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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.

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.

before tricky notices itJanuary 12th 2009.

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

paschar / stephen wanerJanuary 12th 2009.

Strephosymbolia , sitsus inversus totalis , Boustrophedon , these terms have been the brunt of my research since i live with dyslexia every day, the right brain dominant idea does not hold water as their are many leaks in it, if the result of birth or injury being a mute point does not matter, it is a known fact that certain countries are known to kill children when it is found that they have any kind of LD so as not to procreat the gene in the future but it still persists,I am a retired ARMY medic and i deal with people who are true mirror image readers, one should not comment on that which they themselves cannot see, dyslexia is very real , for those who can`t accept it for it`s real nature it has been said, it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool rather than to speak and remove all Dought. Paschar

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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".

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.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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?

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!!!

Kevin PughJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Frank VJanuary 12th 2009.

Now, I'm not a sniper or critique of poor English in the extreme. I do however, not understand why people cannot use a simple spell checker add-in as part of their web browsing Firefox: download-firefox.org/…/how-to-use-spell-checker-in-firefox… or IE: http://www.iespell.com/Alternatively, copy and paste you entry into word, spell check and then copy and paste back.I do it, and I'm not dyslexic, so surely it can be beneficial to all?

Just Use Spell Check!January 12th 2009.

Such poor spelling and grammar in the majority of responses!Just use spell check and stop moaning about your fictional disorder!

RobocopJanuary 12th 2009.

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

MarkJanuary 12th 2009.

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

AdeleJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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!

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.

HelenJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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!

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

Frank - No problem :) I welcome everyones input on my comments ..... I would have to say on the point you make there on bias that although highly valid, I see it as failing on one aspect, and that is that the comments from the dyslexics and families on here are being made in response to a highly biased, badly researched and ill informed article. I myself am thankfully not dyslexic, but I have seen the effects of true dyslexia on friends and a couple of indirect family members. ..... I know that dyslexia is now used as an umbrella tag by certain parts of society for various learning difficulties, but the fact that Mr Stringer has made the claim 'Dyslexia doesn't exist' is still irresponsible given the sheer amount of evidence that has to be ignored to come to that conclusion.

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.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

macca, I have one point to raise on that post ..... unlike the original article, you have erroneously based certain parts of it on real fact ..... i.e. Graham Stringer really doesn't appear in South Korea or Nicaragua (aren't they the lucky ones)

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

esquiloJanuary 12th 2009.

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

secretoJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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.

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?!

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.

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?

nathJanuary 12th 2009.

Lucy,Believe me, your boyfriend is just not very bright in certain areas....sounds like a fantastic Landscape architect. Accept him for who he is....with or without colored glasses!!

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.

byslexicJanuary 12th 2009.

what an ignorant tw*t!

Wizard of OzJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

NickJJanuary 12th 2009.

It is when I got to the bit about a "magic bullet" in West Dunbartonshire that I realised Mr Stringer's confusion. "Eradicating" illiteracy is not the same as eradicating dyslexia. Many dyslexics have problems processing the spoken word, and in putting their thoughts into speech. Their functional literacy - the business of teaching people "the cat sat on the mat" - may be pretty acceptable.Much illiteracy has no connection with dyslexia, and teaching is in part to blame.Oh, and there are some real charlatans in the dyslexia "industry".But denying a connection between dyslexia and illiteracy problems is on a par with ex-President Thabo Mbeki's longstanding denial of any connection between sex and AIDS.And the South African ex-President has now seen the light.Time for you Mr Stringer!

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.

ADJanuary 12th 2009.

This is an ignorant ill considered and inacurate piece of tripe writing.If stringer wants to promote the teaching of phonics then he should not do it by atacking those with an accepted disorder. Its manipulative political posturing at best.The sugestion that children, many very young would deliberately not learn to read as well as they might, to then fake or bluf their way through a rigorous testing procedure in order to gain some dishonest financial gain is unrealistic at best ignorant at worst.As for Doctors the 2nd year medical student wants to take and pass exams - if all the questions are answered correctly then what mater if its verbal, in writing, or typed? And further would Mr stringer say that a blind person for example (who would also be unable to demonstrate their ability in a written exam) be excluded from any profession? or from education on acount of disibiltiy.I can only hope that with dyslexia so prevent his dyslexic voters take a stand against this kind of ignorance and vote him out.

JimmyBobJanuary 12th 2009.

