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Dyslexia, an unfair advantage in education?

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TheDonUK
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PostPosted: 14:21 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Dyslexia, an unfair advantage in education? Reply with quote

Before i start my little triade on the ills of our education system, Im not dyslexic, growing up i had friends who were diagnosed as such and accepted that it must be a condition, i mean why else would people see letters back to front etc.

Having gone through school, college and now university i see a worrying pattern emerging, worrying to me a non-dyslexic.

This post is triggered by these two BBC articles, the first a hartwarming story of a girl who i actually studied politics at college with who is now at Cambridge:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7824429.stm

Now this girl, Katrina and i were both equally capable of doing the work, she had a head on her as did i. However when it came to exam time she got 30 minutes extra, an eternity in a 1/2 hour written exam.
I have no doubts had i been given the extra time it would have been A's all round and an application to an Oxbridge uni in the pipelines.

Fastforward to uni, theres a number of people on the same course as me who are as intelligent and capable as me, if not more so, but are diagnosed with dyslexia and as such receve financial grants, recording equipment and most importantly something like a 3rd extra time in exams.

This post is very much sour grapes, but i do feel somewhat discriminated against because i am not labled as dyslexic.

I read this earlier:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/7828121.stm

The guy mentions what i have read before that, dyslexia simply does not exist in non-western countries, i mean thats not possible right? If its a brain disorder it would show in a sample of all humans regardless of country, so why is it we have a dyslexia "epidemic".

Personally i tend to agree with that MP in the second article that people with poor literacy are uniformly branded "dyslexic" in order to cover up shortcomings in teaching or whathave you.

Thats my 2 cents,

I know we have a number of Dyslexics on BCF and would be interested to hear your views, and i mean no offence by what i say here just voicing my disgruntled opinion.
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Wafer_Thin_Ham
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PostPosted: 14:28 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally I agree wholeheartedly with you Don. Thumbs Up

When people say "I'm Dyslexic" it makes no difference to how I treat them, or from what I expect of them.

My opinions on this ADHD thing are very similar.
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mad_man
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PostPosted: 14:34 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
ScienceDaily (Oct. 6, 1999) Dyslexic children use nearly five times the brain area as normal children while performing a simple language task, according to a new study by an interdisciplinary team of University of Washington researchers. The study shows for the first time that there are chemical differences in the brain function of dyslexic and non-dyslexic children.

The dyslexics were using 4.6 times as much area of the brain to do the same language task as the controls," said Richards, a professor of radiology. "This means their brains were working a lot harder and using more energy than the normal children."

"People often don't see how hard it is for dyslexic children to do a task that others do so effortlessly," added Berninger, a professor of educational psychology.


While no two brains are alike, the brains of people with dyslexia are distinctly different compared to those without dyslexia,let them get on with it,if extra time gives them the same chances to perform as a normal person,whats the problem
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arry
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PostPosted: 14:36 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big_Ham wrote:

My opinions on this ADHD thing are very similar.


I have a friend with ADHD so it'll be interesting for me if you'd go further into this comment


Ok, so you were given half hour less for an exam compared to someone else that has a 'disability' which 'allegedly' hinders their ability in a written exam situation. If you had an extra half hour, you'd have been on straight A's and your life would have been so different?

Did no-one else in the whole country get straight A's from a straight half hour exam then? Was it just you that was disadvantaged to such a point you couldn't achieve a top grade?

Were there any coursework essays that she would have struggled her arse off to produce where you'd done in less than half the time because you're not 'disabled'?

Seems very sour grapes to me. I had to go through all kinds of family problems during my last couple of years at school and had to work my way through college to the point where I had an attendance rate of under 35% - if I didn't have all that on my shoulders perhaps I could have done better in life? So what - I made the best of the opportunities I had and I never questioned anyone else's right to do better than me.

Sounds harsh, but I think you just need to lay it to rest and get over it, you weren't good enough for straight A's in the real test environment, and that's just life.

