https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7

Dear staff: This one change can boost retention for 10% of Duolingo's learners

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Dear Duolingo,

My mother and best friend are both dyslexic and it has greatly frustrated their learning. I believe it contributed to why my friend opted out of attending university.

Duolingo is a leader in language education. It sets examples that other educators are watching. 10% of Duolingo learners have dyslexia. This is yet another opportunity for Duolingo to shine above the curve. Offer learners the ability to select alternative fonts and you'll make learning more accessible. (With the Health feature in mind, alternative fonts could boost retention.)

A little information about dyslexia and fonts:

Around 10% of the people have dyslexia, a neurological disability that impairs a person’s ability to read and write. There is evidence that the presentation of the text has a significant effect on a text’s accessibility for people with dyslexia. However, to the best of our knowledge, there are no experiments that objectively measure the impact of the font type on reading performance. In this paper, we present the first experiment that uses eye-tracking to measure the effect of font type on reading speed. Using a within-subject design, 48 subjects with dyslexia read 12 texts with 12 different fonts. Sans serif, monospaced and roman font styles significantly improved the reading performance over serif, proportional and italic fonts. On the basis of our results, we present a set of more accessible fonts for people with dyslexia.

Most of the recommendations come from associations for people with dyslexia and they agree in using sans-serif fonts. The British Dyslexia Association recommends to use Arial, Comic Sans or, as alternatives to these, Verdana, Tahoma, Century Gothic, and Trebuchet [2].

Source.

We can't bring language education to the world if 10% are driven away by the font. While education programs in my own country are being cut, Duolingo has the opportunity to set an international example of care and good sense.

Thank you for reading and considering. :)

Edit: Yes, Duolingo does use one of the recommended fonts. The reason we are still getting concerned comments is because one font does not work for everyone, which is why there is more than one font for dyslexics. It is why I am asking for an additional option. :)

1 year ago

35 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
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From my own research, sans-serif fonts are usually best for websites, projections on screens, and other backlit text. Serif fonts are generally preferred for printed material.

Duolingo uses a sans-serif font but it is very difficult to tell i from í and I've seen many complaints about this. Allowing users to choose their fonts and their screen color (the pale gray on white is difficult for many people to distinguish) should be a fairly easy code change. And, as you say, it could potentially help retention quite a bit.

Good idea!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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Sienna backgrounds seem to be the gentlest on my eyes. That would be so great! At the very least though, more accommodating fonts would go a long way. I've read comments from other learners here with dyslexia who the font is not working for. I'm hoping Duolingo would offer at least two proven alternatives.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KateVinee
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Accessibility is an important issue, Usagi, and thank you for bringing it up!

In case it helps anybody who's reading this thread: someone has made a (Chrome) browser extension called Duolexia that replaces the default font with a monotype font. http://duolingo.wikia.com/wiki/Duolingo_Browser_Extensions

It doesn't do what Usagi is asking for, unfortunately--that is, offer several different font options--and I don't know how well it works on the new site, but it might be useful for some people.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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I believe the old userscripts no longer work with the new coding. Hopefully, folks will update the scripts so we can use them again. Thank you for mentioning that one!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wataya
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You are aware of the fact that you can replace the site's css with your own and change the font to your liking? That's not to say that turning it into an "official" feature as you suggested would be a bad idea...

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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That is cool to know. Hopefully though, there will be a better solution for Duolingo's dyslexic learners. I hadn't even considered replacing the CSS as an option. I imagine it is the same for some of them. For those of us with compound difficulties it might not even be an option.

For instance, I'm not dyslexic, but due to a brain injury, following and reproducing a string of numbers with a calculator and getting the same number twice can take me 3-5 tries and that is no guarantee that the number I've gotten twice is the right one. So, I tend to shy away from things that ask me to work with strings of numbers.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wataya
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I agree that an "official" solution would be better. But replacing the css really is not difficult at all. E.g. if you have the stylish extension installed, defining

p{ font-family: arial !important; }

for duolingo.com is already enough to have all the paragraphs in discussions displayed in the Arial font. If you have troubles with reading other fonts, that's a pretty huge return on your time investment :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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Thank you!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike
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All duolingo's fonts are sans-serif anyway (so, according to information you have posted, DL should already be optimised for dyslexics). There are many free browser add-ons that allow anyone to change the font of any website easily.
Not to say that this is a bad suggestion, but I think it very unlikely to be carried out considering DL's brand-consciousness.

