Is dyslexia a myth?

Pic credit: Huffington Post

One of the most well-known learning conditions amongst children in particular is dyslexia and the over the years, the jury's been out over it's link to intelligence.

Speaking to 702's John Robbie, Director of Educational Programs at Edublox Susan du Plessis is adamant that the word should be used less carelessly and that intelligence, talent and the capacity to do good work cannot be dismissed when a child or a person is found to be dyslexic. Edublox is a Johannesburg-based organisation that helps children with reading problems and other learning difficulties:

The traditional view of dyslexia is that it is a severe reading problem and there are always symptoms like the reversal of 'B's' and 'D's', but that there's also a discrepancy in terms of your reading ability and your IQ. In other words, these are children with high IQ's, but they still struggle to read. The problem is there's now a big dyslexia debate with Professor Julian Elliot from the UK - he wrote a book called "The Dyslexia Debate" - and according to him, the whole 'dyslexia' label is meaningless and it does not really exist; there's no difference between children with high IQ's who cannot read and children with lower IQ's who cannot read. People are basically just mistreating the whole system - getting extra time - when actually, they shouldn't.

Read Professor Julian Elliot's "The Dyslexia Debate" here.

But can dyslexia be cured? Absolutely, says du Plessis:

That's one of the things that I've been working against is this idea that it's a life-long condition and that it cannot be cured. There is hope for every dyslexic child - if we do the right thing. The cause of many reading problems is that the foundational skills of reading have not been put into place and that is what we do every day, is to put those foundational skills like: concentration, perceptual skills, memory, logical thinking; to put that into place and once you've done that, then it's quite easy to teach a child to read.

Steven Spielberg - a name synonymous with cinematic excellence stemming over forty years. The multiple Academy Award-winning Hollywood director - who's artistic achievements are almost unparalleled, is also dyslexic. Spielberg - known for directing epics such as Lincoln, Amistad and _Saving Private Ryan _amongst others, was diagnosed with the condition eight years ago at the age of 60:

I was diagnosed (then) as having been dyslexic for my entire life, which explained a lot of things. It was like the last puzzle part and a tremendous mystery that I've kept to myself all these years. But basically it started with all these things when you're a kid and you're a slow reader. In my case, I was two years behind the rest of my class and of course I went through what everyone else went through - the teasing. The teasing led to a lot of other problems, but more than anything else, it had to do with my embarrassment. (But now) I've learned to adjust, I read a lot and I read with a lot of understanding because I read slowly - I don't just skip over things. I really savour good writing because I really take my time with a book or a script.

Watch Spielberg relay his experience of dealing with the condition in this video below:

Listen to the conversation on the 'dyslexia debate' as heard on 702's John Robbie Show


This article first appeared on 702 : Is dyslexia a myth?


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