Sunday, September 5, 2010

My e-mail to Dyslexia Scotland part 2

Please read my last article before continuing with this article.

For those of you who did not read the comment by Alan Gurbutt I reproduce it here:

Alan Gurbutt said...
Hi Luqman,
Thank you so much for your unique insight. You have provided a useful alternative to challenge the homogeneous belief, so prevalent in the UK, that dyslexia is a learning disability.

I have always been a logical thinker but I’ve had to think outside the box to survive. The box has been inaccessible to me due to idiosyncrasies within the English language, beginning with the school curriculum.

I was diagnosed last year at 48 as having dyslexia. It really came as a sense of relief to me to know why most of my life has been spent doing things the hard way. You see, if society hasn’t given you the tools to succeed, to understand the world, then as an individual, you’re pretty much alone. Dyslexia isn’t only about lack of attainment at school or in the workplace; it’s also about being unable to enjoy the diversity of life, much of which, is written about in books. It’s this latter point that makes me feel sad. It feels as though the world has passed me by.

Furthermore, I don’t think that anyone can argue away the co-morbidities associated with dyslexia e.g. in the UK about 75% of prison inmates have some form of ‘learning disability’. All the more reason to make sure the English language is taught in the correct manner.

It’s obviously very important to teach the correct sounds to letters in the English alphabet as early as possible, and to recognise that pupils aren’t stupid, that they are logical thinkers with a need for accurate explanations.

Perhaps it is time to consider, that possibly, dyslexia is more of a teaching disability than a learning disability?

Alan, Lincolnshire, UK
May 12, 2010 6:14 PM

Having written (By E-mail) to Dyslexia Scotland I waited for about 10 days. Not receiving any reply I wrote to Alan Gurbutt and did not receive a reply from him. I went to Alan’s blog and saw that all my three articles had been removed!

My last letter to Alan was on the 1st June 2010. My subject for that last e-mail to Alan was “So, they have got to you too?”

I have not received a reply from Alan nor from Dyslexia Scotland.

Some of the questions that I have asked myself are:
1. Why the sudden change of mind by Alan immediately following my letter to Dyslexia Scotland?
2. Why did neither Alan nor Dyslexia Scotland reply my e-mails?
3. What are they afraid of?

The following is my comment on Jackie Stewarts article in Engage for Education.

There was no response from them either. However, I am grateful that my comment was published unlike in many other sites.

Sabah, Malaysia, June 15, 2010
Learning disability & Dyslexia

I have been teaching dyslexic children for more than 5 years and I agree with the definition by the Learning disability Association of US where it says that dyslexia is one of the learning disabilities.
The Learning disability Association of US defines Learning disability as follows:
Typical learning difficulties include dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia – often complicated by associated disorders such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

I also agree with mencap organization UK where it says learning disability is not mental illness or Dyslexia.

Learning disability is not mental illness or dyslexia.
People with a learning disability find it harder than others to learn, understand and communicate. People with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) need full-time help with every aspect of their lives – including eating, drinking, washing, dressing and toileting.

Dyslexia Association of Scotland says the following:
The impact of dyslexia as a barrier to learning varies in degree according to the learning and teaching environment, as there are often associated difficulties such as:
• auditory and /or visual processing of language-based information
• phonological awareness

I started a blog on dyslexia based on my findings after teaching dyslexic children for more than 5 years. I started the blog to share my findings with parents of dyslexic children. I would appreciate it if you could get your learned men to read my blog and get back to me if there is anything in my blog that they are do not agree with/unhappy about/would like to challenge me on.

The Scotland dyslexia association’s definition that dyslexia is a “auditory and /or visual processing of language-based information” cannot be true if you agree that Tom Cruise and Whoopi Goldberg are dyslexics.

The definition that it is a phonological awareness is also incorrect. I have an article in my blog titled “Who says that dyslexics have a phonological awareness problem “. Read this article and ask your men to question me if they want anything to be explained.

I have been teaching dyslexic children 2 or 3 languages. I teach them English, Malay (Malaysia’s National language) and Romanised Mandarin. Both Malay and Romanised Mandarin are in Roman alphabets just like English. My dyslexic students do not have a problem reading in Malay and Romanised Mandarin but they cannot read in English. This prompted me to ask myself as to why they are fluent in 2 languages and have a problem in English.

I then found out that their minds shut down when something illogical is taught to them. They learn words like but, cut, gut, hut, jut, nut, and rut with ease and I find that their minds shut down the moment I teach them the word “put”. I overcame this hurdle by telling them to just learn this word and not to make sense out of it. This is all it took to teach these intelligent kids to learn English.

Another example is when I taught them the words bat, cat, fat, hat, mat pat and sat which they learnt as fast as any other children can learn. However when I taught them “A cat” I could see them giving a puzzled look. This I found out is because it did not make sense to them. The reason is because they had learnt the sound (phoneme) of ‘a’ in cat as in apple, however the first ‘A’ in ‘A cat’ carried the sound as in the word around. I then told them that the letter ‘A’ represents 6 sounds and that was all it took to make them accept it and continue learning.

The point is that the teachers do not teach English the way it should be taught. Teach them the way they should be taught and you will reduce illiteracy drastically. Believe me I have done it and I am continuing doing it.

I do hope to get a response from you.
Thank you and kind regards,
Luqman Michel


Valrie said...


Their loss if they do not accomodate you!

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you but how about the multitude of dyslexics who are bombarded with statements like "Dyslexics have a phonological awareness deficit"?

"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it....".
Adolf Hitler
"A lie told often enough becomes truth" Vladimir Lenin.

"There's nothing so absurd that if you repeat it often enough, people will believe it."William James