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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.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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!

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.

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

esquiloJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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

HelenJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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

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?

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.’

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.

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.

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!!

TeacherJanuary 12th 2009.

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

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Sharon MJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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?

CaliburnJanuary 12th 2009.

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

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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 ;)

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.

Blue PeterJanuary 12th 2009.

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

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

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.

JenJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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

JulianJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Ashley's Vibrating BumholeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

A mum of dyslexicsJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Tom SFJanuary 12th 2009.

Of course no problem, i will do that :) , i am interested in what Gordon Brown will be saying about this

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?

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.

Concerned ConstituentJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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

Sharon MJanuary 12th 2009.

it is very frustrating and also the emotion it has on the family, everyone needs to have a look at the new website for special needs as this is what they plan to do regarding dyslexia and special needs...... obviously they have had a communication problem with Mr Stringer ?????http://www.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/sen/

Jez sezJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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.

Tom SFJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

Response to D's lx ic ....... Never a truer word spoken, but then again, 'politician' has never been a disability, yet in Mr Stringers case its a disease listed right next to Ebola and Bubonic Plague.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

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

esquiloJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Newton HeathJanuary 12th 2009.

Oh look...I'm dyslevix also.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

This labour MP is just showing his ignorance of a real problem. when at school 38 years ago I was written off and felt a real failure. 60 attempts at at gce's resulted in me aquiring GCE English GCE Geography and gce Maths twice all grade 6. This was followed by years of complaints at how slow I was at both reading and writing. But then Dyslexia had not been invented in those days. You were either branded thick which I am not or Lazy which I am not. Also there was no consideration of me going to University or gaining a degree. I was not even able to make my choice of career which would have been the merchant navy, becuase by the time I got the required entrance qualifications of three gce's becuse of my age they demanded A'levels. But then that was at the time Nurses were accepted with 3-5 gce'sHowever after a successful first year at University 2003-2004, In which my marks were 4 2/1s and 2 2/2s and 2 3rds, However in My first semester of my second year they all dropped to low level 3's that it was identified at the age of 49 I was dyslexic. This was obviously considered serious enough for the Authority to pay £12,000 for equipment and aditional support for the remander of my time at University. Oh or is that this man's next target poor teaching at teh Universities. Did he actually go to one? So Mr Stringer you may or may not suffer from it but it is a real and can be a debilitating condition, especially if you spend years of yourself suffering from depression becuse of fealing a failure and continually criticised. Your behaviour is wicked, not children being helped.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

Secreto- Of course you feel the need to patronise, discriminate and insult those who do SUFFER with dyslexia because it clearly doesn't affect you. The 'bile spilled' over this article is a response from many angry people highlighting that people like you simply dont understand the problem at all. Ignorance must be bliss.

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.

MoJanuary 12th 2009.

My daughter is dyslexic - when she was eight I was pulled into school and told she could not read, had poor comprehension and sat there rocking backwards and forwards... Boredom, it turned out at been given baby books to read, and nothing to stimulate her skills. (Her i.q. is 149 by the way).At home she was reading Lord of the Rings to me, she speed reads at phenominal rates, but her handwriting speed is 25% of that of the average person.. so she was labelled stupid... no matter what I said.She did well in class and coursework, but failed exams miserably (her handwriting speed)... At university they diagnosed what is wrong with her, she is allowed to use a computer for exams and gets excellent results... Co-incidentally there are many types of dyslexia... and my daughter has never been a criminal... so sorry to buck the trend... Mr Graham Stringer... You should look at the wider picture all the teachers, nurses, doctors, and managers etc out there with dyslexia... Check via universities and colleges, or your own government statistics, there are lots... It is the type of environment not the illness that dictates how dyslexic people turn out... bigots like you and those who refuse to see there is a problem will certainly knock the negatives up...

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

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.

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.

Professor IgnorantJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Andrew WalesJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

PokerPaulJanuary 12th 2009.

How can a guy as ignorant as this get voted into office?He is saying dyslexia does not exist, when there is so much medical evidence to say it does and basically equating all dyslexics to criminal drop outs.I am dyslexic; I have a degree and work as in senior management.I can not believe how outrageously ignorant this guy is. Equating illiteracy to dyslexia is so misinformed. How is it the literacy rates in our schools are so low, perhaps the fact that standards have been falling year on year. I recently helped my niece to revise for her exams the standard to which she had been taught was significantly lower than that of my education. Teachers in my day were considered highly respected members of society, now they are faced with ill mannered children and more often than not parents who are no better.The 10% of dyslexics in his constituency should demand he resign.

MarkJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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!

RobJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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!

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!

AdamJanuary 12th 2009.

Stringer has the right idea when it comes to synthetic phonics - pity this idea gets buried under his flawed ideas and logic regarding 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." What, so if a malady can be cured then it never existed in the first place? Great logic. Plus equating dyslexia with illiteracy is a massive oversimplification."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." Er, apart from the fact that they have different education systems and different LANGUAGES? The more orthographically transparent a language is - and Spanish is very logical in its spelling - the easier everyone finds to learn it, dyslexic or not. Sounds like a rational reason to me.