Personally, I find sans-serif fonts for East Asian scripts more difficult to read (and the uniform line thickness gives fewer clues to stroke-order, potentially making it more difficult for learners to look up characters in a dictionary).

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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You've pointed out some of why I'd like Duolingo to offer more than one font option. Additionally, some fonts work better for some people with dyslexia than others.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Deyan161
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I'd love to see Duo offering a choice of fonts. Apart from dyslexia, am I alone in wishing the lessons came in a blacker type? I find the present pale letters cause eye strain if I try and do too many skills in a session (this includes revising). A small selection of fonts would be a good idea. (Not all users are tech-savvy enough to change their css).

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/psionpete
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It is not just the font which is significant, background colour can be important. Many dyslexia sufferers use coloured acetates to help see the words, my grandson had special coloured lenses made for his glasses to help his dyslexia. There is even special software you can purchase that enables selection of fonts and text / backgrounds to be selected when using other applications like browsers etc.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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I wonder if it is a combination of Dyslexia and Skotopic Sensitivity? (The latter of which I do have). In university, they ran a series of tests to figure out the extent my brain injury was causing difficulties and it revealed that bit along the way. I sometimes used a yellow overlay and yellow paper, which helped. I was so harassed by one of my teachers, however, that I stopped requesting the accommodation. He was later fired for harassing disabled students. But it was such a stressful ordeal that I didn't request the accommodation again.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/psionpete
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My wife, two children and four grandchildren have all been diagnosed with dyslexia and everyone has slightly different symptoms. My wife thought she was stupid until it was diagnosed and even now, where schools are more aware of the condition there are still many teachers who refuse to accept it is a medical condition and don't give the support they need and deserve.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sirhalos

Your friend can learn Chinese whenever it is released. There is no dyslexia in China, since it uses a different part of the brain to read characters.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/garpike
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It is true that different parts of the brain are used, although the Chinese can still suffer from completely forgetting how to write something.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/KristenDQ
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This Dyslexic teacher also suggests being able to choose the color of the font. Studies have shown that it is easier for us Dyslexics to read when we see certain color fonts.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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Thank you for sharing that insight. Hopefully, folks will vote your comment to the top! :)

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elvper
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Dyslexia = 90% nonsense. (note: my reply is about dyslexia, not your suggestion)

First of all, research has found that children diagnosed with dyslexia ... suddenly get even a lot worse at spelling and reading. Why? Because it gives them an excuse. Making errors suddenly becomes something that they don't ("have to") try to correct anymore, because "it's because of my dyslexia". Making spelling mistakes while learning a foreign language? The excuse "yeah, it's because I'm dyslectic" is given and that's the end of the matter. While those who qualify to be considered dyslectic but didn't get diagnosed with it, often at least try instead of immediately grasping for the "but I'm dyslectic" excuse, when they make spelling errors they'll at least put "some" effort into trying to learn / memorize the correct spelling.

Next to that there's also plenty of research showing at least a part of all cases of dyslexia are a result of dietary reasons (shortages of some nutritious elements - or should I call it the fast food syndrome?). Another absolute taboo that explains some "dyslexia" cases is simply low intelligence, there are no rich kids with low intelligence but there are a whole lot of dyslectic rich kids xD. (money increases your intelligence by a lot obviously and sadly also makes you dyslectic, right? :P)

I'm constantly making all sorts of spelling and grammatical errors, even in my native language. I could easily get a "dyslexia" diagnosis but I absolutely refuse to do so. As I just don't care about spelling and grammar, I care about the message itself and about efficiency: get the message out ASAP. If I make some spelling and grammatical errors on the way, who cares? A message doesn't become less true or meaningful when it contains spelling mistakes, it might just be a tiny bit harder to read.

Thus I'm not really dyslexic, just like the upper part of people who get diagnosed with it. Dyslexia is just a stupid excuse. Even those who really are dyslectic shouldn't constantly use it as an excuse. It's just like those people who instantly say "I can't do math" when they see numbers without even trying. When you don't try you're obviously guaranteed to fail. And the more you fall back to excuses instead of trying and exercising the more errors you'll make!

