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The Dyslexia Label

Updated on February 9, 2015
Dyslexia | Source

It has been estimated that about one in four British people suffer from a condition called dyslexia. Dyslexia is broadly described as a learning difficulty that makes it difficult for the sufferer to read the written word. The condition is taken so seriously by the Department of Education that sufferers of dyslexia are given extra time in examinations to make up for this handicap.

Despite the numerous studies academics still are not in agreement on whether the condition actually exists. Some claim that the symptoms put forward are no different to the problems everyone encounters at some stage in their learning development and do not warrant labelling a child in this way.

Professor Julian Elliott, an Educational Psychologist at Durham University in the United Kingdom could find no scientific evidence for the existence of dyslexia and that he himself could not diagnose such a condition with any confidence.

Professor Elliott believes the condition called dyslexia is no more than a reading difficulty and that there is no reason for it to be a called anything else or given any more attention than that. He is further perplexed by the confusion surrounding the definition of dyslexia as he found no less than 28 different definitions of the condition. It is as if definitions have been created in order to encompass as many people as possible and in so doing enlisting the support of more people in a drive to validate a condition that actually does not exist.

Professor Elliott believes that dyslexia is a very convenient label for parents to use as a way of explaining why their children are not living up to their parents' academic expectations. He feels it is easier for a parent to believe in a condition that prevents their child from achieving than accepting the idea that the child is not very clever. In his view it is an elaborate self deception designed to placate parents who can heave a sigh of relief for having found a plausible explanation for why their children are not achieving in school now they have this 'condition' called dyslexia to blame.

He believes that the condition is satisfying an emotional need in parents who have a vested interest in having their children diagnosed with this mysterious condition than to have themselves and their children bear the stigma of being labelled with low intelligence. It is very important for parents to have dyslexia recognised as a valid condition so you can imagine the reaction Professor Elliott received when he made his views public in the United Kingdom.

Those who oppose Professor Elliott's views argue that there is a difference between people labelled dyslexic and those labelled as poor readers. They say that people lacking in intelligence are slow learners and slow learners are poor readers. Dyslexics on the other hand are intelligent people who have problems reading. They say that there are lots of poor readers who have problems reading because they lack the necessary intelligence to be good readers and so they would not be labelled dyslexic.

Professor Elliott sees this argument as ironic in that those who oppose him rely on tests of intelligence for their proof of the existence of dyslexia when in fact scientific studies have shown that it is not reading that requires a high degree of intelligence but the comprehension of what is read.

Dyslexia has become a multi million pound (dollar) business. People now depend on dyslexia being a real condition for their livelihood so people with views like Professor Elliott receive a lot of hate mail and unless you are a very courageous individual or actively sought notoriety you would simply keep your mouth shut.

People pay a lot of money to have their children diagnosed with dyslexia but you will find nowhere a cure for this condition. Labelling a child with dyslexia is far more profitable than curing the condition.

As a teacher and Hypno-Psychotherapist I have taught children labelled with dyslexia and I have also treated children in my private practice who were diagnosed with dyslexia. I have written the transcript of one of my lessons teaching a a boy, who was labelled as severely dyslexic, how to spell in a separate hub called Spelling Help. As a Hypno-Psychotherapist I have found that every child and adult I treated with dyslexia had some things in common. All of the people I treated were male. They all had fathers who were dyslexic. All of their fathers were 'absent'. When I say absent I mean either physically absent in that the parents were separated or divorced and no longer living together or emotionally absent in that the mother wore the pants and the fathers remained ineffectual in the background for most of the time. The strong male role model figure was not present and in his place was a dominant controlling mother. These are my findings and the numbers would not be sufficient to warrant any conclusions be drawn. They could well be coincidences and that I why I approached the British Dyslexia Association with my findings many years ago.

