Recently I had written some comments in response to a query by a member in a forum. A learned lady with a string of qualifications criticised my comment and went on to say the following:
Lady : “Dyslexia is first and foremost a difficulty with working memory which is generally accompanied by phonological processing problems (though not in all cases).”
Response: “I have written an article saying that dyslexia is not a phonological processing problem. No one has come forward to challenge me on this. There are many research reports besides the 6 in my blog to support my view. I have said that all my dyslexic students over the last 5 years can read in Malay and Romanised Mandarin with ease. The same thing is said of Italian, Finnish and Spanish.”
Why is it that the people with PhD’s and masters in Dyslexia write the same thing- that dyslexia is a language learning disability- over and over in articles all over the internet and do not do some extra research as to why dyslexics do not have a problem learning other languages?
Illiteracy level in the world will be greatly reduced if the learned just look into this one question and find a solution. I believe I have the solution in my blog and the wheel need not be reinvented.
Lady : “Undeveloped memory and auditory processing inevitably has a profound impact upon the acquisition of literacy skills however regular the orthography. Reading is about more than decoding: automatism and of course comprehension are important too.”
Response: There are five major components to the reading process. They are:
1. Phonemic awareness
3. Reading fluency
Vocabulary and comprehension come later in the reading process. All my dyslexic students can read anything written in Malay (Bahasa Malaysia) fluently; however they may not be able to comprehend because their vocabulary is not adequate. I can read fluently in Malay but I cannot comprehend many of the words and therefore the meaning of many sentences. The same goes with my reading in English. I can read almost anything written in English but cannot comprehend many bombastic words and have to look up the dictionary.
Lady : “Thus, if a person is able to read and, crucially, spell fluently in a language - even one that is orthographically logical - then any difficulties are unlikely to be purely of a dyslexic nature, if at all. Even in such regular languages as Spanish, learners with dyslexia will have problems with short-term working memory and organisation that affect their learning. If such difficulties are not apparent then it is unlikely that the person has dyslexia.”
Response: I have actually taught children who have been certified as dyslexic by experts in this field. All of them can read fluently in Malay. I have read articles, in addition to the 6 in my blog, where researchers say that children can read very well in Finnish, Italian, Spanish and Japanese but have a problem reading in English.
A friend of mine from Finland told me that Finnish is spelt exactly as it is pronounced, and is pronounced exactly as it is spelt. He continued that the concept of 'spelling' to a Finn means by syllable rather than by letter as in English. (This is exactly the same with Malay except for the letter ‘e’ which has two sounds.)
I have mentioned in my blog that there is no such thing as a ‘spelling bee’ in Malay as almost all children who have finished primary one will be able to spell almost all words in Malay.
Once you grasp the basic idea of how Malay works, it is an easy language to teach yourself from books, because there is never any doubt about how to pronounce words. You just follow the rules, and you will be right every time.
This lady is the only learned lady who has said what she said in so many words. There are many “experts” who just do not even reply to my e-mails. My comments in articles are almost always deleted.
If the experts on dyslexia, research universities and dyslexia associations do not even want to keep an open mind and look at what I have in my blog and research reports from various countries than how can they find a solution to eradicating illiteracy?
I sometimes feel that I am barking up the wrong tree. Am I naive in thinking that the experts, research universities and associations actually want to find a solution?
For Lesson 34 click here: