The DVS person was thinking about how libraries can help people with dyslexia because she found the following information on the Moreland website:
Of course this information is well-intended, but it’s not well-informed.
You can add space between letters in a word processor to achieve this without having to buy a special font. Here’s where to click in MS Word to do it:
If you’re writing something for a struggling reader, or setting them up to type on a computer, it’s probably a good idea to do this.
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Opthamologists has made some very strong and clear statements about vision therapy, coloured overlays and other eye-related treatments for learning difficulties.
“Reviews of the literature have consistently shown a lack of good evidence to support vision therapies, such as those offered by behavioural optometrists, for the treatment of learning disabilities such as dyslexia.
“Using these expensive, ineffective and controversial treatments may delay a child from receiving the appropriate evidence-based educational remedies. Evidence shows that the earlier the intervention with the appropriate remedial programs, the more effective they are in improving reading outcomes. The use of ineffective interventions may also waste the limited financial resources of the family as well as giving them a false sense of security that the child’s reading difficulties are being addressed.
It is important, therefore, that parents understand that dyslexia and other learning disabilities are not disorders of vision and so, visual therapy is misdirected. Scientific evidence shows that behavioural optometry treatments such as eye tracking exercises, vision therapy, weak glasses to relax the focus, and coloured lenses/overlays do not help children read any better.
Eye care professionals such as ophthalmologists and optometrists are not qualified to diagnose or treat learning disabilities. However, children with learning difficulties will usually have both their hearing and vision assessed because listening and seeing are the first steps in information processing for the purpose of learning. The role of optometrists and ophthalmologists is therefore to diagnose and treat any treatable vision problems that may be contributing to any difficulties at school.”
You can read the RANZCO position statement on Irlen Syndrome here.
In summary, it says Irlen Syndrome is not a Thing:
Politely correcting the public record
In a sec I’m going to email Moreland library, ccing to the Moreland Councillors I know, congratulating them on having some decodable books, asking them to buy more, and asking them to please correct/update the dyslexia information on their website.
Librarians are great, and want to provide correct information, so I’m pretty sure they’ll do it.
I’d hereby like to propose a game of spotto to the readers of this blog. When you spot incorrect or unhelpful information about dyslexia/learning to read/spell in the public domain, please ask politely that it be corrected, then write about it in the comments below. Encourage others to speak up for the sake of truth and beauty, despite the risk of being told to MYOB.
If we all give information based on scientific evidence to well-meaning people inadvertently promoting ineffective and cost-ineffective interventions, I’m pretty sure they’ll mostly stop.
Following up with a suggestion of how they can assist/promote effective, cost-effective intervention could also make quite a difference for struggling readers/spellers.
Focus on people inadvertently promoting things that don’t work, and think carefully before putting anything in writing about those making money promoting things that don’t work. I know some extremely nice, helpful and skilled defamation lawyers, but you probably don’t want to get to know them too.
I look forward to hearing that lots of people all over the place are doing their bit to help correct and improve information in the public domain.