This man cannot be taken seriously as he clearly as no understanding of the disability. Dyslexia is not just reading and spelling. I know this because I have Dyslexia and can read at a high level and can spell better than many of my peers, I also have a first in Mathematics from Liverpool University. The symptom I and many others suffer from is that finding words when they are needed in our brain can be difficult. Hence why we write badly and need to re-read everything twice. In conclusion, if Mr Stringer had every been in contact with Dyslexics he would know all this.

Jimi CJanuary 12th 2009.

Now the above comment is how to rant, I wonder how much has been cut and pasted from Grahams actual speech?I do agree that some people probably play the system or teachers aren't willing to try different methods as they work on "the majority rule" where whatever works for most is done rather than different techniques for different children.Dyslexia is a term too broadly used nowadays similar ro depression, its considered you dyslexic and thats its your done for and your moved to special schools. When most of the kids could stay in the mainstream education and attain high grades. I think Grahams interview is more a shot at the education system simply giving up on kids rather than a shot at the kids themselves.

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.

Elin's mumJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Tom SFJanuary 12th 2009.

Yes i will do,in fact i will give you my email address and when i have had the meeting with him i will email you what he says also if you have any questions that u want me to ask him, then let me know. tscholesfogg@hotmail.co.uk

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......

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

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

foobooJanuary 12th 2009.

The fact that Korea doesn't have the same percentage of people diagnosed as dyslexic is not surprising. The same is true of China and I believe Japan.Dyslexics are picture thinkers. the Roman alphabet puts words together in linear sequences, this is one of the things dyslexics have trouble with...sequencing. The pictograms used in China, Korea, and Japan (and elsewhere) are pictures representing ideas, hieroglyphs, dyslexics are picture thinkers so don't have as much trouble decoding them, they are more 'natural' to a dyslexic mind.I'd like to see even the best teacher manage, through good teaching methods, to change the brain scans and DNA marker differences that can be found in dyslexics as well as the other symptoms that are not reading and writing difficulty.Do you reckon they could teach away balance problems? time measurement difficulty? or change attention spans? hearing problems? poor short term memory? these are just a few of the common symptoms. http://www.dyslexia.com/library/symptoms.htm

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

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.

Regen08January 12th 2009.

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

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.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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?

Rachelle LawleyJanuary 12th 2009.

How dare he! i can't express into words how this mans awful comments have made me feel! I am a dyslexic person, i do not put my disability down to bad teaching, because it is not just i who suffers, my twin brother does, who has a more severe form, my sister and also my mother both suffer too. As well as having other learning difficulties i do not let it stop me from learning or struggling through high school, college and university. If it was not for the university however i would not be " diagnosed" with Dyslexia and dyspraxia. I do not have trouble reading, unless you include absorbing the information. I highly enjoy a good book, several to be precise. I love to write, i just cannot "see" my gramical and spelling errors. I think he needs to stop and asses what he has said. Children need to know if they have this, so they can get extra help. Besides, dyslexia people are proven to be more intelegent then the average person, they just cannot express themselves in the same way.

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!

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

RobJanuary 12th 2009.

An open question to Graham StringerDoes the ability to put experience into linguistic syntax (words) change ones basic experience and comprehension of the world? Or is it ones ability to think rationally which defines ones experience?

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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.

KimJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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 //

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?

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.

TeacherJanuary 12th 2009.

Secreto - are you seriously trying to claim that peanut allergies, lactose intolerence, irritable bowel, bi-polar, ME, ADHD, OCD are simply life-style choices??!! My God - you truly are a medical genius and should be awarded a Nobel Prize immediately for services to medicine. I truly hope no member of your family should ever suffer from any of these conditions as they will clearly receive neither sympathy nor support from you.

Tom SFJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

leonaJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

Asshead AlertJanuary 12th 2009.

The reason phonics work with most other languages is that the sound of letters does not change. Eg the letter "e" would not have the option of being pronouced "ee" or "eh". If you consider the following three words phonetically, Plan - Plane - Planet, the "a" letter sound changes for no good reason. When you divide words up into letter you invite confusion between words like "saw" and "was", which was a problem first identified over 60 years ago. Once you have led a child down the phonics path, they find it almost impossible to stop deconstructing words, even if it doesn't work for them. If your child is logical, and this tends to be seen more in boys, phonics (synthetic or otherwise) just confuses them and they switch off. Far better to first show them that a series of sounds has a shape. "He said" is not "Huh-eh sss-ah-ee-deh", it is just "he said". I don't know what they are doing in West Dumbartonshire, could it be class sizes, ratios, resources, money, staff motivation or any number of other factors. I would like to see if there is any correlation between the incidence of people diagnosed with dyslexia and those were subjected to the phonics experiment as their first introduction to the magic of words. (or should that be mm-ah-ge-ih-keh oh-fff wooh-oh-rrr deh-sss)

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

My daughter and grandson are both dyslexic. She works in a university library. He's going to have an even worse time at school thanks to this arrogant and ignorant comment. It would be nice to believe this man would bother to think about the consequences of his actions - but then he supports a government that has no track record of ever doing so.

