dyslexia research


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Dyslexia Research


Dyslexia Researchby


Chichester New York Weinheim Brisbane Toronto Singapore

Copyright 2006

Whurr Publishers Limited (a subsidiary of John Wiley & Sons Ltd) The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 8SQ, England Telephone (+44) 1243 779777

Email (for orders and customer service enquiries): cs-books@wiley.co.uk Visit our Home Page on www.wiley.com All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning or otherwise, except under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 or under the terms of a licence issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency Ltd, 90 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 4LP, UK, without the permission in writing of the Publisher. Requests to the Publisher should be addressed to the Permissions Department, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 8SQ, England, or emailed to permreq@wiley.co.uk, or faxed to ( 44) 1243 770620. Designations used by companies to distinguish their products are often claimed as trademarks. All brand names and product names used in this book are trade names, service marks, trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. The Publisher is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this book. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold on the understanding that the Publisher is not engaged in rendering professional services. If professional advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. Other Wiley Editorial Ofces John Wiley & Sons Inc., 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030, USA Jossey-Bass, 989 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94103-1741, USA Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH, Boschstr. 12, D-69469 Weinheim, Germany John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd, 42 McDougall Street, Milton, Queensland 4064, Australia John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte Ltd, 2 Clementi Loop #02-01, Jin Xing Distripark, Singapore 129809 John Wiley & Sons Canada Ltd, 22 Worcester Road, Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada M9W 1L1 Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print may not be available in electronic books. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Miles, T. R. (Thomas Richard) Fifty years in dyslexia research / by T.R. Miles. p. ; cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN-13: 978-0-470-02747-9 (cloth : alk. paper) ISBN-10: 0-470-02747-9 (cloth : alk. paper) 1. Dyslexia. 2. DyslexiaHistory. I. Title. [DNLM: 1. Dyslexiahistory. 2. Dyslexiaclassication. 3. Dyslexiadiagnosis. 4. History, 20th Century. WL 340.6 M643f 2006] RC394.W6M56 2006 616.8553dc22 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN -13 978-0-470-02747-9 ISBN -10 0-470-02747-9 Typeset in 10/12 pt Times Roman by Thomson Press (India) Limited, New Delhi, India. Printed and bound in Great Britain by TJ International Ltd., Padstow, Cornwall. This book is printed on acid-free paper responsibly manufactured from sustainable forestry in which at least two trees are planted for each one used for paper production. 2006011411

ContentsForeword vii Preface ix Acknowledgements xi Conventions xiii

PART I: BEGINNINGS1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9


Brenda 3 Michael 12 Thoughts on Brenda and Michael 17 The Word-Blind Centre 28 A Service for the County of Gwynedd 32 First Steps Towards Quantication 37 The Bangor Dyslexia Test I 41 The Bangor Dyslexia Test II 47 Assessing Intelligence 52

PART II: THE STRUGGLE FOR RECOGNITION10 11 12 13 PRO and ANTI the Dyslexia Concept: A Dialogue 59 Concerns and Disputes I 63 Concerns and Disputes II 68 Legislation and Governmental Recognition 73


PART III: RESEARCH AND THEORY14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23


Further Quantication I 77 Further Quantication II 81 The Dyslexic Adult 92 Talking Things Over 100 Proposal for a Taxonomy of Dyslexia 106 The British Births Cohort Study I 110 The British Births Cohort Study II 116 Dyslexia Variants 126 Dyslexia and Dyscalculia: Are They Two Separate Syndromes? 138 Dyslexia as a Disjunctive Concept 141 143

