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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.

Sharon MJanuary 12th 2009.

Well if he does bother to read any of my emails and rants I ask him to come to my sons school and meet Dr Brown then we would see how arrogant he was.

SaraJanuary 12th 2009.

For people like me who have gone through their lives believing themselves to be stupid because they can't read, write or think as easily as other people, being diagnosed with dyslexia was a relief. I was diagnosed at 21 in my first year of university. It had taken me till that age to build up the confidence to actually go to university, where once my condition was diagnosed i was give computer software, not handouts, to help me with my course. Graduating was the proudest day of my life as I'd never imagined I'd get to that point. But to now have some pompous MP come out and say that a condition which has afflicted me my entire life is a myth is so infuriating. I don't know how he has the nerve.

JOHNHARRISONJanuary 12th 2009.

So if this dyslexia did exist it would be down to poor teaching would it? Well being a lad educated in the 50’s in a Manchester school not 5 miles from the constituency represented by the rite horrible (dyslexian slip no doubt) member for Blackley , I’m over the moon to be told that this readin and writin difficulty I’ve experienced for the best part of 60 years now is little more than a figment of my imagination or possibly a failing of our aged teacher, Pop Wiltshire, to knock some edycation in to my thick noddle But maybe you noticed I’m just a little jaundiced in my perception of Mr Stringer, because for many years I sat in my office on the corner of Albert Square and watched the antics of this man with his friend Gabriella who vociferously prosecuted the case for the weak minded and feckless of the metropolis so successfully that this heckle and Jeckle couple stitched up arguably the best chief constable Manchester has had, whereupon law enforcement dwindled under the chaos of the blether of human rights until folk like me tired of the criminal classes spoiling the quality of our lives and deserted the sinking ship. He was then a world class plonker and it seem little has altered since; this article only goes to prove the leopard cannot change its spots. However in any event, and call it what you will, those who have some kind of difficulty with our language should not give up hope or become despondent by the drivel written by opinionated bigots I now edit several successful village magazines and my best friend over and above any educational aspirations is Mr Gates and his marvellous invention – the spell checker And never ever forget people Dyslexia rules K.O

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!

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?!

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.

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?

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.

If it wz up 2 meJanuary 12th 2009.

I blm txt spk.

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?

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.

Frank VJanuary 12th 2009.

CrisisSurfer - Thanks for your points, It's nice to have a reasoned thought on the subject, rather than the "it exists!", "no it doesn't" playground tattle we've been subject to so far.I think the problem is that everybody has learning difficulties, for example JimmyBob states that he has trouble finding the correct word to use in his head and has to re-read what he's written. Well, I'd put to you that 50% of the population probably have a variation of that and the other 50% probably have another variation of something which would fall under the broad category of Dyslexia. What we need to do is individualise learning. People tend to forget how to learn as they get older, some never get the chance to experience the correct type of learning suited to them. By separating out a particular learning difficulty, we miss the point. The biggest barrier to learning is the state of mind called "understanding"

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

Dyslexia is not a myth, however I do think that it is often used as an excuse within some educational establishments for poor performance of it's students. I know of a man who was dubbed 'stupid' at primary school; isolated and bullied, but with skilled support at secondary school and university has gone on to be a professor of linguistics. Not all people with dyslexia leave school functionally illiterate and not all functionally illiterate people are dyslexic, but grouping the two together you have is like saying that people with depression are just lazy!

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 !!

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?

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?

ChrisJanuary 12th 2009.

Well I never thought I'd see the day I'd agree with the careerist charlatan that is Graham Stringer MP. He's actually spot on for once. While we're at it can we reclassify all those people with 'ME' as 'lazy', the 'morbidly obese' as 'greedy lard a*ses' and the 'ADHD' massive as 'little sh*ts?I'm not denying that some people may find traditional teaching methods more or less effective than others, or that 'dyslexic' people may be one such group who would benefit from alternative approaches, but that's a fault of the education system, not the fault of some made up condition.As for the fool at the top of the rant advocating blind doctors (at least I think that's what s/he was saying - it was hard to tell with the spelling), if we ever find ourselves next to each other in MRI awaiting keyhole surgery, bagsy I get the sighted team.

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.

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

Frank VJanuary 12th 2009.

Mike - sorry to intrude on a tangent argument, but I think I understand what Karl is trying to say.I have to admit to my first thoughts, on reading somebodies claim to exceptional insight due to having experienced dyslexia first hand or the teaching of it, are those of "well, most of this will be a biased view worthy of discounting then".

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?

Kasper HauserJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

Bob LomasJanuary 12th 2009.

I see that Graham Stringer's knowledge has not increased since he was a newly elected councillor to Manchester City Council. Could this be down to a mental/educational/genetic disorder or is he just naturally thick?

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.

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.

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.

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?

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!

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.

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?

Ralph McDevittJanuary 12th 2009.

I am a 24 year old, fully literate dyslexic, currently studying a masters in neuropsychology. As such I find your comments regarding dyslexia both ignorant and insulting. I can only assume that you have simply not bothered to do any research into the condition. This is surprising considering your £62,467 staffing allowance for 2006/2007, as you would think you might employ someone to check your statements - adding irony to your criticism of the dyslexic allowance. One wonders whether you yourself are a victim of "eclectic and incomplete methods for instruction" in your education. If you had wanted evidence of the existence of the multifaceted condition you would have needed to look no further than the respected journal Dyslexia. Evidence has been found for neurological, cognitive and behavioural deficits that are present from early childhood to adulthood irrespective of improvement in core literacy. Further more there is increasing evidence of a genetic component from DZ and MZ twin studies.Your comparison with Nicuraguan and South Korean literacy rates are spurious. For a start the UK also has a literacy rate of nearly 99%, according to the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Index. Secondly this misrepresents the problem, most dyslexics achieve full literacy - just later than the others. The problem is not identified in these countries because they do not have the resources to diagnose the sufferers (in the UK a dyslexic evaluation costs around £300).From a more personal perspective I can say that without my diagnosis of dyslexia I would not be in the position I am today. Far from excusing bad teaching methods, it focused my family and my school on providing me with the additional teaching methods and assistance I needed. It has also helped me identify my strengths and my weaknesses: before diagnosis I thought I may have just have been stupid, now I realise that my problems are simply with writing, spelling and reading speed - with the use of a computer and a spell check I am capable of performing just as well as anyone else. It is because of my diagnosis - not despite it - that I recieved more concentrated tuition in literacy. I would have to say that I am one of the lucky ones: my condition is not that serious and I have had the benefit of top quality support throughout my schooling. For others dyslexic deficits can be much more serious and debilitating - anyone who has spent time with such people will know that dyslexia is not simply due to poor teaching. And their situation is not helped by those few who still insist that the problem does not exist - for reasons that I can only put down to their desire to make a name for themselves and enhance their career.

CrisisSurferJanuary 12th 2009.

Hi Frank V, I totally agree with you there who is exempt from a learning disability? It is such a relative term. I mean if we view my co-ordination with laird Hamilton (or for all you girls out there Layne Beachley) then I have a real learning disability! I mean I don't want to appear trite about this but there are probably very few of us who can cast stomes. I really agree with your point. Thanks for making it.

ChippychapJanuary 12th 2009.

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

you can take my lifeJanuary 12th 2009.

but you'll never take my freeeeeeeedom!!! Go on Sharon!!!

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.

Tom SFJanuary 12th 2009.

Now although i agree with Graham, Dyslexia is a condition which affects 6m people in the UK . But he is right, taching and the level of teaching in Manchester school's is poor in my personal opinion.

STRANGE WAYSJanuary 12th 2009.

I omitted to add that one area of conclusive evidence for neurological differences manifesting as dyslexia has come from Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) studies. You can't get evidence much more concrete than that. What's next on Mr. Stringer's hit list - autistic spectrum disorders?

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.

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!

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

A mum of dyslexicsJanuary 12th 2009.

I can't believe the ignorance of this M.P. Dyslexia is a very real problem for many. Dyslexics do need special help and should not be made to feel lazy or stupid. My children are all dyslexic to varying degrees but have all managed to go to university. They have been misunderstood and ostracised but have triumphed. If there were fewer people like Mr Stringer then life would be a whole lot simpler. There is enough prejudice in the world already without ill informed spouting from individuals who are supposed to be representing us.

before tricky notices itJanuary 12th 2009.

