Open Letter to Professor Elliott from the Dyslexia Adult Network

Background to ‘Resolving the Dyslexia Debate’

Having published The Dyslexia Debate last year, Professor Elliott has convened seventeen leading academics in the field of reading disability in children to try to reach a consensus on the use and value of the term ‘dyslexia’. After two days of deliberation, the group presented their views at a public presentation in Durham on the evening of 24th September, entitled Resolving the Dyslexia Debate.

Response from the Dyslexia Adult Network

Dear Professor Elliott

The Dyslexia Adult Network is surprised that you are continuing in your efforts to ‘resolve the dyslexia debate’. A hundred years of knowledge and research have taught us that the cognitive difference of dyslexia is complex and multi-faceted.

A group of academics specialising in children, however eminent, can only ever consider some of the issues associated with dyslexia, principally those relating to the childhood acquisition of literacy. The experience of dyslexic adults – both their struggles and achievements – has greatly enlarged our understanding.

Dyslexia, of course, does not disappear in adulthood. The challenges that adults face are very different from those of children because dyslexia is not just about reading. Dyslexia can leave adults socially excluded, or under-performing at work, where the special abilities they may bring to the job go unrecognised. For adults, it is working memory, organisation, adapting to change and effective information processing that can cause the most difficulty.

The Dyslexia Adult Network believes that all individuals with any of these difficulties should receive appropriate assessment and support. Whilst we welcome any opportunity for dyslexia to be in the spotlight and wish to encourage sound academic debate, we represent thousands of dyslexic individuals and practitioners who have grave concerns about your approach and the narrow focus on terminology.

Yours sincerely

Melanie Jameson
Chair, Dyslexia Adult Network

The following organisations are represented in the Dyslexia Adult Network

Adult Dyslexia Organisation, Adult Dyslexia Support, Birmingham Adult Dyslexia Group, British Dyslexia Association, Dyslexia Action, Dyslexia Assessment & Consultancy, Dyslexia Consultancy Malvern, Dyslexia Foundation, Dyslexia Scotland, Key 4 Learning.

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