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Elena Grigorenko ’96PhD:
dyslexia debate

The book's not even out yet, but The Dyslexia Debate is already stirring people up on both sides of the Atlantic.

"Dyslexia may not exist, warn academics," says the UK's Telegraph—a characterization echoed by Buzzfeed.

From Cambridge University Press's description of the book, it's unclear whether Julian Elliott of the University of Durham and Elena Grigorenko ’96PhD of the Yale Child Study Center actually say dyslexia "doesn't exist." But it is clear that the coauthors, both psychologists, challenge conventional views of the reading disability.

"While many believe that a diagnosis of dyslexia will shed light on a reader's struggles and help identify the best form of intervention," Elliott and Grigorenko "show that it adds little value," the publisher says. "In fact, our problematic interpretation of the term could prove to be a major disservice to many children with difficulties learning to read."

Elliott, a former teacher of children with learning disabilities, tells the Independent that “a term like dyslexia is extremely nebulous. We’re much better [off] having a profile of these particular skills [that children struggle with] and dealing with them directly.” 

Grigorenko studies both genetic and environmental roots of learning disabilities. A decade ago, the American Psychological Association gave her an award "for her distinguished and highly creative work investigating cognitive abilities and disabilities in children of different ages and in different cultures of the world."


The Yale Alumni Magazine is published by Yale Alumni Publications Inc., an alumni-based nonprofit that is not run by Yale University. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration.

Filed under dyslexia, Elena Grigorenko
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