Sketch 4 Edward

Edward was discovered in 1981 at the age of 14 when control data were being obtained for the Bangor Dyslexia Test. The usual safeguards were specified as to adequate intelligence and opportunity, and in the case of this particular age group it had been decided to accept as controls all those who had spelled 72 or more words correctly on the Schonell S1 spelling test (Schonell and Schonell, 1952). This corresponds to a spelling age of just over 12. (It had been decided that anyone whose spelling was at this level could not be regarded as having any significant dyslexic problems.) Edward spelled 79 words correctly and was therefore included among the controls. Yet his responses on the tables item in the Bangor Dyslexia Test were quite clearly those of a dyslexic: both a medical doctor with considerable experience of dyslexia who was also present and I were agreed on this, and we particularly noticed how other control children at the school could rattle off their tables without the least hesitation.

In view of what I had observed, I spoke to Edward's headmaster, and it was agreed that he should come to Bangor for further assessment. He read 84 out of 100 words correctly on the Schonell word recognition test, which in view of the norms suggested no problems with the reading of single words. However, his mother told me that he had been late in learning to read and still found reading aloud difficult. He was also a slow writer; he had difficulty in learning German words and occasionally read car registration numbers the wrong way round. There was then the chance to give him the Bangor Dyslexia Test in full, not just the seven items used with the control group. His tally of positive indicators came to six: there were 'pluses' on Polysyllables, Tables, Months Reversed, Digits Forwards and Digits Reversed, while there were 'zeros' on the Left-Right and Subtraction items. I found no positive evidence that anyone else in his family was dyslexic.

If one went simply by Edward's reading and spelling scores at the age of 14, there would be no grounds for suspecting dyslexia. However, the cumulative evidence seems to me to leave no doubt that he was dyslexic. If this is right, it is further evidence that cases can be found of individuals who are dyslexic but do not have any significant literacy problems.

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