When I called the association and told them my credentials they were very friendly until I shared my findings. In my naivety I believed that this association would be interested in pursuing any avenue that would lead to a discovery of the cure for dyslexia so I asked if any study had been made to check the links that I had found in the background of people who suffered with dyslexia. I was met with nothing less than a torrent of anger. The idea that dyslexia could be as a result of some emotional root was completely preposterous to them and they asked me not to call again.

I have written many articles on the power of thought and feelings to create reality and whether or not you agree with Professor Elliott you would have to admit that it all smells rather fishy. This is a classic example of how enough people investing enough energy in a thought can actually create a belief that the becomes an unquestionable truth. To those people who spoke to me from the British Dyslexia Association, Professor Elliott and anyone who supports his views are viewed as no less than devilsl because idea that any condition could have an emotional root cause let alone dyslexia was like Copernicus putting forward the idea that the earth was round.

If someone believes he is dyslexic then he is dyslexic. No amount of logical reasoning is going to convince him otherwise. I spend no time trying to convince people about anything because their critical filter will only entertain ideas that fit their belief system. In order to reach an informed decision about what you want to continue to hold as a belief, and therefore your truth, you would have to suspend the very belief system that protects you from entertaining ideas that conflict with your beliefs. This is where hypnosis comes in. By learning the art of self hypnosis you learn how to suspend your critical factor in order to deliberately entertain ideas that would be in your own interests. Not everything you hold to be true is good for you so wouldn't it seem like common sense to learn how to access the subconscious to change those beliefs that are limiting you and holding you back?

I created an audio recording called Hypnotherapy Treatment Preparation, that I require each of my clients to play for at least one week before starting their treatment with me. The audio is available for purchased from my website so that it can be put on iPod , MP3 player or burned to CD and played in the privacy of your own home. The audio teaches the art of self hypnosis so successfully that my clients come for their first session already able to achieve the state of hypnosis deliberately by themselves.


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    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 4 years ago from Isle of Man

      "imposing opinions is what the world is made of" is definitely not an opinion I would share with you.

      Your argument regarding how an hypothesis becomes fact after testing is flawed in that more and more people in the science field are beginning to realise that they find what they look for. So it is the opinion that creates the result. A person being told they have cancer by an authority figure , a Doctor , may well develop cancer as a result of the suggestion given. This is the reason why surgeons are told not to chat in the operating theatre as the things said while the patient is under general anaesthetic can be accepted by the subconscious.

      Once again you are entitled to your opinion but you say nothing new only to keep saying that you are right and I am wrong. In your world you are right and what you experience is a direct result of what you believe to be true. I live in a different world and my experiences are a direct result of holding to my own views. Why hold on to any view that creates victims in the world? Nobody makes us believe what we do and knowing how our beliefs and opinions affect our lives it seems insane that anyone would want to cling to beliefs that limit any human being.

      I never close anything and am always open to listen to other peoples' opinions. Sometimes what they say makes me rethink what I believe and even reverse a belief I have but not unless it is going to improve my life experience. I too wish you well and would recommend you read Mr Happy and Slarty O'Brian's hubs as you may share similar beliefs as them but have also one other thing in common ...integrity.

    • Rayshub profile image

      Ray Ham 4 years ago from Texas

      Thank you for your response. I think I understand the point you are trying to make regarding beliefs and opinions, and I agree. What I am having trouble with is the disregard for information that rests outside beliefs and opinions. When someone has a blood flow problem that affects their heart, certain procedures/tests verify where vessels are restricted. Too much of a restriction may lead to bypass heart surgery or stents. This procedure starts out as an opinion that is then verified in the operating room. Thus, opinion and "cure" become one. The same is true of cancer. Those who study the heart and cancer start out with a hypothesis and then test it out.

      If you have a group of people who learn well and a group who struggle with the complex skills of reading, writing, and spelling-and you study the differences in their genes and you indeed find a difference-then something is wrong with the makeup of the genes. The same is true of MRIs. Those who have an advanced brain tumor will not act or talk like normal people, and brain scans display this difference.