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

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

Freedom of Speech, I agree with you that healthy debate is essential to the democratic process ..... but I have to disagree with you on saying that this article is merely a personal opinion. It is a personal opinion disguised as fact (as it happens only thinly disguised because of the poor quality of his research). Personally, it seems to me that this article was not put forward for a reasoned debate, but to illicit a response, and when broaching this type of emotive subject this is unfortunately the range of response that will come forward.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

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

HelenJanuary 12th 2009.

I strongly advise that Mr Stringer has a talk with Professor Margaret Snowling of York University to go through the vast research supporting that Dyslexia exists- which there was never any doubt that it did!I qualified as a Primary Teacher in 2007 and the teaching of reading is rigorously assessed in Primary Schools and is better than ever! All teachers are aware of the Primary National Strategy, the Rose reading report and as such are all pretty uniform in the teaching of reading. Therefore if the teaching of reading is rigorous and uniform then how does Mr Stringer explain the fact that Dyslexia still exists?Mr Stringer is, however, right in saying synthetic phonics is an effective method in teaching children to read (which is the method currently used- so his teaching research for his argument must be out of date). Teaching reading using synthetic phonics has helped eradicate a form of Dyslexia termed Surface Dyslexia. However, other forms of Dyslexia still exist therefore how can Mr Stringer explain this?Moreover, the countries mentioned do not have the mechanisms to detect Dyslexia that we do in the UK which refutes Mr Stringer's already weak argument!

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?

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!!!

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.

Nick AJanuary 12th 2009.

I find the comments Mr. Stringer has made to be extremely offensive, what right or authority has a labour lap-dog backbencher (check his voting record) with a degree in chemistry got to comment on the existence or non-existence of a condition that he clearly has no knowledge about. As someone who has an honours degree in Biology, a masters degree in microbiology, half way through a medical degree and who is dyslexic, I can assure you the condition does exist and i'm glad it got picked up because otherwise I definitely wouldn't have passed my exams, as it was the pitiful amount of extra time I received didn't allow me to finish my papers. And as for the DSA, there is a paltry amount (around £150) available where students really need it (textbooks and printing), classed as "additional costs", something which Mr. Stringer claims over £22k a year for! This man should make a full apology to the house and if he had any decency he should resign as well.

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.

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.

Regen08January 12th 2009.

Characteristic lack of critical faculty from one of the principle opponents of the TIF bid / congestion charge.

Sharon MJanuary 12th 2009.

Ah that is what everyone thinks that your child should be given the education they need, but because I am now legally involved with the education system the law only requires that children are to be given an ADEQUATE education which totally shocked me !!! So if you have a child that can learn with no difficulties you have no problems, but if you have a child with learning difficulties it is very hard to get them properly educated. It is so emotional seeing and hearing parents who tell me that they know there is something wrong with their child but the LEA have not got the budget to do anything about it so the statutory assessments are refused. Its all wrong and heartbreaking. I have helped out at schools and the times i have been in tears because a child has just been left to their own devices because they cannot input into the lesson and when I have asked the teacher what can be done they have just strugged their shoulders and told me they do not have the resources.

PollyJanuary 12th 2009.

Mike, were you being sarcastic and I've missed the point when you said Seoul was a little known place in Korea? It's the CAPITAL CITY of South Korea, and a 'little known' event called the Olympic Games was held there in 1988. No wonder people are taking a pop at Mancunians elsewhere in the postings.

HelenJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

Jane, AberdeenJanuary 12th 2009.

My son is seven years old and is dyslexic. Our story spans about two years. From the start of primary 1 we were told that our son was very bright, but just didn’t seem to get to grips with his letters. We had his eyes tested, and even with glasses the situation continued. We were becoming increasingly worried, I couldn’t sleep. We were told to do more reading at home. One weekend, he came home with seven books to read for Monday!!! This situation went on and on. Incidentally, we refused to read seven books in one weekend. I now know that pressure is the worst thing to give to a dyslexic child. Anyway, the turning point began when I was very kindly asked by his teacher if I would like to do voluntary reading with his class. Great, I love this kind of thing. My heart sank when I say my son’s head practically hit the floor at the mention of reading or writing. Sometimes he could perform and others not, but he obviously was very unhappy. Both I and the teacher were confused. It was suggested that he was just lazy sometimes. I wondered myself, since I couldn’t understand why sometimes he could and sometimes he couldn’t. I now know why, but that requires lots of knowledge about the nature of dyslexia. Sadly our teachers are not educated to have this knowledge for which I have the greatest sympathy.Eventually my doctor gave me the name of an independent specialist who dealt with a number of learning difficulties. On first consultation he said that our son demonstrated a lot of signs of dyslexia, but he was unwilling to absolutely confirm the condition. Our son was seven at the time, and still quite young in his exposure to learning to read and write. Six months later he was fully diagnosed with dyslexia. We were very relieved to have this diagnosis, along with a nine page report explaining all the tests, scores and suggestions for future learning requirements.We gave this report to his school, still feeling happy and hopeful that now our child could be helped. No ….. who was this guy that did this diagnosis? The headmistress told me that she had worked for many years with dyslexic children, and ours was, well …. Lazy. The educational psychologist of the school had seen the report and brushed it off … what is this ‘developmental dsylexia’?Our specialist offered to take time out of his own teaching schedule to come to our son’s school to meet his teachers and the educational psychologist in order to explain his findings and give any help which may be required.Again, feeling that we were indeed leaving the dark hopeless times in the past, I approached the Headmistress. I was blow over sideways by her response. She said that teachers and the psychologist might not like it.Needless to say, our child doesn’t go to that school anymore. He now attends the Aberdeen Waldorf School where the independent specialist has become his learning support teacher. We are very lucky. Our son is now recognised, like most children to be bright. The difference is that the BUT word no longer exists. Yes, he learns in a different way which is treated with utmost respect and support.I heard him say to his friend “sit down, I’m going to read you a bit out of my book”. I don’t need to tell you how I felt.I do need to say that there are many children who are not so fortunate, and many families who cannot afford private education. This is why I wholeheartedly support the need for blanket testing for learning difficulties at the age of eight. A non- questionable diagnosis gives parents, their children and also importantly their teachers rights which cannot be denied. Please give a moment to consider my story and sign the e-petition.It can be accessed on the internet in the Scottish Parliament website : http://www.epetitions.scottish.parliament.uk. Under the e-petitions tab, the petition is titled ‘Assessment of children for specific learning difficulties’, raised by David Ballantyne, and will close on the 20th February, 2009. Thereafter it will be presented to Parliament in the early part of this year.It's very sad that Mr Stringer has denied the existence of dyslexia and has not made the link with illiteracy, exclusion from school and crime. The need for early diagnosis is crucial and his stance only assists those who deny the condition and thus deny learning support (as happened to my son).

scott charlesworthJanuary 12th 2009.

Graham your a waste of taxpayers money why? Read on. I'm a 25 yr old dyslexic PhD student, so illiterate far from it. My reading ability is above average but I still have problems reading and writing as my brain works in pictures. finding out I was dyslexic has really helped me tremendiously and without my diagnosis and help (which you think is a waste of tax payers money) I may never have reached my full potential. Furthermore, at first I was sceptical so I have took time to research and therefore understand dyslexia. Through research I have gained a greater understanding, which is why Graham I know that your speaking rubbish and your an absolute idiot! This is my opinion based on fact, shown to us by YOU through YOUR article, you've actually proved yourself to be an idiot, WOW only an idiot could do that. You have an idiotic opinion of dyslexia, I feel sorry for the people of your constituency and worried that your an MP. You have obviously not researched dyslexia and are talking about something you do not understand. If you had bothered to research the condition properly before making these stupid assumptions, based on forign government statistics, which we all know can be 'fiddled' to show what a government wants (just look at your parties new deal and employment figures). If you had done real research you would realise that dyslexia effects different languages to differing degrees, for example if I was Chinese I probably wouldn't be dyslexic, infact I would probably have an astonishing literacy, why, mainly (there are other factors) because a dyslexic brain works in pictures and so abstract words (which the english lang contains a hell of a lot of) mean nothing to me as my mind has no picture for them, thus confusing me resulting in reading problems Your stupid article has made me very angry and scared that there may be more MPs as stupid as yourself, I will be writing to number 10 as well as many others...Graham your the waste of taxpayers money.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

This type of discrimination should not be allowed to be published

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.