Personally I find it extremely cringy when: You've got 2 people: person A and person B. Person B is diagnosed with dyslexia. Ok, so person A trains his writing in French for 2 hours each time there's a test. Person B doesn't do this. On the test person A obviously will score better. When confronted with his poor results person B says "yeah it's because I'm dyslectic". And don't you dare to do anything but to accept that statement or you get a death stare and potentially more drama. I absolutely detest people like that who just throw an excuse and expect you to accept it while they're not really even trying in reality. (just to point it out: I'm not complaining about people who do try - I appreciate effort. Lots of respect to those who still try their best despite being dyslectic. I'm simply against those who use dyslexia as a license for not trying and evading criticism.)

I can tell you one thing with absolute certitude: the amount of people who really are dyslectic is NOT 10%.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JasonMey
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Let's say you're right, and most people with dyslexia just use it as an excuse...

Your excuse for failing to master English is "I just don't care." But people who have been diagnosed with dyslexia don't have the right to do the same as you because they can use their diagnosis as the excuse. Unless I'm missing something, that is the central point of your post.

In what universe is "I just don't care" an acceptable excuse, but a recognized medical condition is not? If you really don't care about learning your own language, why do you care if others don't either?

You are a willfully ignorant hypocrite who is attempting to make up for his own failings by claiming that others have less of a right to be failures than himself.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elvper
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I have mastered English. Making spelling and grammar mistakes =/= not having mastered a language. As I said I also make these same mistakes in my native language. It's not because of not knowing the correct spelling (which I do know). Neither do I get anything wrong in my head, I get it wrong on paper / on screen (typed).

There a big difference between getting things wrong because of not knowing and things getting lost in the transcription process. Your brain processes tons of information each second, many times more than any computer is capable of. But typing and writing are extreme bottlenecks. You can easily create 10 pages of thoughts in your head in the same time as you're able to write down 1 page. Thus while you're typing a sentence you're actually already thinking about the next one(s).

This gives you to option to slow down your thoughts to focus on what you're writing and to also actively check for errors. Or you've got the option to allow your thoughts to dwell, which will automatically cause an increase in involuntary mistakes as you're not thinking about nor paying attention to what you're writing. I.e. this last sentence I typed "will causes" (instead of causes / will cause) as I was already thinking about other things.

In what universe is "I just don't care" an acceptable excuse

That's the point. I don't try to get a freaking pathetic "oh boohoohoo I've got dyslexia" as excuse for my mistakes. It's because I'm lazy and because I don't care! At least I'm being honest with both my myself and others.

but a recognized medical condition is not

I've made the clear distinction between people who don't actually have dyslexia - really do have dyslexia and use it excuse for everything without trying - really are dyslectic but do try. Which you've just chosen to completely ignore.

You are a willfully ignorant hypocrite who is attempting to make up for his own failings by claiming that others have less of a right to be failures than himself.

Hilarious. I've repeated the point of me not using the "dyslectic" excuse but being honest about the reason versus people who (ab)use as excuse. So that should be clear now.

But I knew a reaction like yours would come. People don't believe in reality but they believe in what they want to believe. It's a losing game to make the point I'm making since people will simply never accept it, without it mattering whether I'm right or not. It's not even a question between right or wrong, it's a matter of to what extent what I said is true. The extremely ignorant thing is to just say "you're wrong. (dot, end)", which you basically just did. Real discussion about subjects like these are extremely rare. Mainly because people focus on "proving" you wrong because they want you to be wrong, instead of investigating and creating an actual argument focused on some point. I.e. "study X suggests only 20% of dyslexia diagnoses are incorrect".

It's not even like I'm the only one making this point. Some scientists and doctors do too. There are also plenty of doctors who have admitted to (anonymously or post retirement) purposely making false diagnoses to please parents or a patient. Not even to mention that a fear of reading and / or non-dyslexia related spelling errors relatively easily gets you a diagnosis of dyslexia.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/5120280/Thousands-of-children-wrongly-diagnosed-with-dyslexia.html

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JasonMey
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Your "distinction" is a farce. It is a way for you to cherry pick and say "Oh, no, some other case could be dyslexia, but this other person here is obviously faking." Are you a doctor? Psychologist? If not, you have no business judging another's diagnosis.

And don't pretend that your insults are an attempt to have a rational discussion. If you wish to have a legitimate discussion about dyslexia, its nature, and whether it is over-diagnosed, then make a comment about that. Don't use it as a platform for ignorance and then claim enlightenment.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elvper
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Tomorrow I'll give you a further reply on your last response. I still have to wrap something up today, which doesn't allow me to get too distracted for the time being.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elvper
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some of your criteria is untestable

My criteria can get simplified to “provable” versus “not provable”. All the exclusions I made should / are likely to result in brain scans not showing the same markers as those that are expected to be found in people with (real) dyslexia. 3 options: the brain scan doesn’t show any issues, the brain scan shows the markers of dyslexia, the brain scan shows a different cause.