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.

Ernalds alter egoJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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?

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.

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.

Jo TutorJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

Marilyn GuyJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

SecretoJanuary 12th 2009.

So we're expected to believe 6 million Brits have dyslexia? 6 MILLION?? Give me strength. And that (according to some of their posts - many of them can read and spell perfectly well - if so, how do they know they are dyslexic? Did mummy and daddy decide that their little precious "suffered" from this life-threatening condition when they didn't get top marks in an exam. Give you a clue people, you don't "suffer" from being a bit slow or a crap speller, you "suffer" from cancer, leukaemia etc. Get over yourselves. The bile spilled over this is hilarious. I wonder how many of the "outraged dyslexics of chorlton" also have peanut allergies, lactose intolerence, irritable bowel, bi-polar, ME, ADHD, OCD and whatever the lifestyle pages are promoting as the latest affliction.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Roy LewisJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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.

Tom SFJanuary 12th 2009.

THE VIEW ARE REPRESENTED BY MR STRINGER ONLY AND NOT THE LABOUR PARTY MIGHT I STRESS THAT

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.

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.

RchirdarJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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!!

ATC talks bolloxJanuary 12th 2009.

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

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

arbeedoggoneJanuary 12th 2009.

Has G Stringer noted the size of the Clackmananshire study? Has he read the 'Rose report' where prof Jim Rose led an analysis of the current evidence? Rose certainly casts aside the notion of a 'magic bullet' approach.His conclusion is that a consistant systematic approach is called for, bearing in mind the developmental needs of the individual child. This is a big ask when children within schools are driven by a political agenda - literacy and numeracy 'targets' which take little heed of the child's all round abilities, interests and needs.There are no universal cures and there was always a high proportion of illiterate people in prison before 'dislexia' was invented/diagnosed.

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.

AndrewJanuary 12th 2009.

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

JohnJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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?

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.

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.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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!!

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.

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!

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.

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.

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?

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?

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.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

This type of discrimination should not be allowed to be published

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.

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.

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.

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.

Peter J KeeganJanuary 12th 2009.

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

MarkJanuary 12th 2009.

Mr Stringer makes a convienient parralel with two countries to "prove" his theory.Does he believe therefore that because there are no recorded cases of Altzheimers or Parkinsons disease in St Kitts, Nevis, and certain other carribbean islands that these are also ficticious diseases?

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.

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.

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 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.

Tom SFJanuary 12th 2009.

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

UxterJanuary 12th 2009.

this guy is obviously a tawt!

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?

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?

HelenJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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?

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.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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!!!!!

Bernard ChittyJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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!

NormanskieJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

Sharon MJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

Freedom of SpeechJanuary 12th 2009.

Open debate is an essential element of a healthy democracy and I assume this article was intended to stimulate such a debate. Rather than putting forward reasonable and/or reasoned responses, however, the majority of the posts on here seem to be hate-fuelled rants against the author. I appreciate it must be an emotive subject for some, but I find the increasing tendency to simply launch nasty, aggressive personal attacks on those whose views don't concur with our own truly worrying. We are all entitled to hold our own opinions and should be able to air them for mature discussion without fear of being castigated as a 'denier' of whatever the current received wisdom on any given subject may be. It is precisely this kind of intolerance that created NaziGermany.

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.

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!

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?

scoteeeJanuary 12th 2009.

the point is that a spell checker asks you to confirm its questioning of your suggested errors,being a non-dyslexic its easy to fathom out.I imagine being dyslexic just complicates the issue for some?

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.

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.

you can take my lifeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

weavsallJanuary 12th 2009.