NickJanuary 12th 2009.

The difference is i wouldn't mind standing in a line with someone with the Ebola virus. Put me in a line with Mr Stringer however and i might just be sick :D

openmindJanuary 12th 2009.

Dear Ed - challenging the sacred organic movement, exposing the TIF nonsense and now this! How much are you paying him to single handedly boost Man Con's profile?

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.

boredJanuary 12th 2009.

Helen you are allowed to free speech like the rest of us but to be honest the length of this rant is getting boring now, each point you make in the most recent rant has been made already. Does anyone have anything new to say that doesn’t require pointing out to the obvious? No offence Helen.

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.

hippleJanuary 12th 2009.


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....

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.

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.

Philip bennettJanuary 12th 2009.

In answer to""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%"I understand thatIf a language if built up of a picture and symbols instead of phonetic word a dyslexic brain can posses this in the same way as a non dyslexic brain.facebook group created plese join!

sevenarchespublishingJanuary 12th 2009.

The programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)tables which I presume have informed Graham Stringer's comments about South Korea and Nicaragua give South Korea top place; but I can see no mention of Nicaragua. After an extensive search on google to find out about Nicaraguan literacy rates, I have only come up with comments on the difficulties with schooling in that country and literacy rates at around 68%. There are still some parts of the Nicaragua where there is so much poverty children are not receiving an education of any sort. (Of course, I will be happy to stand corrected if it is just the case that I haven't been able to find Mr. Stringer's source. Politicians spout facts and figures, but the truth is most of what they say, is never investigated properly. Members of the public are told of the wonders of synthetic phonics as a teaching method but there have been many similar systems used in the past and there is really nothing at all new about it. Research at Warwick University at least 15 to 20 years ago came up with a very similar system which produced good results. New methods of teaching always do, as everyone gets enthusiastic and makes it work - give it a few years and it all gets to be ordinary and ceases to be the pancea it once was. Phoneme teaching, very very similar to that of the sythetic variety, takes place in Manchester, I am not at all sure why Mr. Stringer doesn't know that.

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?

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?

TRTJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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 ????

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?

Ernalds alter egoJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Chris BJanuary 12th 2009.

Very brave article or very foolish.. Time will tell. It's hardly rivers of blood but it's message is parallel. a warning about the future. Regardless of whether the article suits your beliefs or happens to offend your sensibilities this society has to wake up to the reality that we're all pussy-footing around each other too sensitively. Surely telling a child early on in their schooling that they have an excuse for failure is bad. Most kids wil happily wallow in that label given half the chance. As for Dyslexics struggling through university. I'm noy dyslexic but I had to drop out because i simply couldn't keep up, had my eye on other things and couldn't really get my head down and focus. Am I suffering from ADHD??? No, I was simply not good enough. It takes focus, concentration, self-discipline and desire plus talent in a field to succeed and learn. Not a free lap-top. Is difficulty learning sometimes mistaken for 'learning difficulty'?I've since found a profession that suits my skills rather than wallow and blame teaching methods or argue that the styling of compulsory tasks was not to my mindset, disposition or liking.I'm intelligent to a level, whcih is adaptable to most things but probaably not academia for its' own sake.From another angle I do believe that wherever in society we categorise things/people we open up this chicken and egg thing. It's happened with poor/blacks,(myth) jobs/disabled, (myth), the aged, obese, smokers, 'disadvantaged', etc. Once you label yourself or are labelled it's a sentence till you can shrug it off. i didn't really even notice Barack Obama was a black guy until everyone made a song and dance about it. I wonder if there are any secret high level dyslexia 'sufferers' out there who've just never made an issue out of the fact that they were incorrectly eduacted, lacked ability or just weren't interewsted in learning at that point in their life?? Get on with it please reagrdless of your supposed issue, will you?

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.

Dificult to think of an appropreate word strong enough to describe my feelings towards the author. As someone who has Dislexia and has suffered no end from a small minority of teachers and university proffesors who did not believe in it this kind of artical from an MP no less is just appaling! I hope, for the sake of my descendants (2 of my 3 kids have been tested positve for Dislexia already) that no one even bothers to read the artical! I will not read it, the summary on the BBC website was enough to tell me I should not bother! BTW it is very counter productive to sugest any particular strategy for the teaching of anythign. No two minds are the same and reading in particular needs to be taught using the appropreate method for the mind being taught not some method chosen as the best method by some !@%&$@! politician for !@%&$@!'s sake! The reason it shows up more often in countries where English is the first language is that English is the least phonetic language in the world. If you want every Dislexic child to learn to read easily the answer is easy, dump the English language and adopt Czech instead!

PeteJanuary 12th 2009.

Having read the above comments in detail, I would like to offer my support to all those who are dyslexic and who individuals with dyslexia, I wish Sharon Moore the best of luck in fighting the LEA and would be interested to learn of the outcome of your case. I would like to know from Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley how he has arrived at the opinions he has stated in his article and what makes them so valid in his opinion. I have Dyspraxia and Dyslexia and despit a very poor social upbringing I have exceeded my own expectations and continue to do so rather than turn into a crazed drug taking criminal who is stupid. I served in the British Army for 15 years and went to war zones in the role of a Combat Medical Technican saving people's lives and making life saving decisions under pressure. Since then I went to University and found out half way through my three year course that I have dyspraxia & dyslexia, even though I have always known that I have had a problem since the age of three though I was told that I was slow, autistic and thick (this being the 1970' & 80's)It took a years worth of hard work from myself to start getting the right support in place and having some fantastic support from individuals to support and help pass my Adult Nursing Diploma. When I did finally get a job in a NHS trust I encountered discrimination from a minority of people & finally being recognised that I have alot to offer. I still encounter problems on a daily basis and always will. My point is individuals with dyslexia & those that support individuals with dyslexia need positive support not ill informed comments displayed by Graham Stringer.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Thoroughbred MancJanuary 12th 2009.

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

esquiloJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Owain StreetJanuary 12th 2009.

Simply ridiculous. My mother spent the best part of her life teaching children with a wide variety of learning difficulties. She then went on to be a county-wide advisor on methods of teaching such children. I can safely assume Mr Stringer hasn't spent any real time with such children. I can also assure Edwin that she did not make a lot of money out of "the idea" of Dyslexia. I take heart from the fact that most responses on this thread appear to treat Mr Stringers comments with the disdain they deserve. Oh yes, one last thing: perhaps we could save Government money by dropping less cluster bombs on civilians on our so called "wars". Oh dear there's another can of worms....

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.

HelenJanuary 12th 2009.

Hi Polly, See below for a summary of what Dyslexia is as there is no one definition:- “a processing difference experienced by people of all ages, often characterised by difficulties in literacy, it can affect other cognitive areas such as memory, speed of processing, time management, co-ordination and directional aspects. There may be visual and phonological difficulties and there is usually some discrepancy in performances in different areas of learning. It is important that the individual differences and learning styles are acknowledged since these will affect outcomes of assessment and learning. It is also important to consider the learning and work context as the nature of the difficulties associated with dyslexia may be more pronounce in some learning situations.” (Reid, 2002)

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.

Tricky needs to chillJanuary 12th 2009.

Jesus tricky. Gobsmacked just fessed up to being dyslexic, admitted struggling and that teaching standards need to improved in his/her opinion.

CrisisSurferJanuary 12th 2009.

Hi Mike;yes I take you point. However I wonder if it is really a symptom rather than a condition! The risk is that everyone says, right you child has dyslexia, we've got a diagnosis for you now. The child then does not receive further assessment to understand their unique difficulties. Arguably dyspraxia and autism suffer from exactly the same semantic misuse. I do believe that unless we understand each child's particular difficulties we will remain impotent in our attempts to help.If only there really was a one size fits all solution!

Pedigree DyslexicJanuary 12th 2009.

