Magazine article The Spectator

Children with a Severe Case of the Excuses

Magazine article The Spectator

Children with a Severe Case of the Excuses

Article excerpt

There is a beautiful symmetry to all things, I think, and probably related somehow to the concept of karma.

Only two weeks ago, a bunch of researchers at Durham University came up with a report which insisted that dyslexia is a meaningless term. You and I know that, of course, but we dare not say so in public. For decades now dyslexia has been the crutch upon which middle-class parents support themselves when they discover that their children - Oliver, eight, and Poppy, ten - are actually denser than a ton of highly enriched uranium, contrary to their expectations. The fact that these kids cannot spell their own names is the consequence not of a magnificent, breathtaking stupidity, but is the result of a disease, or an affliction or an illness - something which does not reflect too badly upon the parents and which the state has a duty to combat and put right. 'Poppy is such a brilliant, intelligent child, ' they will tell you, 'it's just that when it comes to words, she is stricken with this terrible disorder.'

Nope. Afraid not. She's a dingbat who finds stuff like spelling 'cat' a bit on the taxing side; lower your expectations for the child. Given the appropriate parental support, she'll end up stacking shelves in Waitrose, rather than Aldi ('Remind me again, how do you spell hummus?'). Anyway, the team from Durham - that most middleclass of all universities, just to rub it in - suggested that the word 'dyslexia' be consigned to the history books. It is utterly meaningless. It is a pretentious word for 'thick'.

And then, this week, as if in the form of a riposte, an American neurologist stuck it to the working class. Dr Richard Saul, who has been investigating this area for many years, has come to the conclusion that ADHD is a meaningless term, too. Again, you and I both knew this instinctively, but even more so - even more than with dyslexia - we dare not say it. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is the other crutch, the crutch which has been supporting working-class parents when their offspring - Jayden, ten, and KayleighAnne, 12 - have stabbed several fellow pupils and two members of staff in their ghastly secondary school's teacher support unit, where they have been placed for being perpetually vile. 'Sorry about Latifah, she's got ADHD, ' has become a familiar mantra whenever Latifah has done something truly appalling: not any more, not now. Latifah is just an unpleasant, over-indulged, half-witted brat with a crap diet: sort it out, quickly.

Dr Saul believes the expensive and horrible drugs - such as Ritalin - with which these devil-monkeys are chemically restrained are more injurious than helpful. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.