Can we move to a definition that is supported by some other institution?

In the sense of this subject I find this a rather bothersome thing to do. While the way I fenced off dyslexia was evidence based: I don’t care to what further depth you’d want to define it within the scope of “a cognitive disorder that stems from disturbances in language and/or visual processing” (which still is a rather wide scope that covers a multitude of causes). I do have a problem with definitions that are based on the symptoms rather than the cause.

The problem with many “definitions” is that they are characterized by one of the following issues:

  • They stem from a time where dyslexia was impossible to prove dyslexia in an objective way. As science progresses and a better understanding of the phenomenon is gained, there’s resistance (just like with most change). This includes people who wouldn’t legally / officially be considered “dyslectic” anymore, who then protest and take action to “force” old rules to stay in place or for the new rules to get expanded to include more.

  • They’re mainly just descriptive (is often related to the previous point). A lot of dyslexia is “proven” by a post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy, as if symptoms prove the cause. It’s dyslexia -> causes reading and / or writing problems, not writing or reading problems -> dyslexia. A definition that describes the manifestations of something doesn’t mean that anything that fits that description is because of / is equal to whatever the definition is about.

  • Based on practical or other non-relevant or even artificial classifications. For example by an institute within a certain country as a way to make available aid for people suffering from other disorders / issues that elsewise aren’t covered by law. (even “worse” than descriptive definitions)

Most general definitions are just "difficulty reading given normal intelligence."

Which is one I reject to the highest of extends. First off, it’s extremely discriminatory and it would simply be absurd to claim that people with high or low intelligence cannot have artifacts in their brain. It’s like saying very healthy or people in poor general health cannot have cancer.

"Dyslexia is a brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person's ability to read. These individuals typically read at levels significantly lower than expected despite having normal intelligence. Although the disorder varies from person to person, common characteristics among people with dyslexia are difficulty with phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds), spelling, and/or rapid visual-verbal responding."

Which is extremely broad. Only the first sentence is even useable. The 2nd part: “typically” (= doesn’t actually exclude anything). “Characteristics”: relates to effect rather than cause. Thus it essentially defines it by "Dyslexia is a brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person's ability to read”. Even though I like that this one at least contains “brain-based” (instead of “based on absolutely nothing … blablabla … reading or writing poorly”). But brain-based is so extremely broad that it technically includes low intelligence, anxiety, laziness, essentially everything since all writing and reading is done using that thing in your skull. Such a broad definition is to be expected from the NIH (and similar organizations). It gives me no ground to agree on since it doesn’t really exclude anything. Even many scientific papers, especially the ones that focus on identifying causes (i.e. by genome or brain scans) don’t actually define dyslexia in order to avoid their findings getting covered in a smokescreen of a discussion about what dyslexia is or is not.

there have been multiple studies showing that the brains of those with dyslexia function differently

Yup exactly and therefor it’s possible to objectively separate people who really are dyslectic from the rest. But (at least where I live) dyslexia isn’t at all diagnosed based on things like brain scans. They only make you take a reading and spelling test: fail it and congratulations, you’ve got an official dyslexia certificate! You’re now free to go make the life of teachers hell, get extra free points on about any exam, be allowed to fail several classes and still pass on to the next year, sue teachers when they fail you, etc… Alternative explanations do not even get tested, at all and for those with ulterior motives: faking it is obviously ridiculously easy.

The Netherlands: more than 12% of students are given the diagnosis of dyslexia. Even when claiming that 10% of all people have dyslexia, that 12% is actually a bigger deal than on its face value. Not everybody who has dyslexia will seek to get diagnosed. Once privileges are given to those “officially” diagnosed with it, suddenly the amount of people with dyslexia magically explodes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3079378/ - This paper states: "Studies of brain structure in dyslexia, whether through the small number of postmortem studies or structural imaging studies, have implicated a variety of regions of the brain and cerebellum." The CBS (a Dutch governmental entity) even released numbers indicating that 11% of all 11 years olds is diagnosed with dyslexia, which suggest the number of older students is even a lot higher than 12%. 3rd graph: https://www.cbs.nl/nl-nl/nieuws/2016/40/lichte-toename-kinderen-met-dyslexie

I didn’t read it completely but it builds upon 40-50 year old research (relevancy) and refers to “inclusionary criteria”. As to be expected from a foundation from a time where dyslexia wasn’t objectively provable in any way, the research is focused on the causes of symptoms, there for a variety of regions of the brain is to be expected and is rather a reflection of natural ability (wide variety of factors affecting one’s ability to read and write among other things).

malingering is able to be identified with standard tests.