I have posted this poem to illustrate that:-A)Pressing F7 is not a cure for DyslexiaB)Mr stringer's favoured edu-fad might not be all it's cracked up to be.I have a spelling checker,It came with my PC.It plane lee marks four my revueMiss steaks aye can knot sea.Eye ran this poem threw it,Your sure reel glad two no.Its vary polished in it's weigh.My checker tolled me sew.A checker is a bless sing,It freeze yew lodes of thyme.It helps me right awl stiles two reed,And aides me when eye rime.Each frays come posed up on my screenEye trussed too bee a joule.The checker pours o'er every wordTo cheque sum spelling rule.Bee fore a veiling checker'sHour spelling mite decline,And if we're lacks oar have a laps,We wood bee maid too wine.Butt now bee cause my spellingIs checked with such grate flare,Their are know fault's with in my cite,Of nun eye am a wear.Now spelling does knot phase me,It does knot bring a tier.My pay purrs awl due glad denWith wrapped word's fare as hear.To rite with care is quite a feetOf witch won should bee proud,And wee mussed dew the best wee can,Sew flaw's are knot aloud.Sow ewe can sea why aye dew praysSuch soft wear four pea seas,And why eye brake in two averseBuy righting want too pleas.As before - There are no mistakes in this post. It is spelt and punctuated exactly as I intend it to be.

HelenJanuary 12th 2009.

Thanks Mike you beat me to what i was going to say lol- cpuldn't have put it better myself :)

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.

esquiloJanuary 12th 2009.

Dear Mike, can i point you toward the Masthead of the site for a reason to my own personal comment. Your other question should be better addressed to the editorial team of the site. I suppose that ManCon is now on the favourite lists of some more people. Even if they are offended by a minor politician and live in Inverness. Although, it is pretty hilarious that a column on a Macnunian website has attracted one-issue invective (although, doubtless totally objective, natch) from across from across the country. Surely that groaning and whining is Nothing at all like the rusty wheels of a bandwagon being pressed into action. God bless the forums. As for TOM SF ..... whoosh..... Anyway guys, what are your favourite bars?

Mrs Brenda HatcherJanuary 12th 2009.

This man is showing the typical tendancy of ignorance coupled with an overwhelming egoism and ability to open his mouth and expose everyone to his assumed supremacy. Dyslexia is a term which covers many areas of inability to rationalise words and letters in the accepted form. Once diagnosed the person, hopefully a child, can be taught ways of dealing with their individual problem and most teachers are very happy to help. I say most teachers because unfortunately there are those who think like this man and are very unsympathetic to a child with any problem and I speak from personal experience in that quarter. I just hope that the people who voted him into his seat will remember his crass ignorance and reject him in the next election.

Very true trickyJanuary 12th 2009.

but i'm not the one criticising - merely defending - i am dyslexic :-) - i also put b's instead of p's very frequently - but it's all in my head - i don't have a problem

Maggie DJanuary 12th 2009.

I am curious to know why my comment, posted a couple of days ago, has been removed. It was neither excessively rude, defamatory or lacking in contact details. Was it because I suggested that dyslexics direct their anger against the governments who perpetuated methods of teaching reading which flew in the face of all scientific research into the teaching of reading? Or was it because I criticised his government's endorsement of the Reading Recovery programm; a programme which perpetuates the discredited methods of teaching reading and goes entirely against the government's own recommendation (and guidance) that synthetic phonics should be key to the teaching of reading and the remediation of reading difficulties?It seems that entitlement to free speech goes only so far.

CaliburnJanuary 12th 2009.

Here we go again, another ill informed MP. I had a number of problems at school namely a stammer, and concentration problems. My parents were told by Social Services to place me in a mental instution as would be of no use to society. Today I would have been diagnosed as dsylexic. I eventually overcame the stammer improved my concentation and came away with 2 O'Levels grade A and 5 C.S.E's which wasn't bad for someone classified as an idiot. I know some people may never fully overcome these problems mainly because of those in postions of power holding such bigoted, uniformed, opinions. Do the right thing and resign you seat and crawl back to your bigoted Ivory Tower.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

As an academic (not a supporter) of Mr Stringer's factually based comments, I totally agree!The facts are that historic issues regarding literacy are not physical (I have worked with enough inmates to determine intellectual capability based on social as opposed to physical, social and/or cultural factors!!!The only factors that grey the area of statistical correlations are those provided by middle and upper class students who now request as standard that they receive extensions and/or automatic re-grades as a consequence of their 'privately determined' Dyslexic situations. Get a Life!

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.

benJanuary 12th 2009.

I had the best schooling money can buy but still find it hard to read and spell, so what a twit Mr. Stringer is. I have lived and Nicaragua, and you are telling me that you trust their data??? That’s just silly. I will nether vote Labor now.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

Dyslexia is part of the booming state education 'special needs' racket. Stringer has done well to alert people to one of the trendy, expensive fads that infect our state education system.

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.

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.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

Paulipips - just like the proverbial cross eyed sniper your aim may be excellent, yet you still missed the target by miles. Or are you saying that in the case of the builder subsidence does not exist? In the cases of the doctor and the psychiatrist, why is it that some of the best in their fields acknowledge the existence of ME and ADHD? And in the case of dyslexia, why do you refuse to look at the portfolios of proof for its existence that have been built up since 1881? ..... Yes, if some pharmaceutical company came out with a miracle pill that was somehow passed by the BMA and NICE then I agree, profits would certainly have a bearing on the diagnosis rate for the less scrupulous in the medical profession. ..... I would be interested in seeing your proof into the claims in your post, but then again you don't need any, as you didn't display the same level of arrogance and ignorance as Mr Stringer, who stated his opinion as a fact.

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.

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.

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.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

To the idiot who said that Dyslexia is a way to get a free laptop, I have two words, but being Dyslexic I can't spell them. Use your imagination (if you have one). It took me three years of pleading the (alleged) support services at a Manchester university for help with my form of Dyslexia, and in the end had to resort to getting big guns involved just to get a small number of fairly useless support sessions arranged. There was no lap top, and no concessions were made for me. To be honest, that was not my intent in asking for help. I just wanted a little specialist tuition aimed at someone whose learning processes differ from the 'norm.' I mistakenly thought that an institution of higher learning might be able to provide such support. (Ha ha ha). I had to battle every inch of the way, and was made very stressed and unhappy by the whole process. I never used my 'disability' as an excuse to get preferential treatment, and in fact wasn't diagnosed until very late on in life, so just struggled along for years. After being diagnosed with a learning difficulty BY the university, I had to beg and BEG for help, and ultimately had to fight tooth and nail to get a tiny amount of support (which was provided by an outside agency). I wouldn't wish a learning disability on anyone, and people who try and negate such issues can just fcuk off.

Elin's mumJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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....

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.

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

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

i love how everybody is ranting to their own tune!

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

Karl - He has indeed formed his own opinion, but the evidence from his article itself shows that his research did not look at the actual evidence of its existence ..... and the evidence he claims as fact is either made up or highly misinformed and unverified. For instance his claim that Dyslexia doesn't appear in S Korea has been disproved, his claimed literacy rate for Nicaragua is between 20% and 30% out from official figures, his claim that it was invented by the educational institutions is seriously in error ..... You're wrong about the analogy with cancers, at least in the way I was using the analogy, Cancer may be visible and treatable in a physical way, however there are a multitude of functionally different cancers within the category, some requiring different treatments from others and some displaying drastically different symptoms from others ..... yet dyslexia is still lumped under one umbrella by Mr Stringer and dismissed. There are various functionally different, scientifically and medically proven, forms of dyslexia ....... this next bit might sound like deja vu ....... with different symptoms, and different treatments ..... the only difference is that you can't just cut dyslexia out, or irradiate it to kill off the bad bits. ................ Interesting point on the semantics, let me reword that a little ..... if we gave equal weight to every theory and opinion, despite relative weights of evidence, then we may as well not have science at all, as every proven theory would be open to any form of interpretation. You may not see that as the same thing, but think about it and you'll see the stark similarities.

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.

RobJanuary 12th 2009.