Well I am dyslexic.. believe me it is real. Though I would never say I am iliterate.. I would love to be able to let Mr Stringer have coped with the stuff I had to when I was in school. I had special lessons that were "meant" to help but because dyslexia wasn't recognised as a problem when I was at school I didn't get the help I needed. My Dad who has also sucseeded through very hard work is dyslexia and was cained for not learning his spellings. I have worked very VERY VERY hard to get where I am I have an INCREADIBLE family that are supportive and have always said you can achive anything if you want it.. I think the way they are teaching litracy to our children now would have helped me, it wouldn't have canceled out the issues I have. I think the family unit has alot more to do with achiveing, encuragement, belief and respect go a long way. I found what I was good at and went for it.. Dyslexia does not mean you are iliterate or you are going to end up in a prison.. Mr Stringer, I think you may have had a point but you confused it.. (and if things are spelt wrong then its because there was no spell checker..sorry)

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!!!!!!!

DellJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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....

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.

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.

gaspodeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

TRTJanuary 12th 2009.

Right, I've had a mull over what Stringer said, and I have to say, the guy's heart appears to be in the right place - illiteracy is an issue. There are apparent solutions out there, although I fear he has highlighted the difference between over-zealous diagnosis in the UK and under-diagnosis in Nicaragua and South Korea (incidentally, is that illiteracy in English learning or native language? Perhaps the answer lies in us ditching English and learning Korean instead?)The statement that there are 28 different kinds/definitions of dyslexia should be taken to mean that MORE research is required, and that the problem is more complex than appears. You can't simply dismiss something because you can't understand it.Good point, badly made. And politicians cannot afford to make points badly.

I'm starting a facebook groupJanuary 12th 2009.

'Kevin Peel - get out of my life'

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.

GoffeyJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Lucy PalmerJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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...

pobyl cwmJanuary 12th 2009.

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

JohnJanuary 12th 2009.

Actually, Rihcadr, there is plenty of scientific evidence showing that the Broca's and Wernike's areas and the neural pathway between them are the physiological centre of language in the brain

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

"As a former primary school deputy headteacher" <-- This of course entitles you to a full and expansive understanding of this area.Hopefully you are no longer in education, failing those children who's disability you dismiss.

ATCJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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

KarlJanuary 12th 2009.

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

secretoJanuary 12th 2009.

"The body of my argument" as you put it was actually a referral to some so-called dyslexic posters on this very thread stating that they could read and spell perfectly. Hence the question. But don't let that stop you.

SuJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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.

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 !!

Alan ArtusJanuary 12th 2009.

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

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

If you're going write an article that is ill-judged and bares no relation to the reality of teaching and learning in 2009 you may as well do it properly and not write a single sentence that anyone who had spent just 13 minutes in a classroom couldn't tell you is at best misguided, at worst evidence for a vote of no confidence and the sack. Having taught literacy for the past 13 years I should know.

zabzyJanuary 12th 2009.

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

hippleJanuary 12th 2009.

otsser

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.

RihcadrJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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.

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.

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?

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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)

Sam ReynoldsJanuary 12th 2009.

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

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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?

Professor IgnorantJanuary 12th 2009.

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

TempleJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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

Sharon MJanuary 12th 2009.

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

David HagleyJanuary 12th 2009.

well i don`t have one!

yyee-yinJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

John TippingJanuary 12th 2009.

Dyslexic Businessman invites MP Graham Springer to spend the day with him.Profoundly dyslexic Kent Businessman, John Tipping (Channel 4, Can’t Read Can’t Write, Aug 08) invites Manchester MP Graham Springer to spend a day with him so that he can give the politician a greater understanding of how the dyslexic brain works. This follows the MPs claim that the education establishment has ‘invented a brain disorder called dyslexia ‘.Mr Tipping states that there is a huge amount of misunderstanding around his ‘hidden disability’ and welcomes the opportunity of helping to throw some light on the situation through this invitation.‘Dyslexia is so much more than just having difficulties with reading and writing. I struggle with short term memory issues and have real difficulty with putting things in order and keeping up with fast conversations. I just take longer to process information. The knock on effect of low self esteem and low self worth can be devastating’.Father of three, John Tipping, runs two businesses with the assistance of read and write software and support from his wife Jill.‘I welcome this opportunity of giving Mr Stringer first hand evidence of how frustrating this condition can be in this fast moving world that we live in.’

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.

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!

scoteeeJanuary 12th 2009.

and bbc news

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?

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.

TimJanuary 12th 2009.