References Index 149

ForewordIn this fascinating autobiographical account, Tim Miles leads us through the history of his involvement in the eld of dyslexia and in so doing completes an important part of the jigsaw of the history of dyslexia in Britain. Tim Miles is well known as a pioneer of dyslexia, and most would characterise his scholarship as straddling psychological and philosophical inquiry. Here we learn that Tims inspiration came from the careful study of individual cases; what unfolds is the development of an insightful theory of dyslexia that explains both empirical ndings and clinical observations. The thesis expounded in this book is that dyslexia is a syndrome it is not the same as poor reading but a disorder that encompasses a range of symptoms that include problems of verbal labelling, arithmetic difculties, verbal short-term-memory problems and subtle speech-production difculties. Miles is not reductionist; he has long believed that all of these signs provide clues as to the nature of dyslexia and he has been at pains to operationalise the denitioin of dyslexia through his widely known Bangor Dyslexia Test. Not satised with quantifying the syndrome in this way, he has tested his theory with reference to epidemiological data in the British Births Cohort Study, and it has stood up well. With his wife Elaine and colleagues in Bangor he has closed a virtuous circle, wherein theory has motivated teaching and diagnostic assessments of children and adults, and practical work has guided theory. In parallel with theoretical developments in the eld of dyslexia, Miles also witnessed changes in the views of the educational establishment with respect to children with specic reading difculties. His initial cases were patients referred to Child Guidance clinics, and the predominant view was that these children had emotional problems. But Miles was perplexed that psychodynamic theories could not account for the consistent patterns of reversals, subtle language difculties, problems of musical notation and extraordinary spelling problems that these children experienced. Rather, he thought that the problem was constitutional in origin, likely to be some form of developmental aphasia. But the world of education was not ready to accept this view and battles raged as to whether dyslexia should be considered a medical or an educational issue. Key landmarks in the struggle for recognition included Miles involvement in the establishment of the Word-Blind Centre in London in the 1960s, the inauguration of the British Dyslexia Association in 1972 and the establishment of the Dyslexia Unit in Bangor, which was to offer teaching to children in schools in north Wales in an important early partnership with the local education authority long before such alliances were the norm. There was also much going on behind the scenes; the establishment of the rst Masters degree in dyslexia at Bangor, to elevate the skills of practitioners of dyslexia, and meetings of proponents of



the different teaching methods used in the UK which conrmed that, for teaching people with dyslexia, the preferred teaching strategy was structured, cumulative, multisensory teaching. This compelling and accessible account takes us on an intriguing journey that follows the curiosity of one of the pioneers of dyslexia through fty years of scholarship. It does not shy away from difcult issues such as the role of IQ in the assessment of dyslexia, whether or not there are subtypes and whether dyscalculia should be considered a separate syndrome from dyslexia. Miles work presages much contemporary neuroscientic research on dyslexia. Importantly, current knowledge conrms that his clinical intuitions were right: dyslexia does have a genetic basis and is characterised by atypical brain function. It can be characterised as a syndrome in that a core phonological decit can explain a wide range of the signs and symptoms that are experienced by people with dyslexia, beyond reading and spelling. Moreover, there are also what Miles calls dyslexia variants people who show some but not all of the signs and whose difculties may not be sufcient to fully qualify for the label. Thus, in families of parents with dyslexia, offspring may share dyslexic characteristics but not all succumb to reading problems (referred to as the broader phenotype of dyslexia). Finally, and most importantly, inheriting the risk of dyslexia need not be a cause for despair; early identication and appropriate teaching can do a great deal to ameliorate dyslexia and give those who are dyslexic the opportunity to use their talents to the full. Margaret J. Snowling York September 2005

PrefaceIn the present book, as in its predecessor (Miles, 1993a), I have tried to maintain scientic rigour without over-burdening the main text with statistical technicalities. These are available for anyone who wishes to consult them, in the form of end-of-chapter notes. Since my intention was to describe my own involvement with dyslexia research, I have added at the end of some of the chapters some personal recollections. These mostly relate to my encounters with the many interesting individuals whom I met over the years, and my hope is that they will add to the books interest. I should like to thank Dr E. Simmons for providing me with the opportunity to teach Brenda and Michael and for giving me t


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