Dr PointlessJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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.

Chris LewisJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

sashaJanuary 12th 2009.

I've found Mr Stringer's coments fascinating. My dad, brother and myself are all dyslexic, and left+right handed. Or not! Our mistake. It must be fabulous to be as clever as him.

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... ;)

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....

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.

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.

decision-nowJanuary 12th 2009.

Do we need a referendum on this one? Bring back Sir Neil, let's all spend 12 weeks arguing yes or no and have a vote...or maybe not.

scoteeeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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 :-)

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?

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.

Sharon MJanuary 12th 2009.

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

LukeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

LurseJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Sharon MJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Jan HJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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!

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.

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"?

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?

NathJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

Tim RJanuary 12th 2009.

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

PollyJanuary 12th 2009.

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

ErnaldJanuary 12th 2009.

That's exactly right.

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

kerrieJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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

Thoroughbred MancJanuary 12th 2009.

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

DellJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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......

Oliver StieberJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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?

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?

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

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

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

SteJanuary 12th 2009.

Dyslexia is not a moth

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.

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.

Mark TownsonJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Frank VJanuary 12th 2009.

I think that there are two problems here, and of the two sides of the argument being debated, neither have a monopoly on truth.The term Dyslexia is used as a blanket diagnosis of most learning difficulties. Two totally unrelated types of learning difficulty can both come under the banner of Dyslexia. It is the equivalent of saying somebody is retarded. This is not a diagnosis.The problem can be exacerbated with some ineffectual teachers preferring to label children with the term Dyslexic, rather than admitting their own shortcomings in teaching ability. This is by no-means always the case, but it gives credence to the argument of the sceptic, who then thinks that it may be more prevalent than it actually is.Likewise, as much as you hear about children responding well to a diagnosis of Dyslexia, it can sometimes have the opposite effect, stigmatising the child, or making them think that there is no point in trying, as they will always be fighting an uphill battle. It is foolish to think that all children respond in a positive manner. Normalising learning difficulties and taking the attitude that different children respond to different teaching methods and the understanding that no-child will respond to all, is a much more grown up way of tackling the problem.At the end of the day, there are many different learning difficulties, which require a plethora of teaching methods. However, you are more likely to see these in use in the private sector as part of employee training. What is required is a more robust (less specific) curriculum, which allows freedom for individual schools to choose their own methods and the freedom for parents to choose which-ever school they think best fits their child's needs. It is only through funding individuality in our schools, that we will be able to achieve a balance of excellence.

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.

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?

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.

KarlJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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.

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.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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.

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.

GobsmackedJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Frank VJanuary 12th 2009.

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

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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?

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

Sharon MJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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?

Bob LomasJanuary 12th 2009.

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

That devil...January 12th 2009.

i'd ignore the whole article if i were you,stringer has lit the touch paper and run for cover.An excellent piece of free advertising(save your breath people).Stringer will no doubt be in the next celebrity big brother house where he belongs- playing games)

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.

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!

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.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

Polly, I'll explain as best I can while also attempting to show the shortfalls in Mr Stringers research on the matter: ..... This is the section on dyslexia from a neurological foundation in the US ..... "Dyslexia is a brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person's ability to read. These individuals typically read at levels significantly lower than expected despite having normal intelligence. Although the disorder varies from person to person, common characteristics among people with dyslexia are difficulty with phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds) and/or rapid visual-verbal responding." ..... So as you can see, it is classified as a condition by official sources. Of course as Mr Stringer has stated that it is social and educationally based then the discovery by the German National Genome Research Network of the Gene that is believed by experts (in that specific field of science) to cause dyslexia must be wrong ..... I know who I trust in this argument, and it certainly isn't a British MP.

Tom SFJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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

oops. x

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!!!

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.

NickJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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.

HelenJanuary 12th 2009.

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

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

SaraJanuary 12th 2009.

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

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

you are an idiot.

StevePJanuary 12th 2009.

What an ignorant idiot. Not only is this an ill considered article, it is intensely insulting to anyone affected Dyslexia. If it is the teaching methods then why is the whole class not affected and in fact only a few that fail? What this fool is saying is those few are too stupid to learn when the teaching is poor. Yet many "Dyslexics" go on to have major careers. How can an offensive twit like this hold public office?

PaulyJanuary 12th 2009.

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

AlisonJanuary 12th 2009.

I am a trainee teacher and am Dyslexic. While I agree with this stupid man that low literacy is a big problem in our society as it prevents children from accessing education, I think he is completely ignorant to suggest that Dyslexia does not exist. Also the education system cannot be left to be completely at fault for poor literacy. What about children who do not have a single book to read in their house and who have parents that do not value reading as an important skill. How can children be expected to be able to read or even have the desire to read if this is the environment that they have been brought up in. In regards to dyslexia not exisiting and just being and excuse for poor literacy is just ignorant. Mr Stringer obvioulsy needs to do his research more detail before making such a statement!

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.

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.

Regen08January 12th 2009.

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

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.

Lucy PalmerJanuary 12th 2009.

