amusing to read one comment suggesting that illiteracy can be picked up too late. I know teachers in both primary and secondary education who too often see pupils leave primary, or enter secondary unable to read or write to a sufficient standard. How is this possible in this country, when as Mr S says, 'less developed' countries manage almost 100% literacy?, attitude to education. In the so called underdeveloped countries, children walk for miles to learn in a shack with old and tattered books, genuinely pleased to get a better start in life. Here we seemingly educate children that if they aren't a genius, don't bother trying too hard, just live off the state. I'm not suggesting all those with an iq of under 100 do this, but far too many children these days see it as a goal for live.Just my 2c (if it's worth that much :-)

BenJanuary 12th 2009.

What an offensive thing to say.Back in school days my best friend really struggled; he couldn't spell, and would get so frustrated in maths class he was known to cry (this was the case for near a decade of schooling.) He was diagnosed as dyslexic and given some tinted glasses to help. Within a couple of months he was amongst the best in the class, and achieved 9 A-A* grades.You might as well say cancer sufferers are 'putting in on' - I hope this man is made to issue a formal appology.

GobsmackedJanuary 12th 2009.

As much as i fully agree that teaching standards need to be improved, saying that Dyslexia doesn't exist is irresponsible. Yes, in my opinion dyslexia (like adhd) is now commonly used as an excuse for lazy/misbehaving students, but this doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. I passed my GCSE's, A Levels, Degree and i have a successul job, but i struggled a lot with reading and Maths, it meant i spent far more time on these subjects to try and be remotely good. It was a relief when i got to uni and discovered there was a reason why i struggled. I wasn't given any free aid, but good advice on how to work around the dyslexia. It's easy for some one like you, to make such a sweeping statement, when you obviously don't struggle with literacy. We can't all be as fortunate as yourself.

PollyJanuary 12th 2009.

Can anyone tell me why, in my junior school in the 1950s, everyone, even the 'slow learners' learned to read, without half of them being labelled in this way? Personally, I think the illiteracy is down to lack of discipline and children not having to do things they don't want to, and dyslexia is a convenient label beloved by the PC brigade. Yes, I realise some people struggle, but is it necessarily a 'syndrome' or genetic fault? I also want to know why someone who struggles with the printed word got accepted on a medical degree course.

Tom SFJanuary 12th 2009.

Hi Mike, I have a meeting with Mr Stringer next Friday, i am going to be asking him about his reason's for stating this, as everybody can see this has cause widespread public outrage, we will all now have to wait for a response from the PM ora Labour spokes person on this matter in question.

Sharon MJanuary 12th 2009.

Forgot to say the web site is a government website and features comments from The Secretary of State Ed Balls and Sir Jim Rose who's last statement on the site reads :Update from Sir Jim RoseI would like to thank everyone who responded to my recent call for evidence, views and experiences on dyslexia and associated learning difficulties such as dyspraxia and dyscalculia. This resulted in about 850 responses, including 75 from children and young people. A thorough analysis of these responses is being prepared, which I will consider with my expert advisers as we develop recommendations to improve the identification, progress and outcomes for children and young people with dyslexia and associated learning difficulties. Many parents who responded tell us they find it difficult to obtain sufficient or appropriate help with their children’s difficulties through their schools, and some have sought support from independent specialists. Responses from people with dyslexia tell of the frustration and anxiety they experienced at school, again because they did not feel they were getting the help they needed. With valuable support from my Expert Advisory Group, through visits to schools, by reviewing published research and meeting a number of researchers, I am assembling an up-to-date picture of the complex nature of dyslexia and other associated learning difficulties around which I will be making recommendations on the identification and teaching of children and young people with these difficulties. Early identification is crucially important, but that is by no means the whole story. Once dyslexia and associated learning difficulties has been identified, we need to be a good deal clearer about what constitutes a high-quality teaching programme with sufficient flexibility to take account of individual differences.I would reiterate the Secretary of State’s December 2007 message to schools and local authorities: ‘We need to be better at identifying pupils with dyslexia and then supporting them … I want all schools to look closely at the support they offer for dyslexia, check that they are giving the most appropriate support available and try to identify dyslexia where it may occur.’This chimes with paragraphs 5:41 and 6:48 of the Special Educational Needs Code of Practice (www.teachernet.gov.uk/…/SENCodeOfPractice.pdf…) which say that ‘where progress is not adequate, it will be necessary to take some additional or different action to enable the pupil to learn more effectively. Whatever the level of pupils’ difficulties, the test of how far their learning needs are being met is whether they are making adequate progress’. The firm intention is that my report, which I am now expecting to publish this coming spring, will provide clear recommendations on how schools and local authorities can best respond to the Secretary of State’s challenge to improve the identification, progress and outcomes for children and young people with dyslexia and associated learning difficulties. Jim Rose1 December 2008

ErnaldJanuary 12th 2009.

As a former primary school deputy headteacher, I agree entirely with Graham Stringer's comments. Of course, the dyslexia industry will squeal loudly as they feel their vested interest being threatened.

David MorganJanuary 12th 2009.

As is his style, Graham Stringer may have gone a bit over the top. That is how he has brought so much publicity to the subject.But he does have a point AND it is an important one. While people are lambasting him, thousands of children are going through school unable to read, when they are quite capable of learning to.Most primary teachers have not had the technical training needed to understand why or to know how to help.In our experience, running the Easyread System, there are probably around 2-3% of children who really have substantial problems with text that are tricky to sort out.But the rest don't. They have routine and easily recognised problems that can be fixed quite quickly.So, no... there IS something that can be called dyslexia. But yes... most of the 120,000 children who will leave primary school this summer unable to read, are quite capable of learning. I am confident of being able to teach 95% of them to read over the next 6 months, if given the chance. In fact we always guarantee the result when a parent or school asks for help.For more information have a look at our site:http://www.easyreadsystem.comBest wishes David

scoteeeJanuary 12th 2009.

Frank V 2 sureley a spell checker may correct the wrongs for you, but if you made the mistake in the first place chances are you will make another one reading the thing back and getting your knickers in a twist over it.Bloody spell checkers, am I missing something here ?

NHOJ CAM NALHCALJanuary 12th 2009.

Well done Graham its about time some one brought back// DYSLEXIA TO THE FRONT PAGE // could it be link to demenshior as well just a thought thank god for spell check //// ? well it did not work on that word did it baaaaaa humbug //

TimJanuary 12th 2009.

This article is quite an achievement even for a politician. Anyone who suffers from dyslexia or who is a parent of a child with dyslexia will tell you that this man has no idea what he is talking about.

Elin's mumJanuary 12th 2009.

HOW DARE YOU. My 10 year old daughter has dyslexia. Your comments are so insulting.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

As somone who struggled through Uni and A levels due to Dyslexia I am shocked and truly pi**Sed that anyone could write such ball crap!

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