Monthly Dyslexia News Digest – November 2017

In the headlines

Behind one of last month’s headlines

Our final item last month dated 18 October reported on the research by French scientists Guy Ropars and Albert le Floch who claim to have found evidence that dyslexia is caused by physiological differences in dyslexic people’s eyes. Their paper garnered extensive coverage in the media, which is why it appeared in our round up. Since then though rebuttals of the theory have emerged and we report on them here.

27 October 2017

Mark Seidenberg, a cognitive and neuro-scientist based at the University of Wisconsin writes a powerful rebuttal of the French scientists Guy Ropars and Albert le Floch’s study. He feels the paper is a ‘terrible article’ and will have a ‘harmful impact’. He states that there is no single cause of dyslexia and that dyslexia is a spectrum condition. Read his forthright blog below.

http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=35144

2 November 2017

A further detailed report on Mark Seidenberg’s rebuttal of Ropars and le Floch’s study appeared in Tucson News Now adding in criticisms of the research made by Jack Fletcher of the Department of Psychology at the University of Houston and Joe Elliot, researcher at the University of Durham who stated that in his investigations of research on dyslexia any explanation based on vision ‘always turns to dust’.

http://www.tucsonnewsnow.com/story/36749672/experts-lambaste-french-dyslexia-study-claiming-to-have-found-cause-cure

6-11 November 2017

Scotland held its Dyslexia Awareness Week (as it always does a month after England, Wales and Northern Ireland) on 6-11 November. The theme this year was Positive about Dyslexia. Click on the link below to read Dyslexia Scotland’s round-up report on all the events that took place including the launch on 9 November of their new website for young people with dyslexia which is called Dyslexia Unwrapped and can be accessed directly by clicking on the second link listed below.

https://www.dyslexiascotland.org.uk/dyslexia-awareness-week

https://unwrapped.dyslexiascotland.org.uk

17 November 2017

Nancy Gedge, consultant teacher for Driver Youth Trust wrote an article for the TES about the lack of but undeniable usefulness of specialist teachers who have undertaken qualifications at Level 7 in dyslexia and literacy difficulties. The awards are governed by the various dyslexia charities and mean that the teachers holding them are able to assess and diagnose dyslexia and suggest interventions or teaching styles that will benefit the student. She adds that the adjustments can be something as simple as changing the font you use in class, or adding bullet points or numbers to lines to help dyslexic students find their place in the text.

https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/specialist-teachers-will-help-they-cant-weave-magic

22 November 2017

Professor Margaret Snowling, from St John’s College, Oxford has taken part in a half hour long podcast with the TES. She discusses the importance of early intervention for dyslexic children and how dyslexia is a continuum from mild to severe. Listen to the whole discussion at the link below.

http://tesnews.podbean.com/e/what-teachers-need-to-know-about-dyslexia-and-how-to-support-dyslexic-students-professor-margaret-snowling-talks-to-tes-podagogy/