This week I was asked to take part in a debate on Mumsnet with Professor Julian Elliott whose new book, The Dyslexia Debate, has created a certain amount of controversy in the news recently! Many newspapers and websites have picked up on the pre-launch blurb (designed to create interest and sell books) to publish a range of sensationalist stories:
- Dyslexia may not exist, warn academics (The Telegraph)
- Scrap the term ‘dyslexia’ says educational psychologist (TES)
- There’s no such thing as dyslexia (The Daily Beast)
- Dyslexia is a ‘meaningless label used by middle-class parents who fear their children are being branded stupid’, professor claims (The Daily Mail)
I’m the sort of person who likes to look at the evidence for myself and make my own mind up, and so I look forward to reading the book when it’s published (and perhaps even reviewing it here on Cheesebrains!). I’d be particularly interested to find out what Professor Elliott’s recommendations and conclusions are, and whether his book is actually trying to further our understanding of dyslexia rather than just attacking the ‘dyslexia community’, as it appears from the news. I’d also suggest that dyslexia campaigners and charities have a very good understanding of what the condition really is (and that we may even agree on some of his points), and that it’s education and research/science that hasn’t kept up!
I am, however, one of those ‘middle-class parents’ being slated in the press and can speak from experience and so here’s my side of the debate.