I,ve got a story for you I,ve made it really simple so Graham Stringer can keep up. I might help him a little he,s not dyslexic poor fellow so it might go over his headDarkness and vision and all the shades of the mind who know's more about colours?A colour blind man who reads books on the theory of colours and forms a opinionor a man who can see in colour ?If my life depended on it which one would I ask to pick out the colour blue? Only a colour blind man can say colours do not exist because he cannot see them and still sound ratationalThe problem for the man who sees in colour is discribing the colours too someone who can,nt see them the man who sees in colour may sound strange to the colour blind person or even mad,stupid and living in a fantasy world Does this make the colours go away ?No, but some times the guy who see,s in colour just wish,s he was normaland saw things in black and white just so life was easy for a changeSeeing in colour sounds better than being colour blindbut being told it makes you abnormal is not What if they then invent teststoo test your colour blind vision?the trouble is you see in colour and get all the answers wronghow could you be so stupid?Were,nt you told you where living on the planet of the colour blind?Well no, you could see in colour from birth and it never crossed your mind their were colour blind peopleJust as it never crossed their mind there where poeple who could see in colour What right does the colour blind guy have too judge the guy who see,s in colour?The same right the non-dyslexic has too judge the dyslexic

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?

Frank VJanuary 12th 2009.

Karl. You will wait all day. It's hilarious, in a black humour kind of way. However, it's also nauseating. Can you prescribe me something?

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.

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.

foobooJanuary 12th 2009.

To say the standard of teaching is a problem is one thing (and one I agree with) so say dyslexia is made up is an entirely different thing, a damaging, hurtful and inaccurate thing. There is a wealth of medical evidence and research that proves it's existence."...rather than admit that their eclectic and incomplete methods for instruction are at fault, have invented a brain disorder called dyslexia.""Dyslexia is a cruel fiction..."These are not criticisms of teaching methods they are unsupported attacks on people with a genuine condition.If he didn't intend to offend and malign then he could publish a retraction clarifying his positions as primarily criticizing teaching. He hasn't done that...he's a misinformed bigot.

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.

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!

Graham NelsonJanuary 12th 2009.

Synthetics phonics? A fat lot of good they have done for MY dyslexic child! He is a highly intelligent boy, with an amazing visual memory. But ask him to remember verbal instruction or take in a list of written instructions and the poor kid is over loaded! Instructions have to be broken down into small chunks or he simply cannot manage them. Dyslexia. He can't write legibly. Dyslexia. He has a phenomenal visual memory (he remembers movies in amazing detail, ones that the rest of us have long forgotten were ever on the TV let alone what happens in them.) Typical dyslexia. What Mr Stringer fails to realise is that some languages help to disguise the existence of dyslexia. For example, Russian Cyrillic characters are pronounced exactly as they are written ALL THE TIME, unlike our own. That makes learning to read easier, but it doesn't solve some of the other problems common to dyslexia, such as the inability to process verbal and written instructions. Sure, the handicap that is dyslexia can be overcome - see Michael Heseltine and Richard Branson or Susan Hampshire - indeed, I am dyslexic and I've got a Masters Degree in Writing Studies! But the condition is real enough in spite of good and bad teaching.

leighJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Sharon MJanuary 12th 2009.

macca !! that is what should be being published in the media !! it has made me feel a bit better well done

DanJanuary 12th 2009.

I am a dyslexic trainee solicitor and I can tell Mr Stringer that dyslexia is a very real condition. Firstly, may I point out that to be dyslexic does not mean that one is illiterate. Only someone with a very poor understanding of dyslexia would make that mistake. Secondly, Mr Stringer is interested in killing off the 'dyslexic industry'? I wonder if Mr Stringer has a vested interest in 'synthetic phonics industry'. With a quick internet search I could invest quite heavily in the synthetic phonics industry. By the way, literacy rates from the UN as of the 18/12/08; UK 99%, South Korea 99% Nicaragua 80.1% Is 80.1% almost 100%? Maybe Mr Stringer is numerically dyslexic...

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.

cannonball11January 12th 2009.

To some degree Mr. Stringers "essay" reflects on the nature of New Labour itself; gone are the days when the vulnerable or those willing to persevere in the face of adversity could expect the support from the likes of members of the Fabian Society or Labour Party. Instead we have a bitter and spiteful party in its place, run for and by bitter and spiteful people - that has produced two bitter a spiteful governments.Mr. Stringer is nothing more than a product of our times, a sorry individual peddling an embittered ignorant cause. He didn't research into the subject of dyslexia before he committed his prejudices to paper, because he couldn't be bothered. "Couldn't be bothered" is the mission statement of the government and its MP's. I look forward to when Labour throw off its current fascist obsessions and returns to being a champion of social justice and democratic socialist reform.

JulianJanuary 12th 2009.

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

HelenJanuary 12th 2009.

For those of you arguing about arguments being anecdotal here are some references for research supporting Dyslexia:-Snowling, M.J. & Maughan, B. (in press). Reading and other learning disabilities. In Gillberg, C., Harrington, R., & Steinhausen, H-C. (Eds). Clinician's Deskbook of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.Snowling, M. J. (2004) The science of dyslexia: A review of contemporary approaches. In Turner, M.., and Rack, J,R.. (Eds.) The Study of Dyslexia. Kluwer Academic Publishers. 77-90.Snowling, M.J. (in press) Dyslexia. In Hopkins, B. (Ed.) Cambridge Encyclopedia of Child Development.Snowling, M.J. & Griffiths, Y.M. (2003) Individual differences in dyslexia. In Nunes, T., and Bryant, P. (Eds.) Handbook of Literacy. Dordrecht: Kluwer.Nikolopoulos, D., Goulandris, N. & Snowling, M. (2003). Developmental dyslexia in Greek. In Goulandris, N. (Ed.) Dyslexia in different languages, (pp53-67) London: WhurrSnowling, M. J. (2002) Reading development and dyslexia. In Goswami, U.C. (Ed.) Handbook of Cognitive Development. Oxford: Blackwell. 394-411.Hatcher, J. & Snowling, M.J (2002). The Phonological Representations Hypothesis of Dyslexia: From Theory to Practice. In Reid, G. & Wearmouth, J. (Eds.) Dyslexia and Literacy: Theory and Practice. John Wiley & Sons. (pp 69-83)Snowling, M.J. (2002) Dyslexia: Individual and developmental differences. In Stainthorp, R. & Tomlinson, P. (Eds) Learning and Teaching Reading (British Journal of Educational Psychology Monograph Series II, No. 1). Leicester: The British Psychological Society.Snowling, M.J. (2001) Dyslexia: Diagnosis and Training. In Smelser, N.J. and Baltes, P.B. (Eds) International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. Oxford: Pergamon,. 3921-3924. (Online from November 2002)Goulandris, N. & Snowling, M. (2001). Dyslexia in adolescence: a five-year follow-up study. In Hunter Carsch, M. & Herrington, M. (Eds.) Dyslexia and Effective Learning. London: Whurr Publishers.Snowling M.J. (2000). Language and literacy skills: who is at risk and why? In Bishop, D.V.M. & Leonard, L.B. (Eds). Speech and language impairments in children: Causes, characteristics, intervention and outcome. Hove, UK: Psychology Press. 245-260.

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

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.

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.

TeacherJanuary 12th 2009.

I love the way the educational establishment gets the blame for poor literacy skills (and everything else that's wrong with society). Yes, kids get taught to read and write etc at school, but most spend only 6 hours a day there. If parents actually bothered to sit and read/write with their children instead of slapping them in front of an xbox or playstation for an easy life maybe they would get the extra practice that is sorely needed by most children. Dyslexia DOES exist, but as some here have said, that is simply a reason to try harder, not an excuse for failure.

LedderwoodJanuary 12th 2009.

