Recently, the term ‘Dyslexia’ has been removed from the new DSM 5, which is anticipated in May 2013. I hope this statement leaves you asking three questions:

  1. What is the DSM 5?
    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is published by the American Psychiatric Association and is the official list of mental disorders and their code numbers. It sets up the official diagnostic criterion for research, diagnosis, and insurance payments. In theory, the diagnostic and statistical manual is supposed to be based on research and represent our latest and best knowledge. However, historically, this process has, at times, been very political.
  2. Why is this a problem?
    First of all, excluding the term "Dyslexia" flies in the face of 25 years of the finest research in education and psychology. Dozens of research studies have demonstrated that: Dyslexia exists, it occurs all over the world, it has very specific symptoms, it can be reliably identified before the first grade, and the diagnosis of dyslexia implies specific treatments which have been proven to be effective. Dyslexia is also a term that is now part of the federal law, IDEA. Equally important, dyslexia is the term that is used internationally both clinically and in research. The World Health Organization has adopted it for their diagnostic and statistical manual. Finally, exclusion of the term "Dyslexia" may interfere with its acceptance and understanding with diverse professionals and limit new research.
  3. What can I do about it?
    Historically, the concept that a neurological difference could cause reading problems has offended many people. This has made the term and concept of dyslexia unpopular. However, science is not a popularity contest! I, therefore, I ask you to join with me and submit your comments before June 15, 2012.

I thank you for your help.

Be well and make a bit of noise,

Dr. Michael Ryan




Michael Ryan, Ph.D.