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Being dyslexic

There are many theories of dyslexia, one proposing that there are two types, one proposing that there are seven types. And to anyone who says that there is one more type or one less, it is said that whatever evidence they have, it doesn’t count because their methodology is wrong, or they don’t correctly understand the original claim. And so on. But there is little interest in what it feels like to be dyslexic or having any other sort of communication disorder.

I once went to a four day international conference on dyslexia, hoping to hear the latest research over a wide range. It is of couorse well known that there are many significant co-morbidities. But none of the co-morbities mentioned by the speakers had anything with any of the core topics of speech and language. At the poster session when the 200 odd delegates wdere mixing freely someone came up to me and said, “You know, there is an elephant in the room.” I said, “What’s that?” He said. “Linguistics,” But there was at least one other elephant – the experience of being dyslexic. At the public closing session, a member of the public pointed this out in what seemed to me a very moving and thoughtul way.

I am sure tnat there must be many sorts of dyslexic experience, perhaps as many as there are dyslexics. So the claim “I (or we) know what it’s like to be dyslexic” is either absurd or offensive – or both.