I agree with many of your statements. It's true that 'of the prison population, roughly 80% of inmates are functionally illiterate' and as a teacher of excluded children I know that many are excluded because they 'find secondary school a humiliating and frustrating experience. You're also right to say that with the right teaching, their experiences could be different. As a parent of a dyslexic son, I strive hard to ensure that he gets the right teaching and that his self-esteem is not affected. Unfortunately many children don't have the same attention and yes - it is better to be class clown than class dunce.However I also assess many students and pupils for access arrangements and DSA. What I find here are mainly pupils and students of parents who have sacrificed a great deal to ensure their children acquire the literacy skills necessary. But dyslexia is not just about whether you can read or not. Synthetic phonics is a very good programme that is highly successful, but dyslexic individuals will still process language at a slower pace, simply because they have learnt to decode letters into words, but not always comprehend at the same time. They have to re-read text several times, hence disadvantaging them in timed exams. The subject of dyslexia is incredibly emotive. I have spent many years as an academic, a teacher and a parent and I know that it is naive to say that it is simply a case of bad teaching. I'm happy to have longer discussion if necessary.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

I remain stunned that such an ill-conceived and poorly constructed statement could have been produced by any reasonable balanced human, let alone a member of the national parliament. Much as I respect the honourable member's... 'deep' and 'varied' experience in the field of neurological sciences, I cannot help but suspect that the medical basis for this article was the last ten minutes of a soap opera featuring a character suffering from this well-known and widely-documented learning disability.Since Mr Stringer obviously has no knowledge on this subject whatever I shall take the liberty of drawing his attention to the researches of Dr W P Morgan who first documented the condition in Britain in 1896. The fact that it has been an accepted part of medicine for over a century negates the need for further comment; it is a period which will mercifully outstrip both the career and the life of this 'gentleman'.I shall not add to the copious and pertinent comments of other sufferers, and merely state that while I do not myself suffer from the condition I have worked with them before, and I can assure you that while arguments do persist on whether it should be defined as a condition or disorder, the effects are easily observed regardless of its classification. To watch an intelligent and popular 19-year old break down into tears for want of being able to spell 'tremendous' is a harrowing experience that I think this Stringer should observe before being welcomed (reluctantly) back into human society.The teaching methods he cites are well-known to circumvent the obstructions the disability entails and allow people to learn and work alongside others as is the right of every person.Before setting pen to paper again I would advise Stringer to at least consult some person with a modicum of knowledge upon the subject and thereby avoid another political suicide. Expulsion from the party, prosecution and interminable imprisonment are the most suitable punishments I can readily think of, and anything further is prohibited by both law and the constraints of the content restrictions of the website.Perhaps Stringer would care to meet figures such Höß and Goeth of the SS-Totenkopfverbände, who worked Jews and undesirables to death in labour camps, brushing aside mental and physical disabilities as 'mere fabrication to avoid labour duties'.Judging from the content of the above article (and I use the word reluctantly, and in its loosest possible manner) he already has. If I were not so enraged I would wish you luck in the imminent storm of protest that will follow, and if any justice exists bring your career to a brisk and well-earned end.

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.

I have a form of Dyslexia. It wasn't diagnosed while I was in school or university, so I received no help or support at all: I just developed complex coping strategies to deal with my poor memory and concentration problems. I am Dyslexic, not illiterate. I have a degree in writing and journalism, over a decade's worth of experience of creating copy for the media, and earn my living by writing, editing and proof-reading text. Mr Stringer, please try and grasp the simple difference between a learning disability and illiteracy. Genuine Dyslexics just have their brain wired a little differently to the 'norm.' This does not mean they are stupid or lazy: simply that their learning and day-to-day operational systems are not the same as the majority of the population. Many people with one or another form of this learning 'disability' actually become very imaginative and resourceful in developing coping strategies, and with a little adjustment and support from educators and other key people around them, can go on to become high achievers, even in academic or literary fields. By the way, Einstein was Dyslexic.

JenJanuary 12th 2009.

This is an appalling explanation of something that could actually be very valuable to the dyslexic population. Someone once described Dyslexia to me a learning DIFFERANCE as appose to a learning difficulty, which is entirely accurate. There are teaching methods which could, if not eradicate, then significantly reduce the problems in literacy associated with the condition. These methods would not detrimentally affect the learning of the non dyslexic population within a class and would simply bridge the gap between the two populations, this does not mean that there would then be no Dyslexia, granted it would be less likely to be diagnosed due to the fact the symptom are being automatically catered for, Perhaps this is the case in South Korea or West Dunbartonshire? If it’s not causing a problem then why fix it? If these measures were put in place as standard the government would not have to spend money on separate classes for Dyslexic people, which in my experience held me back as appose to help me, is it not just sensible for this to be the case? However even if this were the case would the words I see on a page miraculously stay still? Would time perception and spatial awareness suddenly make sense to me? I highly doubt it. And yes I have spell checked this on my free lap top, and yes I came across this article while doing research for an exam I will get extra time in. My view on this, I am very grateful, however if the teaching I had received in school had been ‘Dyslexia friendly’ perhaps I would not need these allowances to be made for me in university?

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 !

Ralph McDevittJanuary 12th 2009.

Oh and to "Nath": the reason that your specific deficts in footballing and spelling are not labled is because they are not part of a syndrome. Presuamably you are just thick and not very good at sport....

red manc 4evaJanuary 12th 2009.

If a research scientist had stated this without researching it and proving it, they would have been sacked.Why is stringer getting away with cr^p like this? Time for him to be deselected.

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.

CrisisSurferJanuary 12th 2009.

There are three points I would like to make.Firstly the minister is right that poor teaching methods are a serious issue. He is also correct to challenge the concept of Dyslexia. Here is why.Dyslexia is probably a term for many different kinds of neurological conditions which are all different but all show up as a difficulty with reading, writing or spelling. As such it could be argued that Dyslexia doesn't exist, but is a name for a collection of conitions, some of which are not properly understood yet.To take an example a mechanic can diagnose tht a car won't start, but what really matters is why? Is it the fuel system the air intake or the battery that is to blame. Unfortunately as humans we are a lot more complicated than a car!The key is to understand the type of difficulties each indivudual is experiencing. This means expert assessment, and I do not see the education system, politicians or sadly the Dyslexia lobby fully developing this debate.There is a for more disturbing point upon wich the minister may be right albeit by accident. We teach writing at a very young age in the UK. Young minds are very open to the memories and patterns of the world they encounter. Bad teaching and sloppy diagnosis may lay down poor patterns possibly irretrivably. I see it his way. Inany class of 6 year olds, ten to twenty percent may not be neurologically ready for the level of challenge that they experience in the classroom. reading and writing are neurological complex tasks. Given the risk of bad patterns being laid down can we honestly say in the UK that children with dyslexia are not a product nof our teaching system. The answer is that we can't be sure. Not yet. The question demands our urgent attention.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

RchirdarJanuary 12th 2009.

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

RchirdarJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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!

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

Anonymous, yes you do have difficulty spelling but you have no difficulty in getting your meaning across, which at the end of the day is what really matters.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

"She's now an A level student, but still struggles to make sense of a printed page when she is tired or stressed." - 'mumofdyslexic'That's the argument this man has. We all struggle with things when we are tired or stressed, but without Dyslexia aren't compensated in anyway (time wise or financially). If the coloured glasses 'fix' your daughter's dyslexia, what now separates her from learning at the same rate as the other students?

mumofdyslexicJanuary 12th 2009.

I feel appalled at this diatribe of bigoted and personal viewpoint. Knowing the struggles my son has had to endure and the financial hardships my family have suffered trying to help it is insulting Graham not only feels his views are credible but that he feels entitled to have them published. Luckily my son is intelligent, sensitive and has enough common sense not to be hurt by such arrogant outbursts. I hope graham never has to experience dyslexia in his own family. I am certain he would not feel entitled to ridicule any other disability as it would certainly not be pc. It s easy for the uneducated to knock dyslexia.

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

JO TutorJanuary 12th 2009.

