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GUEST,Al BS: Teachers on strike UK (103* d) RE: BS: Teachers on strike UK 14 Jan 09

An MP has claimed that the learning disorder dyslexia does not exist and is merely a "cruel fiction" to cover up poor teaching. Skip related content

Graham Stringer, MP for Blackley in Manchester, said it was "wicked" to label children as dyslexic because they were confused by bad teaching methods.

"The education establishment, rather than admit that their eclectic and incomplete methods for instruction are at fault, have invented a brain disorder called dyslexia," Stringer wrote in a column for the Manchester Confidential website.

"Dyslexia is a cruel fiction. The sooner it is consigned to the same dustbin of history, the better."

About 6 million people suffer from the condition, according to the charity Dyslexia Action.

It said that it was not the same as having reading problems and was a combination of difficulties that could also affect spelling, writing, maths or memory.

"Once again dyslexia seems to be making the headlines for all the wrong reasons," said Shirley Cramer, the charity's chief executive.

"It is frustrating that the focus should be on whether dyslexia exists or not, when there is so much evidence to support that it does."

Stringer said if dyslexia existed then countries such as Nicaragua and South Korea would not have nearly 100 percent literacy rates.

He said a scheme in Scotland's West Dunbartonshire area, which used to have a literacy problem among secondary school pupils, had eliminated illiteracy by teaching children to read using the synthetic phonics method.

"It is time that the dyslexia industry was killed off and we recognised that there are well known methods for teaching everybody to read and write," he said.

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