“standard tests”, region dependent. To take the Netherlands as example again, the test simply is a reading and spelling test. Overall a large part of the takers of the test are “officially” diagnosed (hence how more than 12% of all students…).

So students can fake some aspects of the disease, but other aspects are not easily reproduced.

But in reality (outside of scientific research) isn’t as much checked for (might also be country dependent again). To again take the Netherlands as example: it’s commonly and easily faked as students receive extra time on exams and college discounts among other advantages. Plenty of people have tested the system while faking and successfully obtained a diagnosis. Even though no recent data is available, older data suggests more than half of those "requesting" dyslexia certificates also receive them. To prevent fraud people need to get a declaration of 2 people, both not even qualified to do so. A psychologist and a dean. The dean being no issue at all and the psychologist being not much of an issue either. It's even possible to get cleared within a single day.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elvper
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by saying that they don't have a right to use that as an excuse,

With the emphasis on "as excuse for not trying" (but still also as an excuse in general).

define the term "dyslexia"

I see "real" dyslexia as having trouble to read and write without:

  • Dietary reasons as cause (I.e. zinc deficiency, unhealthy food / too much sugar, other deficits of certain nutritious elements or the consumption of certain food additives).

  • Alternative explanations as cause

a fear of reading

b no care for spelling

c a poor memory

d low intelligence

e other similar explanations

  • The problems not being caused by a lack of effort (be it because of hating school or anything else)

  • Malingering (pretending to gain a benefit)

  • Any type of reinforcement (degraded spelling and reading because of knowing or thinking they suffer from a reading disorder / dyslexia / ... which can turn into a vicious circle: the though of having dyslexia - making more errors - reinforces the thought of having dyslexia - more errors etc. Or by external impuls.) There's a better term for this but I couldn't think of it. You could roughly call it an echo chamber within your own head caused by yourself or from an external source (or a combination of both). Hysteria: developing symptoms just by the thought that you might have the disorder.

  • Errors originating from the transcription process (no errors in your brain but because of other reasons like not focusing your thoughts on what you're writing but on further words / sentences / other subjects)

Thus the only cause I accept being a non-psychological, cognitive disorder that stems from disrupted language and/or visual processing in the brain and therefore should be provable by brain scans.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JasonMey
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Alright. Can we move to a definition that is supported by some other institution? The issue of defining dyslexia is already a hard topic and it will be hard to find sources about your particular definition when it is not one that is widely accepted. Additionally, some of your criteria is untestable (what test is there to prove "not caring about spelling" or "fear of reading?")

Most general definitions are just "difficulty reading given normal intelligence." To be more specific, I'd recommend we use the US National Institutes of Health definition: "Dyslexia is a brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person's ability to read. These individuals typically read at levels significantly lower than expected despite having normal intelligence. Although the disorder varies from person to person, common characteristics among people with dyslexia are difficulty with phonological processing (the manipulation of sounds), spelling, and/or rapid visual-verbal responding." From https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/All-Disorders/Dyslexia-Information-Page

However, if you have a different, standard definition in mind, we can discuss it.

In the mean time, to address your concern of brain scans, there have been multiple studies showing that the brains of those with dyslexia function differently: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2617739/ - In difficult tests, children with dyslexia showed less activity in certain regions of the brain compared to those without dyslexia.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3079378/ - This paper states: "Studies of brain structure in dyslexia, whether through the small number of postmortem studies or structural imaging studies, have implicated a variety of regions of the brain and cerebellum."

http://psycnet.apa.org/?fa=main.doiLandingdoi=10.1037/0894-4105.17.4.610 - This study found a difference between children with and without dyslexia relating to listening, suggesting that there is not only a neurological difference, but that the difference relates more generally to how our brains understand language, and not simply relating to reading specifically.