      By the way, imposing opinions is what the world is made of. You impose your opinions and I impose mine. We both are the same in that regards.

      Anyway, I will close our debate and wish you well. It's been an interesting engagement of the minds.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 4 years ago from Isle of Man

      Every belief starts as an opinion. When an opinion is liked by enough people it becomes a belief. As more and more people subscribe to the belief some beliefs eventually rise to the status of truth. At the end of the day it is all perception which is subjective and started as opinion. Brain scans, MRI,documented scientific data are all ways of pushing a particular belief to the status of truth which is obviously working in your case Rayhub! Don't worry you are not alone. Most people, on hearing the words 'documented scientific data' believe whatever you say after that. You are entitled to your opinion but you are not entitled to impose them which seems to be what you are doing here. I am not trying to convince you of anything and accept that you do not agree with me. The world is big enough for the two of us to have different beliefs. Have a nice day Rayhub and be sure to "Give Love"

    • Rayshub profile image

      Ray Ham 4 years ago from Texas

      My "belief" in dyslexia is based on documented, scientific data that clearly shows a difference in the brains of those with and without dyslexia. So, I don't see that belief has a part in our discussion.

      The dyslexic brain processes reading in a different manner than the brain of a non-dyslexic. Those who have brain damage and could read before the trauma also exhibit many of the same symptoms as those dyslexics who have no brain damage.

      I would be interested in your thoughts on the fMRI data as well as specific genes that have been identified to cause dyslexia. These obviously are not beliefs and the data have been replicated many times over.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 4 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you for reading this hub and taking the time to comment. I think you answer yourself when you yourself say: "Just because someone believes something does not make it so." You have stated what you believe and by your own words does not make it true but you are entitled to your opinion.

    • Rayshub profile image

      Ray Ham 4 years ago from Texas

      I do not intend for my comments to be offensive, it's just that I believe it is important to respond to this Hub.

      Dyslexia or whatever you want to call it ( specific learning disability) is real. The simplest way to see that it is real is to work with students who are in the sixth grade who cannot read, spell, or write above a 1st or 2nd grade level. This is experienced year after year after year. It does not come and go. There is some validity in that the schools have not taught these students in the way that they learn best and these students, in fact, have emotional difficulties because of their many failures; but these do not give the complete answer.

      With the MRI results from the Yale Center for the Study of Learning and Attention that have found differences in the brains of those with dyslexia, the argument that dyslexia is more of an emotional problem and it does not exist seem to me to overlook the obvious. We are talking about some of the most sophisticated medical equipment in existence that has compared the brains of normal children with the brains of those who have been called dyslexic. There are a number of significant differences in the two brains. Also, past tests have shown there to be a genetic difference in those with dyslexia. Science, with the skills of many knowledgeable people, have determined that dyslexia is real.

      Don't forget that people believed the earth was flat, that man would never fly, and that in theory the bumblebee could never fly.

      Just because someone believes something does not make it so.

      I would like to see dyslexia taken seriously because we now have science to back it up. Dyslexia is no myth.

      There are still people who do not believe in Jesus but that does not make him unreal. Those who have a dyslexic child and those who work with dyslexic children have no problem with believing that dyslexia or whatever you want to call it, in fact, does exist. A group of people still argue that the Holocaust did not happen but that is the makeup of the world. We all have our own misunderstandings.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 6 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you thelyricwriter

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 6 years ago from West Virginia

      Voted up, useful, and interesting. Another very useful article S.W. I live in America and I have heard the term, but I had no idea that it was 1 in every 4 in the British area. That really is a high percentage. I believe it is crucial to a child's development to posses the early skills needed in life to succeed, such as writing and reading. The stats are really alarming and I am glad to see that the focus is on this matter. Well done.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 7 years ago from Isle of Man