Sorry Sad
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Kickstart
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PostPosted: 14:42 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

I read the 2nd article then saw this post on BCF. Was going to post something similar.

I have no great issue that there is such a condition as dyslexia (why is that so difficult to spell Laughing ). However how prevalent it is I am not sure. And surely the level of it would vary greatly (even if not in the condition then in how people have adapted to it).

I went to secondary school in the early 1980s and it was pretty much unknown of then. I don't recall anyone at all in any school I went to even mentioning it (nearest was some storyline in Grange Hill about it many years ago, and treated as pretty unusual).

My brother was diagnosed with it, and meant to be fairly severe. Didn't stop him getting a computing degree (and to the best of my knowledge no extra time for doing things). I know that I display a fair few of the indications for it, but that is just me. Maybe it is a sign of it, but not really anything relevant. Just that I would be lousy at a job as a proof reader (whether because I missed something or needed to take twice as long).

All the best

Keith
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Kickstart
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PostPosted: 14:45 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

arry wrote:
Sounds harsh, but I think you just need to lay it to rest and get over it, you weren't good enough for straight A's in the real test environment, and that's just life.


Nor was the person you think he has "sour grapes" about. Just that they were given an advantage, which may have been totally out of proportion to their disadvantage.

All the best

Keith
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TheDonUK
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PostPosted: 14:49 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your right Arry, Im not using this as an excuse for my shortcomings, nor am i trying to take a pop at 'dyslexics'. I have my reasons for underacheiving, I am a chronic procrastinator, as such i am a B student.

But if, for the purposes of discussion we accept that dyslexia could be an artificial condition then surely those of us who did not fall under its catchment are at a big disadvantage throughout our academic lives?

And yes there are pleanty of people who get straight A's with the time allotted, as could I if i had of put the work in. However, in for example a politics exam where you would be expected to write 4-6 sides in an hour and a half say, an extra half an hour equates to such a big advantage i do find it hard to just shrug it off and go, good for them. Especially as in my own personal experience nearly every dyslexic i have met has been very intelligent and capable of producing work with the "norms".

That said this post isnt about my failings as a student, im more concerned that so much provision is set aside for a disorder that could possible be a fallacy, perhaps to the detriment of others.

Madman: Interesting about the brain chemistry, but that could also be explained because if those who are branded dyslexic have poor literacy skills then naturally they would have to work harder to acheive the same level, also how does it explain the fact that dyslexia is only found in a select few western countries?

I would be interested to hear Ariels view as hes a teacher, and if i recall dyslexic himself?

EDIT: In regards to arrys post below i cant really come back against that rockhard logic, So if not an unfair disadvantage to me, then surely an unfair advantage for "them"?
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Last edited by TheDonUK on 14:53 - 14 Jan 2009; edited 1 time in total
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arry
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PostPosted: 14:49 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kickstart wrote:
arry wrote:
Sounds harsh, but I think you just need to lay it to rest and get over it, you weren't good enough for straight A's in the real test environment, and that's just life.


Nor was the person you think he has "sour grapes" about. Just that they were given an advantage, which may have been totally out of proportion to their disadvantage.


Indeed correct, but then someone else's advantage, perceived or otherwise, doesn't make him disadvantaged in relation to the vast majority of the population.
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Walloper
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PostPosted: 14:51 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah too true.......

And what about Peanut Butter?? Eh?

What's wrong wif that?

I am dyslexic but I will not admit to it.
I have enough Social Stigmata to deal with as it is... Smile
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Kickstart
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PostPosted: 14:56 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

arry wrote:
Indeed correct, but then someone else's advantage, perceived or otherwise, doesn't make him disadvantaged in relation to the vast majority of the population.


Very true, but from the original post it appears he is commenting that some are given a quite possibly unfair advantage to compensate for a perceived disadvantage.