See - as a dyslexic I am having to type this out again as I missed the essential bit of the preamble and my 'rant' dissappeared into the ether..By the way - Times New Roman is a truly ghastly font for dyslexics. Much better to have a sans serif font such as Arial or Comic Sans etc.HOW TRULY PATHETIC that Mr Stringer has so very thouroughly failed to do research into dyslexia (apart apparently from looking up how many different definitions there are for it!!) Maybe if he really read up about it he would understand more.ONE WONDERS if he is merely providing a soundbite smokescreen as a preamble for making even less provision financially to help dyslexics cope with the quite substantial difficulties associated with the magpie language that is English.Of course it is easier to become literate in Spanish (like Italian or Hebrew) as such languages are phonetic in their spelling . Learn one rule and it applies. English???!!!??? Dyslexia and the other conditions on the same spectrum, are SPECIFIC learning difficulties, are inherited ,and are independent of the person's intelligence level. One could say in lay terms that dyslexics have 'differently wired' brains. This causes problems with organisation, short term memory, auditory processing etc. However dyslexics can also have many great talents which are not granted to 'normal' people. e.g. my husband is an architect and can 'see' a building in 3D just by looking at one floor plan or even just the outside of the building. There is at least one firm of architects in Texas who will ONLY employ architects if they ARE dyslexic!!I only found out that I am dyslexic and dyspraxic when I was 50 and having my son tutored, and then did a Diploma in Specific Learning Difficulties at the Hornsby Institute in London. This was to add to my degree in Zoology from Oxford University and my PGCE. The diagnosis made many things I had experienced fall into place i.e. HUGE problems with organisation; clumsiness; having to work incredibly hard to obtain my degree and further qualifications, knowing that I am and was more intelligent and able than I can actually demonstrate in an examination; sometimes understanding difficult concepts as a whole and very fast; difficulties filling out forms.It is not surprising that there is a disproportionately high no of dyslexics in the prison population: poor opportunity, and the poor self worth which develops from being labelled 'lazy' and 'stupid' and 'daydreamer' workshy etc. Bored and dissaffected and unable to fit into the linear world, they are more likely to find themselves falling into criminal behaviour.The fact that dyslexia also confers advantages and did so in human societies makes complete evolutionary sense: to be present in such a high proportion and demonstrably an inherited trait it MUST HAVE conferred great advantages; - it is only in the last 100 to 150 years that the majority of the human population has had to be literate and numerate. That is a mere click in evolutionary terms. HOW ARROGANT to assume that just because one is an MP one has knowledge and wisdom on all things. Methinks there must be a financial angle to this Mr Stringer.

HelenJanuary 12th 2009.

There are many forms of Dyslexia Secreto although reading and spelling are problems for many (but not all) people who have Dyslexia some dyslexocs may have problems with other things such as memory, sequencing and phonological processing

byslexicJanuary 12th 2009.

what an ignorant tw*t!

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.

Dr KarlJanuary 12th 2009.

ALL Manchester people are ignorant. I don't believe this, of course, but if I were to employ the level of enquiry demonstrated by most of the posters here and assume that they are representative of Manchester's intellect, that's the conclusion I'd draw. We can start be eliminating all the posters who use their own example or that of their mother (etc.) because they have presumably already been "diagnosed" as dyslexic and base all their opinions and experiences on this diagnosis, whether it is right or wrong. Just as pointless are the ones who extol their own academic achievements despite being dyslexic, for the same reason. Dyselxia probably exists in an extremely small number of people, and there are valid arguments on both sides as to its prevalence, as well as invalid ones. The idea that 10% of the population have it ignores the complexity of the original condition, and is more often than not a lazy diagnosis. The final group of ranters we can ignore are the ones who use their gift of free speech to diss Stringer, the Labour Party or (most mystifyingly) cluster bombs. They advance the argument not one inch.

HelenJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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.

Jonathan Schofield - editorJanuary 12th 2009.

If someone with experience or expert knowledge wants to reply to this thought-provoking article they can contact me on jonathans@planetconfidential.co.uk

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.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Nicholas LawleyJanuary 12th 2009.

Maybe Stringer should come and meet my wife, her mum, and brother. They all suffer from some form of dyslexia, and in the case of my wife and her brother, the related condition of dyspraxia.As a result, I have to help my wife with her spellings, counting and remembering things as she has difficulty with all three.My brother-in-law often has to double check service numbers on buses because he reads them the wrong way round, and as a result has a disability permit for use on the buses to show it.My mother-in-law has to have a calculator with her at all times, because her dyslexia is numeric, meaning she cannot complete some calculations.Stringer has come out with some stupid remarks about things lately and perhaps should shut up or think about things before he opens that mouth of his.

zabzyJanuary 12th 2009.

Angilegs.... how ironic that you made so many spelling mistakes while responding to an article about dyslexia!

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??

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.

Dr Karl, I would have to ask in that case who it leaves that is not ignored, as your post has basically discounted everyone who has made comment on this article, and simply leaves the article itself as an erroneously claimed fact............................The dyslexics (and family of dyslexics) who have posted here have a valid claim to be heard because they have experience of the condition................................The people who you claim assume they represent public opinion, look at the posts for and against, and you'll see which ones out of them are correct in their assumptions and which are not (as the replies on here must by definition of open forum, be approximately representative because they come from the public directly)..................whether 10% of the population or not has it depends directly on the complexity, and also whether another of the claims by both Mr Stringer and Dr Elliot is based on fact or conjecture, and that is the 28 descriptions point ..... are there 28 descriptions, or are there 28 variants/strains?.............And finally, on this type of emotive subject, can you honestly say that you blame some people for venting their anger in comments? ..... at least they are, in the main, directing it at the source of these ill advised claims

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.

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!!!

he's right you knowJanuary 12th 2009.

Spot on Graham. Kids shouldn't be allowed to move up a year, let alone leave school until they can read and write. Whilst we're at it, let's get them to speak properly as well. Stop making excuses for people, you are not helping them.

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.

Dr PointlessJanuary 12th 2009.

This is a lively debate. Well done all of you! Keep typing everyone; especially the dyslexics, every little helps.

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!

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!

NickJanuary 12th 2009.

It always amuses me how an exceedingly dyslexic friend of mine manages to spell everything perfectly when he has to, such as when writing usernames, passwords and web addresses or when writing HTML.

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.

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.

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

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.

Vicky: a dyslexic MSc graduateJanuary 12th 2009.

Personally I think illiteracy and dyslexia are two different things. Fair enough, if someone is not diagnosed with dyslexia and they find it hard to cope in schools, they may drop out, but being dyslexic doesn't automatically mean you are illiterate (proof from myself whos just graduated from an MSc, and also those other posts from people with similar experiences). What Stringer doen't say is how many people in West Dunbartonshire are certified dyslexic! Just because they have found a better teaching system which, by all accounts, sounds like it should be introduced across the board, does not mean that they have 'irradiated dyslexia', just that they have got a good system there that teaches everyone the basics. It doesn't mean that there are not children in West Dunbartonshire that still struggled to get these basic literacy skills, and find this kind of thing so much harder than the average child (but is still an intelligent child and therefore can not be called 'thick'). I am dyslexic, and I too struggled with the basic literacy skills (I still remember being the only child in primary school with homework, being the only person in 'red group' - the worst group for spelling skills, because the other boy had moved up a group, and being in floods of tears because I just couldn't get my head round spelling and maths! All this trauma and I had already been diagnosed with dyslexia, so I knew it wasn't because I was thick, but that still didn't help!), but that did not mean that i didn't manage to gain those skills eventually!I think the worst thing about this article is making all those people who are certified dyslexic ponder, even if it is for just one second, that actually they were just ill-taught or thick. All the crap we have gone through to get where-ever we are today, to have had to work twice as hard as our peers, just to be on the same level as them, and you now try and claim its just ill-teaching of basic skills! Bulls**t.

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?

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!!

Tricky WooJanuary 12th 2009.

Of course, what he really said was "Dyslexia is a miss". It's just that he's got a lisp and the copytaker misheard him.

Niall HanrahanJanuary 12th 2009.

"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."You may be able to read and write Mr stringer but you're still a complete and utter spastic...How you are allowed to represent people is beyond me.

SteJanuary 12th 2009.

Dyslexia is not a moth

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 :)

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?

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 ?

D's lx icJanuary 12th 2009.

I could not agree with you more! Far too many people are misusing these ridiculous labels. For example, there are thousands of people in the country that prefer to refer to themselves as being 'Politicians', when of course there is no such disability. These people are simply hiding behind this spurious label to avoid the fact that they are just incredibly stupid or grossly incompetent. For example, George Bush, need I say more.

Sam ReynoldsJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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?

Jarhead68January 12th 2009.

lysdexics untie!But what if Stringer's right? We've wasted so many taxpayers' quid on nothing because we experimented with our children's education by letting liberal, progressive twits get away from the fundamentals of good teaching. Oh, the humanity!

furious motherJanuary 12th 2009.