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

KarlJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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?

Tricky needs to chillJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Kim Jong IlJanuary 12th 2009.

Wot yu al talk abot? In Korea, we al kan reed and rite no problm. I lik to chat with frens from oversees. if yu can spel an wan good chat, ples call me . I so wonely. Nicaraguans welcome

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!!!!!!!

Nicholas LawleyJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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!

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.

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

HelenJanuary 12th 2009.

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

David MorganJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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....

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.

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.

AmusedJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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?

TrickyJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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.

maccaJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

ContromanJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Sharon MJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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?

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.

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.

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.

foobooJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Jane, AberdeenJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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

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.

CrisisSurferJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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!

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.

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....

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.

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

sevenarchespublishingJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Ernalds alter egoJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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!!

mike fleethamJanuary 12th 2009.

There is scientific evidence supporting a neurological and behavioural condition called Dyslexia. There is scientific evidence against. There is also a great deal of urban myth and opinion fuelling both sides of the argument. What all parties in the debate should find hard to disagree upon is that some human beings have simply been born with brains that are significantly impaired when it comes to aspects of processing language. Call it what we like – Dyslexia – Special Language Need – Visually gifted - there’s no escaping this fact. So how does one MP’s comments towards those with language challenges help things along? In no way other than further stirring up the fires and diverting energy to debate rather than solutions. He criticizes teaching methods yet fails to mention that some of the most effective classroom practice is inspired by special needs (and especially dyslexic) pedagogy.My son is severely dyslexic and has the visual IQ of a 15 year old. He’s 9 and typical of many dyslexic learners. His brain is a gift to the problems and challenges of 21st century; he fixes adult problems in a jiffy, sees creative solutions in his mind; imagines the most vivid and innovative designs and creations, has interpersonal skills to die for. And struggles to remember how to spell “what”. While some educational leaders talk, debate, research and produce endless consultations, the gap between his intelligence and linguistic skills is widening. Given the correct support and opportunities, his esteem will remain intact: his embarrassment at having to publicly declare his spelling test scores in class, whilst his creative potential remains hidden, may just be held in check. But there’s a good chance that I’ll be collecting him from a police cell one day if he feels that his gifts are never valued and his efforts to do the things he finds hardest are in vain.I call on Graham Stringer and other leaders to get past the language and labelling and to make things happen for those learners whose brains simply aren’t wired for language. How can we quickly and effectively discover, value and enrich their strengths, whilst supporting them in their challenges?

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!

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.

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

NickJanuary 12th 2009.

I will agree that there are many people who shout dyslexia as soon as they find reading and writing difficult, but what this article is doing is saying point blank that it doesn't exist. Maybe the real problem isn't the educational system but the lack of understanding of this learning difficulty.

zabzyJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Tricky WooJanuary 12th 2009.

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

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

This man is clearly an opinionated idiot.Yes – the education system is falling apart since many parents no longer see education as partially their role, teachers are paid pathetic wages which dissuade articulate and well educated people from doing the job, every pupil has rights but the teachers apparently none etc…Yes – those that do not get the appropriate help and support do fail in the education system and find alternative entertainments – thus leading them down the slippery slope to social decline…But NO – you cannot make sweeping judgements about a disability that you know nothing about. I think if you take a close look at maths, physics and engineering courses in the UK, you will find a huge number of people who suffer with dyslexia. For these fortunate people, they have found an avenue for their intelligence that does not revolve around the written word. Many of these people have been diagnosed and helped in the form of additional schooling in order to overcome its effects. To suggest that dyslexia is a label for the lazy is insulting and absurd.I suggest that before writing an article of this nature in future… you get your facts straight!!

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 //

nick de villeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Pedigree DyslexicJanuary 12th 2009.

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

before tricky notices itJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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.

AnonymousJanuary 12th 2009.

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

gyaiffJanuary 12th 2009.

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

MikeJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

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.

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??

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.

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.

Playwrite27January 12th 2009.

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

TimJanuary 12th 2009.

In other news, Mr Stringer discusses his views on the 'myth' of the Holocaust, and how, with the judicious use of hammers, Homosexuality can also be 'cured'. In addition, he shares his thought's on Hitler, who was 'just misunderstood'...

risunJanuary 12th 2009.

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

TeacherJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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'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.

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?

Elin's mumJanuary 12th 2009.

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

Jimi CJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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.

byslexicJanuary 12th 2009.

what an ignorant tw*t!

Philip bennettJanuary 12th 2009.

In answer to""If dyslexia really existed then countries as diverse as Nicaragua and South Korea would not have been able to achieve literacy rates of nearly 100%"I understand thatIf a language if built up of a picture and symbols instead of phonetic word a dyslexic brain can posses this in the same way as a non dyslexic brain.facebook group created plese join!

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?

TRTJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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!

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.

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.

TimJanuary 12th 2009.

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

ChrisJanuary 12th 2009.

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

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?

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Know your username(which is same as your employee number) Now click this link. And complete your…

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Anonymous

Link below to an MEN article on future plans for the area.…

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