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A discussion of "The Dyslexia Debate"

4 August 2015, Macquarie University


This one-day symposium on the book "The Dyslexia Debate" is open to the public and will be particularly relevant for reading researchers, clinicians concerned with reading, teachers involved with reading instruction and anyone concerned about reading difficulties and their remediation.

The event will begin with an opening summary by one of the authors, followed by commentaries on the book by various people who have read the book and who are experts on learning to read and its difficulties.


Entry is free and open to the public. Please register by 29 July 2015.


The conference was held in Room 1.200 (Lecture Theatre) at the Australian Hearing Hub at Macquarie University, Sydney NSW, Australia.

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  • 10:00 - Introduction and Welcome
  • 10:15 - Joe Elliott: Overview of his book
  • 11:15 - Morning tea
  • 11:45 - Commentary: Mandy Nayton
  • 12:15 - Commentary: Jennifer Buckingham
  • 12:45 - Lunch break
  • 2:00 - Commentary: Tom Nicholson
  • 2:30 - Commentary: Anne Castles
  • 3:00 - Afternoon tea
  • 3:30 - Joe's responses and discussion
  • 4:30 - Event ends


  • Professor Julian Elliott, co-author of The Dyslexia Debate, Principal of Collingwood College
    Professor of Education, Durham University, UK
  • Mandy Nayton, Executive Officer of The Dyslexia-SPELD Foundation, President of AUSPELD, Research Fellow of Curtin University's School of Psychology and Speech Pathology
  • Dr Jennifer Buckingham, Research Fellow in the Social Foundations program at the Centre for Independent Studies
  • Professor Tom Nicholson, Professor of Literacy Education, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Massey University, Auckland
  • Distinguished Professor Anne Castles, Reading Program Leader of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD), Macquarie University


Emeritus Professor Max Coltheart, Chief Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders (CCD), Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University

"The Dyslexia Debate" summary

The Dyslexia Debate examines how we use the term "dyslexia" and questions its efficacy as a diagnosis. While many believe that a diagnosis of dyslexia will shed light on a reader's struggles and help identify the best form of intervention, Julian Elliott and Elena Grigorenko show that it adds little value. In fact, our problematic interpretation of the term could prove to be a major disservice to many children with difficulties learning to read. This book outlines in detail the diverse ways in which reading problems have been conceptualized and operationalized. Elliott and Grigorenko consider the latest research in cognitive science, genetics, and neuroscience, and the limitations of these fields in terms of professional action. They then provide a more helpful, scientifically rigorous way to describe the various types of reading difficulties and discuss empirically supported forms of intervention.


Monica Brockmyre

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