Dyslexia And The Middle Classes

Next in point of time was the challenge, posed by the notion that, as mentioned in Chapter 12, dyslexia was a middle-class invention: middle-class parents were using this fashionable label as a cover for the fact that their children were not very bright. This was, of course, a sneer and was not intended as a piece of serious research. However, there were already data in the British Births Cohort Study on social class. The children had been classified according to their father's occupation in 1980 into the following groups:

• I and II Professional occupations

• III nm Non-manual skilled occupations

• III m Manual skilled occupations

• IV Partly skilled occupations

• V Unskilled occupations

In addition we ourselves had isolated a group which we believed contained a large number of dyslexics and a group of normal achievers for comparison. Data were available on 227 dyslexics and 5959 normal achievers. Table 20.3 shows the number and percentage of dyslexics and controls falling into the six different groups.

Table 20.3. Numbers and percentages of dyslexics and controls in each of the social groups

Dyslexics Controls

Table 20.3. Numbers and percentages of dyslexics and controls in each of the social groups

Dyslexics Controls

Social class

N

%

N

%

I

8

3.52

475

7.49

II

62

27.31

1662

27.89

III nm

22

9.69

601

10.09

III m

97

42.73

2424

40.68

IV

25

11.01

644

10.81

V

13

5.73

153

2.57

TOTAL

227

100

5959

100

Adapted from Miles et al. (1994)

Adapted from Miles et al. (1994)

When the numbers in groups I, II and III nm were pooled and compared with the pooled numbers in groups III m, IV and V, the difference was non-significant (note 20.2). It is plain from these figures that, whatever reason for the apparent slight excess of dyslexics in group V and the apparent shortfall in group I, the thesis that dyslexia is more common among the middle classes is clearly false.

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Adult Dyslexia

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