If the time taken is an important factor in what the qualification puts someone in a position to do then it is unfair to increase the time for one group. If it is not important then there is no real need for the time limit of the exam to at all challenging for anyone taking it.

All the best

Keith
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Charlie
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PostPosted: 14:57 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is my story...

Went to a good primary school, was a beacon school for a while and at the top of the tables. Yet compared the people in there I felt inadequate, I had no confidence in myself. I was rubbish at English, couldn't spell very well, wasn't that amazing at Maths either. Used to get special help with spelling, basically meant that about 5 of us from the class had about 30-60mins a week out of class practicing spelling with a support teacher.

Went to the local comprehensive high school, at which point I realised I was good at a couple of things and within the first year gained loads of self confidence. Still wasn't good at English, was in the middle of the sets where as in Maths and Science I was in the top set and doing pretty good in the classes (more so in Science than Maths, didn't like Maths much). Because I had received help in primary school I also got some in high school. Except this time it was one to one and would practiced spelling about once a week, it was helping I was doing better in the spelling tests. Lasted about 2 years probably before it was decided I was doing well enough to go it on my own.

I was also in the special group for being intellegent. It was setup to stretch the people in there because they where more intelligent than the rest of the year. Probably around 20-30 in that group out of 150 in the year.

Any way went through my GCSEs predicted A*s and As in everything, however the best I managed was 2 As, 5 Bs, 3 Cs and a D (in french, hated it).

So I went to a reasonable sixth form college to do my A-levels, first year I did, Electronics, Computing, Geography and Applied ICT. First AS exams in January, did pretty good, something like AABB or something. Anyway my friend had gone for a test to find out why he seemed to write slower than everyone else, and struggled with bits and pieces. He was telling me he could get a free laptop from the college. Great I want a free laptop so I went for these tests hoping to get a free laptop.

Turns out my handwriting wasn't bad enough for a free laptop, but the lady wanted to an Adult Dyslexia test. So I took it, and the results showed that I was highly at risk to Dyslexia and therefore awarded 25% extra time in exams and some other help options such as having my own room so I could read my work out loud (which does help).

So from that point on in my A-levels I had 25% extra time in my exams, only ever really needed it in exams which where writing based, such as geography and general studies. Got AAAB C (C in general studies) in my AS level year, and AAB BC A level year (C in AS maths and B in general studies). Now I know for a fact that I would have never got those results in general studies and geography if it wasn't for my extra time. In the class room I was an ace at geography, I was really good compared to the people in my class, in at least class participation. But I wasn't getting as consistent high scores as them in geography, also my answers often needed twice as many words to get the same mark as them.

Now at university I often got letters through asking about my dyslexia I could get x y and z, but I never responded to any of them. So I am at university after getting 25% extra time for 1 and half years of A-levels, with just the normal amount of time. My view is the stuff I now do doesn't in my eyes qualify me for extra time however I bet I could get it if I wanted it.

From all that I soon learnt you would be really good at exams if you where good at english. Even when people where shit in a subject they could do well if they where good at english. Which I view as an un-fair testing system, it means nearly every test is a skill of english and not the actual subject. The whole idea of the extra time is to give a boost to those not so good at english and to take them up to the same english levels as the others.

I think it should be monitored though, I mean if I got the extra time in my GCSE's I wouldn't have to take the test again at a-level. I think people grow out of it and therefore it should be tested every year before the exams to see if you still deserve it.

I am still god awful at spelling yet I have used computers for 7+ years with a spell checker which has taught me spelling.

Not sure why I haven't written such a long post, guess I am bored, it doesn't have a proper point in it for fuck sake lol.
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The Shaggy D.A.
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PostPosted: 15:04 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Getting 25-33% extra time in exams is one thing, but that doesn't work in "the real world". Say two people qualify with a degree in computer science, one is dyslexic. If an employer employs both, he's not going to put up with "but I was given extra time on my tasks" when deadlines are looming.
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Suitor_Stu
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PostPosted: 15:05 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's all about trying to make a distinction between the varying grades of dyslexia I feel...

