Wide of the mark on the subject of dyslexia

Generic Photo of a boy suffering from dyslexia.
Generic Photo of a boy suffering from dyslexia.

One national newspaper last week described dyslexia as the product of the lazy middle classes.

This was startling for a number of reasons, not least the fact that the newspaper in question has the middle classes as its target audience.

As with many other disorders, dyslexia is something I don’t fully comprehend as I am not a sufferer.

So I decided to look it up.

The World Federation of Neurology defines dyslexia as “a disorder manifested by difficulty in learning to read despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence and socio-cultural opportunity”.

And it was the last bit, socio-cultural opportunity, that made me realise just how wide of the mark the latest national newspaper claims were.

It clearly means dyslexia can afflict anyone from any social circumstance.

And the report from the World Federation of Neurology also goes on to say dyslexia can be neither taught nor inherent.

It must have been a slow news day for the national newspaper in question.

Dyslexia was identified by Oswald Berkhan in 1881, but the term dyslexia was coined in 1887 by Rudolf Berlin, who was an ophthalmologist in Stuttgart.

He used the term to refer to the case of a young boy who struggled badly with reading and writing despite showing typical intellectual in all other respects.

So how did it take the newspaper in question so long to catch up with the story?

And was it really trying to suggest Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell and Michael Faraday were all the product of the lazy middle classes?

I would not normally have heard about this story as I would not use the newspaper concerned to line a budgie tray, for fear of offending the bird!

But I heard an outraged radio debate on the article. At the end of it I realised the newspaper was once again wide of the mark.

No surprise there then. This is the newspaper that will be trying to blame the flooding of the Somerset Levels on gay marriage and the double-dip recession on lesbian single mothers!