Dyslexia 'is just a middle-class way to hide stupidity'

2007-05-29 21:41 - Links

Supporters of the condition argue that dyslexics are intelligent people who have difficulties processing information and need extra help and time than others who are poor readers.

I side with the doc on this one. The quoted statement sounds quite a lot like an oxymoron to me. If you "have difficulties processing information" and "need extra help and time" then guess what: you're not intelligent.


If you need to work harder to do the same task, does that make you stupid?
2007-05-30 09:08 - kathaclysm

I often think that people with abilities that come naturally to them often don't appreciate the work that others need to put in to accomplish the same task; I don't think intelligence and effort are mutually exclusive.

While I agree that Dyslexia is overused in today's society by some parents to give their kids a "leg up" by labeling them with a condition that affords them extra attention & assistance, I don't think that dyslexia as a whole is not a condition, nor would I think that someone with dyslexia couldn't also be intelligent.

I'm sure dyslexia something that lies on a continuum, considering how little we know about how the brain processes information it is not unlikely that some people would have biological reasons for difficulty in this area. If there are some people in this world with a photographic memory who can duplicate what they see exactly ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TibQ_1zH3U ) why wouldn't the opposite be true, where some people have difficulty interpreting & duplicating what they see?

This paragraph also comes to mind: Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

Considering also how often I myself switch letters & numbers around, and have spelling trouble (though I never write letters backwards), and yet I have always scored high on standardized & intelligence tests, I may be a bit bias. I have often found myself quite embarrassed having mispronounced a word because I just read it wrong. I also know that I absorb visual & audial information much more readily than the written word.

There are even arguments as to how dyslexia would be somewhat advantageous in a prehistoric-society with no written language, as this would better allow individuals to identify birds, plants, animals, etc. by their profiles, from whatever direction they are viewed.

Yes, a continuum...
2007-05-30 09:42 - arantius

That's my point exactly. "Intelligence" is not a binary state; there are all sorts of levels. But, anyone at the level where they are unable to read is, simply, very var down on that continuum. Low enough, for me at least, to label them "not intelligent". Maybe reading is a complex task; for an intelligent human however it should be effortless.

Intelligence is multi-dimensional
2007-06-18 09:13 - lupestro

I don't think dyslexia correlates to any generalizations about intelligence. My dad was dyslexic, only his big problem was with numbers getting turned around and turned over. He could add the same column of figures six times, carefully, and come up with six different answers. (On the other hand, if you just read the numbers off to him, he could add them in his head as you read them.) However, he could work out complex spatial geometry without difficulty and was an insightful thinker about problems at home, in the community, and in the world. I believe dyslexia is real because I've seen it in action.

The way these conditions are used in practice has to do with how schools handle students. The only way a student can get individual attention in the American school system is to be flagged as a special needs student with an Individual Educational Profile (IEP). This means a diagnosed disorder with a label. They are then given "help" for living with their "disorder". From then on they carry the tag of the disorder du jour - dislexia, hyperactivity, Aspergers, high-functioning autism - with "suitable" classroom adjustments. Even if the diagnosis is genuine, this process doesn't expect to succeed in helping the student to adjust to a world that makes no accomodation for difficulties or differences. When they graduate, the kids get passed on to the social systems of vocational rehabilitation and other adjustments for those who will never function normally without help. They learn to accept the label given them, the institutionalization it implies. The kids' only real hope lies in success in the real world giving them the confidence to shaking it all off eventually.

Post a comment:

  If you do not have an account to log in to yet, register your own account. You will not enter any personal info and need not supply an email address.

You may use Markdown syntax in the comment, but no HTML. Hints:

If you are attempting to contact me, ask me a question, etc, please send me a message through the contact form rather than posting a comment here. Thank you. (If you post a comment anyway when it should be a message to me, I'll probably just delete your comment. I don't like clutter.)