[AAACE-NLA] Genetic vs. developed "LDs"
HKerr at aol.com
HKerr at aol.com
Fri May 21 16:34:55 EDT 2010
You ask three questions. I would like to offer answers as follows:
1. When would you say LD is genetic, such that no imaginable intervention
will produce results?
We should be sceptical, or at the very least careful. (It’s a moral duty.)
To attribute something to ‘the genes’ is to say something very definite,
very powerful. We should be absolutely, utterly sure of our facts first,
because a ‘genetic’ deficit is an innate, and permanent one. Such a ‘
diagnosis’, or attribution, is deeply negative and profoundly disheartening. It is
maladaptive. It tends absolutely to imply that ‘no imaginable intervention
will produce results’.
And the fact is that (if we are talking about dyslexia) the condition
itself, and its genetic basis, remain controversial. A much fuller, and better,
exposition of these ideas is in chapter eight of my online book on the
website below. Genetics is a fearsomely complicated area, very new and very
fluid, and we are often guilty of very casual use of its apparent results.
Findings are very much open to abuse. The ‘dyslexia literature’ often makes
wild claims on small and shaky evidence.
2. Does it really matter?
Yes. Lack of scepticism (or gullibility) always does, but maladaptive
attributions do too, very much. A ‘diagnosis’ of a ‘disability’ is a
maladaptive attribution if not based on truth. It will, if accepted, have a large
(and rather obvious) effect on affect, and poor or negative affect very
powerfully influence learning and performance, IMO.
3. Is the distinction meaningful or useful?
Yes, and no. A ‘diagnosis’ takes our eyes off the ball. It is too
convenient. We end up blaming the victim, or at any rate the victim’s nervous
system. We oversimplify and reduce. Fragment a holistic complexity into
simplistic parts. There are so many reasons for poor literacy, and for ‘odd’
behaviours around literacy. People, and their histories, are so complicated. If
we opt for ‘diagnosis’ of a simple ‘deficit’ early on, we will probably
get a positive result and then we will stop looking for alternative
explanations. If we don’t look, we won’t see them. The ‘diagnosis’ will greatly
impoverish, or absolutely block, our observation and our thinking, bypass
our common sense. So the distinction you pose has a meaning, but it is not
useful, indeed it can be positively (but rather subtly) harmful.
at: _http://www.hugokerr.info_ (http://www.hugokerr.info/)
"We're here to help each other get through this thing - whatever it might
be." (Kurt Vonnegut)
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