I've got a friend who is severely dyslexic - he really isn't good with the written word to the extent that he will not text anyone because the resulting drivel is even more incomprehensible than regular 'txt spk'. He is studying Dentistry as well, and gets an extra 1/2 hour in our 2 1/2hr exams. I do not grudge him this as he genuinely needs it just to read the questions.

My ex was diagnosed with mild dyslexia. She read much more than I did, so this aspect wasn't the problem, however she was hopeless at trying to write down what she was thinking. This did not really bother her for the short answer question type exams (usually one word/phrase was enough for the question) but when it came to the essay writing ones, or when writing reports she got totally bogged down. I'm talking like in the space allotted to write 3 essays she would maybe get one down. Knowing her for the best part of 2 years I can say it's not because she was thick - far from it - but that she really had problems conveying her thoughts as words. This is a much more subtle form of the condition, but still equally necessitates a bit of extra time in that type of exam. However, I'm not entirely sure she was entirely needing of the 1500 to buy a computer and recording gear (an iPod plus microphone)...

Once again (as with all mental conditions) it falls to the accuracy of our methods of diagnosis, and once again these sometimes overcompensate to make up for lack of particular knowledge on the particular subject. My advice is just live and let live, some people obviously would be worse off without it. Besides, a bit of competition isn't all that bad - esp when you can insult them in writing and they won't have a clue what you're saying - mwahahahahahaha!

Ahem.
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mad_man
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PostPosted: 15:06 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Madman: Interesting about the brain chemistry, but that could also be explained because if those who are branded dyslexic have poor literacy skills then naturally they would have to work harder to acheive the same level, also how does it explain the fact that dyslexia is only found in a select few western countries?


Yea it is interesting,if the brain is wired differently they would have to learn in a different way,

Quote:
Dyslexic brains function differently because they are organized differently. They even look different, though not to the naked eye. Scientists use microscopes and sophisticated neuroimaging tools to study the structural and functional differences of dyslexic brains.

Studies of brains donated to medical research advanced our understanding of developmental dyslexia in important ways. Scientists discovered structural differences in two parts of the dyslexic brain the cerebral cortex and the thalamus. The cerebral cortex is the six-layered outer part of the brain involved in high-level processing, including sensory and motor analyses, working memory, attention, and language. The thalamus, a "way-station" located at the center of the brain, is the major stop for information transmitted from our sensory organs (e.g., eyes and ears) to the higher-level processing cerebral cortex.

Another cortex difference symmetry has been found both in autopsied brains and in neuroimaging studies of living people with dyslexia. The human brain has two hemispheres that are almost, but not quite, mirror images. Not quite, because small size differences asymmetries exist between hemispheres. (The two hemispheres also process information, including language, somewhat differently.) Studies show that the planum temporale, an auditory region that is part of the language network, is the same size in both sides of dyslexic brains. In other words, dyslexic brains are more symmetrical

Why is this news? Because the planum temporale normally is larger on the left side of the brain. This asymmetric brain design may be highly efficient for processing sequential information and for learning certain language skills, including reading, writing, and spelling. Symmetry of this area may interfere with learning to read and write.


why does it only show up in the west?god knows,why do toasters only show up on earth? Laughing
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sickpup
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PostPosted: 15:08 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the things I find fascinating about BCF is the amount of people who claim to be dyslexic yet can read and write perfectly in text speech. Hold on if you are dyslexic it isn't language specific.

I have no doubt the condition exists but I doubt it's as wide spread as people claim
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Walloper
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PostPosted: 15:24 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

sickpup wrote:
One of the things I find fascinating about BCF is the amount of people who claim to be dyslexic yet can read and write perfectly in text speech. Hold on if you are dyslexic it isn't language specific.