I'm sure I can think up 28 different definitions of "muppet", but sadly that doesn't make you a fiction, Mr Stringer.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

and here we go for the last nail in the research coffin ..... Nicaragua has a literacy rate of almost 100%? ........ Since when was between 67 and 77 near 100? 67% was the 2003 figures, and Stringer expects us to believe that they can educate over 30% of their country without the resources to do so within 5 years? Not a chance. ........................ So the 'facts' that Stringer came out with in this article are coming apart at an alarming rate, and yet we still have no self defence off the MP himself. ......... Mr Stringer, By your article, you insinuate that Dyslexic people are stupid, backward and slow, this is simply not the case ......... Oh, and in my case I have a further advantage by your way of thinking ......... I'm not stupid, I'm not backward, I'm not slow, and the most telling one to your article is the fact that I'm not dyslexic either, not that it makes a difference to anyone but you.

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.

D WilliamsJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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 :)

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!

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.

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.

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

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 !

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!

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.

Professor IgnorantJanuary 12th 2009.

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

I am a myth Karen royleJanuary 12th 2009.

I am 47 years old my motehr was a teacher when she had me and she tried all the teaching methods know to man to help me express myself still I had great difficult learning spellings and writting essay. I was 20 years and three months when on entrying Nursing at eastbirmingham hospital because no one oin the north would take me for SRN training only sen because I was unable to get olevel english or maths I had by then got cse grade two and a range of unclassified to d at olvele english. I had mangaed to get five olevesl or there equal in two or three sitting I failed all my Alevels getting olevel pas at Bioloogy and a fail in socilogy anfd general studies much to the disappointment and bewilderment of teachers at both fearns and haslingden high school in rossendale as I failed my eleven plus to bacup and rawstall grammer school even though I had extra lesson and lots of help from the headmaster at thorn infant school how dare you say dysleixc doesn`t excist . when you try your hardest to do all the rules of englisdh when you spend ever waking hour learning spelling still on friday to come near the bottom of the class. You sick me mr graham Stringer meet me if you dare or are you like the night sister I meet at crumpsall hospital when hear I was dyslexic want to prove she could teach me to spell i was qualifiled and registred dyslexic and I let her come every night when we where quite and go over english rules but it doesn`t matter when I am tired or in full flow the spell and grammer goes out of the widown and single words i cann`t break down so sometime reading can be a problem get your fact straight before you open your mouth, you don`t know what pain I went through being called stupid lazy, ihave suffered with deprssion since I was six looking back and people like you who comment do not help would you tell a blind man they could see its only in they mind I thnig not !!!!!!!!!!!!

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

you are an idiot.

SarahJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

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

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

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!

teacherJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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

Secret4uJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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....

RchirdarJanuary 12th 2009.

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

secretoJanuary 12th 2009.

Cheers Jo. Thanks for putting me right. I feel safe being "blinkered" (Translation: I don't agree 100% with the flashmob who have linked to ManCon to berate someone for not buying that 6 MILLION Britons are "suffering" from dyslexia). There again I'm just being limited. Ah well.

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.

TrickyJanuary 12th 2009.

You could do well to sort out your "their" and "there", anonymous...

HelenJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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!

SiouxJanuary 12th 2009.

Here we have a politician desperately trying to get his name in the media. He has not done his homework and has just quoted a rag tag collection of research coupled with some poorly phrased comments such as 'brain disorder. As with many people who do not know what they are talking about, he has confused literacy problems with dyslexia, a mistake in common with those who are ignorant of the facts. It must more complicated than that.He wants to get put there and talk to people with dyslexia. He would do better to throw his weight behind a genuine cause rather than trying to make life more difficult for a section of the population who already have a hard time.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

abbyJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Pedigree DyslexicJanuary 12th 2009.

There is no doubt amongst neuroscientists about the existence of dyslexia and its underlying physiological cause. The brains of dyslexics are constructed slightly differently to non dyslexics and this can be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the medical profession by brain scans and dissections. Further more Dyslexia was diagnosed and defined well before the invention of the laptop (free or otherwise). Most pertinently Dyslexia was defined well before edukashun became the preferred political football of nu-labour and attention seeking minor league MPs.PS. There are no mistakes in this post. It is spelt and punctuated exactly as I intend it to be.

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.

Frank VJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

I notice how he didn't state Nicaragua as one of his 100% countries in that interview ..... and he looked quite uncomfortable all the way through ..... just a shame that he can't find the time to respond here where it all started.

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

TRTJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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!

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....

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?

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