Protopapas & Parilla (2019): Dyslexia: Still Not a Neurodevelopmental Disorder
I: Brain Sciences, Online first, Open Access
Athanassios Protopapas & Rauno Parilla.
We recently pointed out that there is no evidence to support the commonly held view that there is something wrong with the brains of children who have great difficulty learning to read. In response, it was argued that dyslexia should be considered to be a neurodevelopmental disorder because of its potential to adversely affect quality of life, and because there are differences between the brains of people with different levels of reading skill. We agree with these two points, but they are irrelevant to the issue in question, because neither establishes the critical notion of disrupted neurodevelopment; that is, a brain fault. Differences between groups do not imply that any individuals are abnormal, and calling a brain improperly developed on the basis of cultural issues has absurd implications. Even calling brains atypical is unfounded because reference to typicality hinges on knowledge of the relevant distributions, which is currently lacking. Moreover, there is at present no obvious role for neurology- or neuroscience-based input for the critical issue of the assessment and remediation of the reading difficulties themselves. We reiterate our conclusion that there is, at the moment, no credible foundation to support the claim that dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental disorder.