Marian sent me this excellent article based on testimony to the President’s Council on Bioethics by Brock L. Eide and Fernette F. Eide, “The Mislabeled Child,” The New Atlantis, Number 12, Spring 2006, pp. 46-59.
The article is long, but I feel worth reading as it touches so many points on the diagnosis of learning problems. Since this was written in 2006, it seems the special needs culture has moved even further toward the scenario that concerns the Eides, that of mislabeling, of too many children being labeled either ADHD or on the Autism spectrum. Indeed, there are some who now discount any other diagnosis and say all special needs are simply a matter of placement on the spectrum.
The primary concern in the article is the standard for diagnosis being based on behavior and not root cause. The Eides favor a causal approach, finding many reasons for a child’s lack of focus in the classroom, such as reading difficulties, writing glitches, boredom, learning styles and more.
The authors propose that most problems in the classroom stem from either neurological dysfunction or teaching that is not suited to the child. It is particularly interesting to note the high rates of classroom problems where the Eides’ practice, a high-tech area outside Seattle where most of the parents are engineers and software developers. The children, often strongly visual and spatial, like their very successful parents, struggle with the verbal/auditory based teaching. Isn’t that interesting? It is if you’ve raised kids like that, and live with an engineer who wonders why he always hated school.
I will leave the rest of the article for your personal perusal, but I urge you to look at Drs. Eide’s websites Neurolearning, and Dyslexic Advantage, where you will find forums, their Facebook page and their blog
I hope to read The Mislabeled Child, and another of the Eides’ books, The Dyslexic Advantage, soon. The peek inside assures me they are easier to read than the article.