First Thoughts – from 2010 – about tracking and reading problems

The Guardian published a leader about dyslexia on 26th. February, 2010.

The leader writer suggested that Finns and the Italians, whose languages are almost entirely phonetic, never suffer from dyslexia.

Apparently this is wrong – there are children with reading problems in both countries and you can translate the word dyslexia into both these languages.

But I wrote in to draw attention to other problems, tracking disorders, which are just as incapacitating as dyslexia but much less well known. These are some of the things I said:

Youngsters, especially young males, can suffer very severely from a little known eye problem which is often confused with dyslexia. It makes reading and conventional spelling almost impossible.

This disability, not too strong a word, is called a tracking disorder and an eye specialist tells me that around 20% of British children (most often boys) are afflicted with it to some extent. After years of intensive treatment and with a lot of special help, a young man whom I tried to help still struggled to read fluently out loud.

He probably only really reads two letters in every five and guesses the others because his eyes won’t ‘fixate’ accurately as they traverse a line of text.

Americans seem to know all about tracking problems and so do some Australians and Canadians. But there are very few British people (even amongst teachers and opticians) who have any idea of the problem and how to deal with it. It is a small problem, not normally indicated by conventional eye tests, which can cause huge educational problems. It can incapacitate children in a very serious way.

If you know children who struggle with reading for no apparent reason, do not assume that dyslexia (or the hopelessly chaotic ‘rules’ of British spelling) are the only possible causes.

Inadequate tracking may be another important issue.

Tracking problems are what this web-site was about, to begin with.

I hope it can help, if you have or know children who suffer in this way.



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2 Responses to First Thoughts – from 2010 – about tracking and reading problems

  1. Cortney says:

    Verry nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog annd wanted too say that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.
    In any case I will be subscribing to ylur feed and I hope you write abain very soon!

    • Greetings, Cortney and thanks for your generous comment – I am not currently adding to this blog because it covers the ground and will, I hope, help the parents of youngsters who find reading and spelling difficult or impossible; if I can help in any way, please let me know. Best wishes, J.

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