      We have free will to believe what we want about anyone. Sometimes it is the belief itself that holds a child captive. I have personally seen a child changing before my eyes when I myself changed my belief about that child. So rather than seeing the child struggling you could choose to see the child as experiencing learning in exactly the right way she needs to right now which may not be the same as the next child. There is no hard and fast rule about the rate at which I child needs to learn. In the end it is the child's feeling about herself that needs to nurtured and see her as struggling is a choice you need not make. Look for her strengths and she will miraculously blossom before your very eyes. Suspend judgement and use love as the gauge of her success as academic achievements are not as important as some people would have us believe.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 7 years ago from UK

      Thanks for your reply. I agree with what you say about labels, but as my opinion on this is based on personal rather than professional experience (and I like to keep an open mind) I was curious to hear what your experience has been. I wondered if a child struggling with learning might feel relieved if told they had dyslexia and so cope better, but it doesn’t sound as if this is the case for your clients.

      I’m probably more aware of how damaging labels can be in the mental health arena, having a friend who was labeled early in life and who is only now regaining the confidence that label destroyed, even though the label has been changed a few times.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Melovy thank you again for visiting and commenting. In my experience I have found dyslexia to be one of the ways a male child reacts subconsciously to an ineffective and/or absent father and a controlling mother. I have found that girls tended to suffer from anorexia. These are connections that I made in my private practice and I don't know of anyone else who has even noticed this.

      With regard to your question of whether or not labelling a child in this way would ever be useful or conducive to learning I would say no. Labels are limiting beliefs and as such only serve to limit people. Throw away the labels and set our children free to do what is the most natural thing for a human being to do - LEARN. Schools are designed to put children to sleep and make learning a chore. This was never how it was meant to be.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 7 years ago from UK

      This is a really interesting hub. I certainly think that belief plays a huge part in this or any condition, though the one child I know who has been diagnosed with dyslexia is a girl, so doesn’t fit your category! I’d be interested to hear whether you find it helps someone to feel more able to learn at school after diagnosis, or whether it has the opposite effect?

    • thesailor profile image

      thesailor 7 years ago from Seven Seas

      Each one of us can suffer such handicap, for short and long span of time. Dyslexic people can be successful like what I've read on this link:

      Personally, while writing some of my hubs, I even forget the write spelling or cannot read some words that I have to close my eyes, pause, then restart composing myself again.

      I think, it can be more than a blessing than a curse.

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you for your comment and I am glad you find the hubs useful.If there is anything I can do to help please don't hesitate to ask.

    • Ashantina profile image

      Ashantina 7 years ago

      ..and very interesting findings you have here. Deep stuff.

      bookmarked and voted up.

    • Ashantina profile image

      Ashantina 7 years ago

      Hey SW.. and I'm glad I found your hub today. Am working 1-2-1 with a woman who I believe is dyslexic.. not sure how/what approach to use.. just about to check out your other hub 'spelling help'. Much love, A

    • Spirit Whisperer profile image

      Xavier Nathan 7 years ago from Isle of Man

      Thank you No_Clue for your words of encouragement. I am intrigued about your cure for cancer. I can't wait to hear more!

    • No_Clue profile image

      No_Clue 7 years ago

      This is a most interesting article that is of great interest to me, for I have a son who was diagnosed with dyslexia early on in his educational career, who fits right into your observations working with dyslexic children...perhaps it is not the same but made me think of a cure for cancer, which would certainly upset the apple carts of many, from doctors to pharmaceutical companies to cancer treatment facilities who make lots of money off of un-cured cancer...I don't know much about the logistics of dyslexia, but I do believe it is real, and certainly limiting to those diagnosed with it, can see how a label would self-perpetuate, and would love to know if, indeed, it has an emotional root. This particular son had difficulty at birth, and stopped breathing at the age of 8 days old, and I was told at that time that due to oxygen deprivation, he could possibly have learning disabilities which did display in Kindergarten, concerning letters and their sounds. However, numbers were a different story. He has always struggled to this day with reading and writing but is a natural whiz at math...very interesting article, Spirit Whisperer! Thank you!


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