I have no doubt the condition exists but I doubt it's as wide spread as people claim


As is 'invalidity'
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mad_man
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PostPosted: 15:29 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Getting 25-33% extra time in exams is one thing, but that doesn't work in "the real world". Say two people qualify with a degree in computer science, one is dyslexic. If an employer employs both, he's not going to put up with "but I was given extra time on my tasks" when deadlines are looming


teh real worlds! i am sure Richard Branson has fired many dyslexics and many non dyslexics for not reaching the deadline but i doubt he would have heard "im dyslexic arrrgghhh they gave me extra time on my gcse"s why cant you!"

although being a dyslexic self made billion air with 150+ enterprises to his name he may be a little more understanding than the average employer..who knows Smile
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Walloper
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PostPosted: 15:46 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

mad_man wrote:
Quote:
Getting 25-33% extra time in exams is one thing, but that doesn't work in "the real world". Say two people qualify with a degree in computer science, one is dyslexic. If an employer employs both, he's not going to put up with "but I was given extra time on my tasks" when deadlines are looming


teh real worlds! i am sure Richard Branson has fired many dyslexics and many non dyslexics for not reaching the deadline but i doubt he would have heard "im dyslexic arrrgghhh they gave me extra time on my gcse"s why cant you!"

although being a dyslexic self made billion air with 150+ enterprises to his name he may be a little more understanding than the average employer..who knows Smile


vill he fcuk...
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GhostRider
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PostPosted: 15:49 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Shaggy D.A. wrote:
Getting 25-33% extra time in exams is one thing, but that doesn't work in "the real world". Say two people qualify with a degree in computer science, one is dyslexic. If an employer employs both, he's not going to put up with "but I was given extra time on my tasks" when deadlines are looming.


Amen.

Another poster made reference to a friend who is severly dyslexic, and yet is training to be a dentist? So when they rip out the wrong tooth because they read the chart wrong, what are they going to tell the patient? "Sorry, im dyslexic, however, if I'd read the chart for half hour longer I'd have nailed it first time". I know thats taking it to an extreme, and maybe you will even call "Discrimination!!", and you could well be right there, but for the right reasons i.e the same reason you can't be a fighter pilot if you're colour blind.

I think a lot of people, perhaps with a mild form, play on it for such advantages. Hell, I fucking would, if I got told I was mildy dyslexic, but I myself had never noticed or had not affected me bad, well, being told that, you bet your ass im gonna say to an examiner "I'll take that extra half hour chief, I got my "Im dyslexic" card right here".

As for why westerners only? Probably a genetic/evolutionary development for one reason or another (why is anybodys guess).

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Suitor_Stu
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PostPosted: 16:06 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

GhostRider wrote:
Another poster made reference to a friend who is severly dyslexic, and yet is training to be a dentist? So when they rip out the wrong tooth because they read the chart wrong, what are they going to tell the patient? "Sorry, im dyslexic, however, if I'd read the chart for half hour longer I'd have nailed it first time". I know thats taking it to an extreme, and maybe you will even call "Discrimination!!", and you could well be right there, but for the right reasons i.e the same reason you can't be a fighter pilot if you're colour blind.


Hello.

When you are doing anything dentally, you make a diagnosis first of all - before you carry out any treatment. This is based on knowledge you have learned at uni or outwith practice time (reading journals etc.). This is why he wouldn't take out the wrong tooth - because he has been taught what to look for. A patient's mouth does not have something written on it saying the exact nature of the problem, you have to use the skills you have learned (and proved in exams) to carry out your job. Anyone who just blindly reads from a chart and does something without questioning it is a bad practitioner.

This works the same way with dyslexic mechanics too - they may have taken longer to read the theory of mechanics, but once the knowledge is there the person can function as any 'normal' mechanic.

It is not the same as not letting people who are colour blind to be fighter pilots, where the decreased ability to distinguish between different colours (on for example a missile target display) would severely impact on their performance in a work (i.e. combat) situation.