Mr Stringer, I am amazed that a MP is allowed to publicly voice bigoted opinions such as these. A well educated person would make sure he had all his facts prior to voicing an opinion. Maybe you feel because you can read and write it gives you the right to label people who suffer from dyslexia as functionally illiterate. I am a mother of two children one of which is dyslexic, and I am extremely proud of her and her achievements. She has a university degree and now works for the NHS in speech therapy, working with autistic children. She received no special help from our education system, struggled throughout her years in education, especially in her early years at school, with some teachers accusing her of being lazy, ripping her work up in front of her and make her stay behind at break times, this for a 5 year old is heart breaking ….. you loud mouthing these opinions will only make matters worse for those attempting to overcome their disability. I agree that teaching phonetically helps people who suffer from dyslexia with their ability to read, learning to build sounds into words helps a young child with dyslexia realise that they can find ways around the problems that face them, and yes the education systems needs to take this on board, but when a large percentage of our children learn effectively with the teaching methods in place today why should the whole system change, a little flexibility in teaching methods is all that is needed. Mr Stringer you state that it is your prison visits which shock you, but your opinion seems to have been formed from solely studying those that the education system seems to have failed, when a balanced opinion would have been formed if you had also studied those who having learned to overcome the disability that faced them have succeeded and become invaluable members of our society, these would include University Lecturers, Doctors, Scientists and the list goes on ….. it also may include MP’s.If one was to only venture out in the dark, then form the opinion that there was no light would they be right or just disillusioned.

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.

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 //

NickJanuary 12th 2009.

The problem with the article is that Mr Sringer hasn't just bad mouthed the educational system, which isn't such a big crime. He is trying to lay waste to a condition many have the unfortunate luck to have to live with. I am a teacher and feel that methods can be introduced which enable children to learn in a way that appeals to them and helps them reach thier full potential. This does not negate the facts of the matter that some children find it more difficult to read and write. In fact dyslexia doesn't just effect this area of their lives, it is often associated with poor co-ordination and the confusion of left and right. A diagnosis of dyslexia isn't given to someone who shows up and says "please sir I can't read this". It can often take months for a true diagnosis and many trips to the psycologist. Both my Husband and Son are registered as dyslexic. My husband holds down a very respectable job as a Police Officer and as with most dyslexics chooses to work through the disbility. As for my sons condition, does this article brand me as a bad teacher or bad mother? Maybe both!

Professor IgnorantJanuary 12th 2009.

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

UxterJanuary 12th 2009.

this guy is obviously a tawt!

vicky: a dyslexic MSc graduateJanuary 12th 2009.

Another thought; if it was poor teaching then wouldn't we be coming out of school with classes all full of 'dyslexics', rather than the odd one in each class? Surely if a teacher is bad at his or her job the whole class suffers?

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

Dyslexia is not a handy label for illiteracy! It is recognised condition which many successful people in this country suffer from (6 million?) It is sometimes inherited and in my case, my grandfather - a successful builder, my father - a successful electrical engineer, suffered from and overcame.In my son's case, when I was told dyslexia was a middle class name for 'being thick' by my son's school, I paid for him to be tested by an educational psychologist (schools don't test any more - it's too expensive) with an IQ of a130 and a very high non verbal reading score, my son was frustrated and turned off by 'remedial' classes where he would be taught spellings which he would forget 20 minutes later. He taught himself to read and now uses a computer to write with. End of problem? maybe - but my son suffers from depression and low self esteem and is only now, at 32, feeling ready to go back into education.He has never been out of work since he left school at 16 and now works with illiterate (but not dyslexic) young men in their 20's, teaching literacy skills.

TieJanuary 12th 2009.

Mr Stringer is showing complete ignorance of this very damaging condition, which does not mean people can't read or write. I was tested 11 years ago, and while my reading and spelling skills are very good, (usually 2 years above my school age) I struggle with verbal instruction, communication & memory. Go back to school Mr Stringer and learn about something before you denounce it.

Tom SFJanuary 12th 2009.

Hi All,Mr Stringer did not mean it as it has been portrayed here, he merely was saying that it is indeed the standard of teaching what is the problem,and that different styles of teachin are needed.

DellJanuary 12th 2009.

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

kerrieJanuary 12th 2009.

Tom: i am glad to hear someone is going to address this issue with Stringer himself, but i am certain many people would like to hear his response to this matter. Any chance of posting his responses for us all to view?

JulieJanuary 12th 2009.

I am very disappointment in the comments what Mr Stringer has said about Dyslexia. I have a child with Dyslexia who has to deal with on daily basis prejudice/discrimination, peer pressure in school and people ignorance in trying to get help and assistance to meet their education needs. Whether this means additional classroom assistances, extra time allowed in exam time or specific teaching requirements tailored to child that requires Special Education needs. This doesn’t mean you automatically get all this assistance automatically or a Laptop, we as parents have to battle every LEA, Teachers, Parents and even the society daily prejudices just for a Child to learn. I would like to know what Ed Balls has to say about this seeing that he has been tasked as part of his Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families to find ways or strategies to ensure that all children with Special Education needs gain the education their right. What about the Royal Family Princess Beatrice is Mr Stringer going to say that now she doesn’t have it and it is a myth? I don’t think so.

leighJanuary 12th 2009.

Good on you Sharon.

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?

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!

ErnaldJanuary 12th 2009.

That's exactly right.

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!

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

To be as ignorant and inconsiderate to not only dyslexia itself, but also those who suffer from it is absolutely disgusting considering the privaliged postion you have somehow managed to aquire.

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!!

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!!!!!!!

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......

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.

MCKJanuary 12th 2009.

as an experienced educator, I have always maintained dyslexia does not exist and I pproved it by teaching all refered dyslexic pupils and students to read and write normally very quickly. The british education system is damned by pseudo-scientific 'theories' about abilty, I.Q., reading skills, talents, etc. It is a class-divided system - and I havwe taught in both 'bog standard' and expensive public schools as well as at university level in 3 countries. Yes, too many people in our system develop reading & writing problems. Yes, it can be a relief to get a (pseudo) diagnosis that stops them feeling stupid. No, they don't 'have dyslexia' - because it does not exist.

David HagleyJanuary 12th 2009.

well i don`t have one!

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!

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)

cannonball11January 12th 2009.

Cancer - huh? That's just people wanting a free ride and a bit of sympathy. Oh, I'm sorry Mr. Stringer. Did I pre-empt your next planned article?

Dick SchutzJanuary 12th 2009.

As the previous comments demonstrate there are people who pass through the educational system acquiring very little expertise along the way. Interestingly, those who take the greatest pride in their dyslexia were able to read the article and write more or less coherent, if not persuasive, comments. However they dodge the two points that Mr. Stringer makes for calling out poor instruction as the determinant: "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." These two reasons are irrefutable, which leaves the proud "dyslexics" with no alternative but to dodge the very important matter and attack Mr. Stringer personally.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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!

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.

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.

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!!!!!

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!

GWDJanuary 12th 2009.

One expects ill informed views to be expressed from time to time in the media but when those expressed views are as damaging as those provided by Mr Stringer, it beggars belief that he is an elected representative within our legislature. No wonder our country is in moral and economic decline when Labour MPs are allowed to get away with expressing such drivel.Having a daughter who is in her first year of secondary school and struggling with her dyslexic condition, both my wife and I were, to say the very least, angered by the schoolboy debating points that Mr Stringer put forward. We have tried the full range of methods and interventions with our daughter and yet she still struggles with basic reading, writing and spelling despite having a verbal and non-verbal reasoning age of well over 18. Far from being an invention, I can assure Mr Stringer the tears, frustration and lack of self-esteem caused to our daughter are very real.Mr Stringer refers to the educational and financial incentives that are attached to being labelled with dyslexia. We have obviously been in the wrong queue when these benefits were being handed out! Our experience is completely the opposite. His throwaway remark suggesting that dyslexia must be an invention because there are a wide range of conditions described as dyslexia underlines his deep lack of understanding. Anyone who has looked at this subject for more than five minutes that Mr Stringer has obviously devoted to it knows very well that dyslexia is an umbrella term for a wide range of literacy dysfunctions.In his position of responsibility, Mr Stringer should take more care about the views he expresses. I hope that he will be suitably reprimanded by his political party.

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!

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.

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