One thing I’ve learned is that if you’re in any way critical of the label ‘dyslexia’, you’re going to get some grief. This is a highly emotive area and many people feel very strongly that being diagnosed as dyslexic was a positive, life-changing experience. Who am I to ague with that? And this is at the heat of Elliott & Grigorenko’s research into dyslexia. In this paper they ask, “To what extent should our attempts to derive scientifically valid diagnostic terms be tempered by the functional value that these have for individuals?” There are no end of psychologists who accept that dyslexia doesn’t really mean anything, but that “maintaining the use of the label is necessary in order to highlight the severity and debilitating nature of developmental reading difficulty and gain public support.” On the face of it, that seems fair enough: if it helps people, where’s the harm?
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