Paul Flynn MP has just blogged about a pretty depressing draft final report [PDF] for the Welsh Assembly, on Support for People with Dyslexia in Wales. As Flynn argues, while there is a lot that’s positive in the Report, the Assembly “is headed down a couple of blind alleys on Dyslexia.” In particular, Flynn notes that:
The Assembly report says, “”All the different types of support that
demonstrated to them had clearly identifiable benefits.” This has not been shown to be the case: for example, Dore and Brain Gym both lack a plausible mechanism of action and any good research to show effects beyond placebo.
The draft Report recommends funding research into these various modalities, even arguing (p. 26) that
If the circumstances for the Dore Programme change and they are able to resume services to new clients, the Dore Programme should be included in the research project
While good quality research on such interventions has its place, given the blind alleys that some of the Report is speeding towards I would worry that such research could end up landing the Assembly – and the broader Welsh populace – with something like the fiasco of the Durham fish oil (non)trial.
Wales has a real opportunity here to lead the UK in its treatment of and provisions for dyslexia: for example, the Report recommends having a teacher trained to specialise in dyslexia in every school. However, the Welsh Assembly could also lead Wales down costly and wasteful blind alleys: imposing numerous dubious interventions on Welsh dyslexics while making little genuine progress. I hope that they do take the opportunity to make significant changes to this draft report.