Cheers, Stu
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Wafer_Thin_Ham
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PostPosted: 16:28 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

arry wrote:
Big_Ham wrote:

My opinions on this ADHD thing are very similar.


I have a friend with ADHD so it'll be interesting for me if you'd go further into this comment


I'm not denying that there are a few people that do suffer with an imbalance of brain neurotransmitters. However I feel that it's being lobbed around willy nilly now by doctors. I feel that poor parenting is partly to blame for a lot of a child's unruliness. The child then gets pumped full of lovely drugs(in some cases).

When I was younger(many moons ago now) there were far fewer cases of ADHD, they were just seen as "problem" children and were dealt with in such a way by parenting as oppose to needlessly giving a child drugs and support classes, and thus they led a more normal life.

Since there's also research to suggest it's passed on genetically rather than being socially acquired why hasn't ADHD always been this prevalent?

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bazza
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PostPosted: 16:36 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

TheDonUK wrote:
And yes there are pleanty of people


I see what you did there.

Too little & far too late, I'm afraid...
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jack_zxr400
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PostPosted: 16:37 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

do dyslexic people say that they are usually on their CV's?
does it effect who does and doesnt get certain jobs?
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Skudd
Super Spammer



Joined: 01 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: 16:54 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

My daughter has issues with processing information in the written word and in numbers. In years gone by she would have been called thick. But she is not thick at all, she just has a problem in the way she precesses certain information in a certain format.
We are conditioned to using a certain format and intelligence is based on that format. perhaps if everything was done in morse code she may thrive and others my be considered thick.
Dyslexia is a banded around term to cover a wide spectrum of learning issues that schools find hard to deal with or to find a teaching method to suit the child.
I as a parent realised at a very early age (2-3 yrs ) that my daughter had issues. (All my family have always been in the upper quarter at school and education, my son being in the top 2% at his school and on the young and gifted programme. ) we went to the school and were just dismissed as pushy parents and my daughter fell further and further behind and so her self esteem and confidence were shattered. She became reluctant to try to learn as she thought of herself as a failure,
She has now just started secondary school, her issues have been recognised and teaching methods are being devised for her so that she can catch up the time that she lost in her learning. She will be given extra time for exams, but that is only a by product of the school addressing her needs.
I too have issues with spelling and maths, I could never do times tables in the way the school taught, I could never just learn by rote
such as 1x2=2, 2x2=4 etc, when I do maths I have to for lets say 7x9, I have to do 2x9=18, 3x18=54, 54+9=63. Now I will do that calculation in the same time as some one who learnt by rote will do 7x9=63. As you can see I do many more mathematical equations to come to the same answer and some would say the harder way and a way that would need more intelligence.

Just like spelling, i am a poor speller, there is no doubt about that, but i can teach someone in 40 different ways to do the same thing so that that person may be able to understand what they are doing, unlike the good speller who can only do something in one way.
My daughter obviously has some of the same issues but hasn't yet found the triggers to let her knowledge and learning skills out.
If you can't read the question you can't give an answer, doesn't mean you don't know the answer though.
Just look at Richard Branson, he is very astute, has a good business head, has used his intelligence to gain great wealth. He has to have all his letters and papers read to him because he can't read them.
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JonB
Afraid of Mileage



Joined: 03 Jun 2004
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PostPosted: 16:55 - 14 Jan 2009    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don i'm with you here.

At our uni not only does a dyslexic student get an extra hour to do a typical 3 hour exam. They also get to do it on a computer.

I'm much faster at typing on the computer and also why don't I get tippex to cross out a word decently if I spell something wrong by hand? It's not like I have a "backspace" button on my keyboard ANNNNNNDDDDD when I am writing in an exam my hand fricking kills!
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Old Thread Alert!

The last post was made 5 years, 285 days ago. Instead of replying here, would creating a new thread be more useful?
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