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January 1981

Dyslexia: An Appraisal of Current Knowledge

Author Affiliations

Neuropsychology Unit Department of Neurology The Churchill Hospital Headington Oxford OX3 7LJ England

Arch Neurol. 1981;38(1):71-72. doi:10.1001/archneur.1981.00510010097038

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Confronted with yet another publication on the subject of dyslexia, one's first impulse is to suggest a moratorium in this overpopulated field: a few years to assimilate, condense, and reject the turgid mass of assumption and received wisdom that has constituted such an effective barrier to progress. Further reflection reminds one of the need for an enterprise of the kind promised by the subtitle, "An Appraisal of Current Knowledge." In fact, this book represents a scholarly realization of that promise.

The first chapters dispose of the anecdotal approach to etiology and diagnosis: a sufficient cause has clearly not been isolated and even the necessary conditions are not definitively established. What of taxonomy? The work of Doehring has convincingly undermined the simple, single-syndrome paradigm. Mattis and his collaborators stressed the value of defining patterns of deficit, a hopeful approach. They described at least three subgroups of dyslexic children in terms of

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