And the National Institutes of Health states that "Dyslexia can be inherited in some families, and recent studies have identified a number of genes that may predispose an individual to developing dyslexia." The fact that there can be a genetic predisposal to the disorder limits the odds of the disorder simply being some sort of placebo effect. This is also mentioned in the second paper I linked above. Specifically stating: "At this point, there are nine regions of the genome and six candidate genes under active investigation..."

To address your malingering concern directly. Several studies have been done on the matter, and find that malingering is able to be identified with standard tests.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21184348 - The abstract states "Analyses revealed accurate simulation on most achievement measures but inaccurate feigning on neurolinguistic processing measures, speed on timed tasks, and error quantity." So students can fake some aspects of the disease, but other aspects are not easily reproduced and so they are caught when subjected to more comprehensive tests.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elvper
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Yeah I'm totally the one cherry picking and not you, who purposely choose to ignore some things to make it better fit into your predetermined conclusion of me being wrong.

So, me not being a doctor means I can't read scientific studies nor other evidence? Not even to mention that you're basically shooting yourself in your own foot. You try to invalidate my point by saying that I'm not a doctor but you probably aren't either, so if not being a doctor disqualifies my arguments why wouldn't they disqualify yours?

your insults

What insult did I make to you? xD You're not acting rational but emotional, you really want me to be wrong thus you think I'm wrong. While you haven't even supplied a single relevant argument so far. You've only made statements that relate to me instead of to the actual point(s) of: "dyslexia is often misdiagnosed" and "dyslexia is often used as excuse for not trying".

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JasonMey
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Alright, fine. Let's have a debate. For starters, we'll need to define the term "dyslexia" since it varies from place to place. Since you've been making the claims thus-far about the nature of dyslexia, you can give your definition so that I understand how to take your previous comments.

As for insults, I was referring to the insults you are making to people who have dyslexia, by saying that they don't have a right to use that as an excuse, apparently even if they legitimately have the disorder. I think that is uncalled for and insulting.

As for my points, the reason I wasn't making points about dyslexia is because I was talking about you. However, if you want to actually debate this, I'm game. Let's talk dyslexia. But first, I need to know what you mean by "dyslexia."

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/psionpete
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Maybe you don't have dyslexia. Maybe you are just stupid.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Usagiboy7
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My mother wasn't diagnosed until she was an adult.

It's more like Person A training for 2 hours and Person B training for 4 hours while person A still gets the higher score...

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elvper
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People simply learn at different speeds. Which is based on a whole lot of things, just to name a few important ones:

  • Interest in the subject

  • Getting distracted

  • A poor training method of the student

  • The material you're learning using a bad teaching method

  • The person's natural ability to either learn faster through an auditory versus a visual learning style.

  • The ability to memorize things

  • The person's intelligence (an extreme taboo to talk about and few people who are below average intelligence are willing to accept it)

I myself have gotten a college degree without even studying since I was extremely hateful of school (there's no English word for it as far as I'm aware). The only "studying" I ever did was the night before an exam quickly panic summarizing everything. I only managed this because I'm fairly smart (yeah, I know, how dare I say this! Insta-cringe!). While there was this girl, a really nice person, who always studied extremely hard and puts tons of effort into it but who still failed most classes. Humans simply aren't all equal, we each have things we're good at and things we're bad at.

You don't get diagnosed with a certain disorder for being good at something, but when it's about being bad at something it seems like not enough disorders can get invented. Even freaking introversion sometimes gets called "mild autism", as if everybody "must" be social or else they're suffering from some kind of disorder. All the tags and labels that exist these days for all sorts of "disorders" is absolutely absurd. Getting a label of "autistic", "ADHD", "dyslectic" etc is more and more becoming the norm rather than the exception, as if almost everybody is suffering from some kind of disorder. Seriously, I invite you to look up and sum up the parts of the population who get diagnosed with "ADHD", "autism", "dyslexia" and other disorders. You'll frown: guaranteed. Then you'll also start to wonder "is this real?". ADHD is another one of those disorders that is 90% BS (i.e. more than half of the cases can be explained by the diet of those diagnosed with it....). Autism is "mostly real" as in, most cases can't be refuted (however, the current tendency is heading towards including "stronger" degrees of introversion as a mild form of autism).

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JasonMey
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Well, I'm assuming you either deleted your reply or it was downvoted so much, so quickly that Duolingo automatically removed it. Thankfully, it was e-mailed to me, so I can respond. I won't be posting all of it, and frankly, it wouldn't help your argument if I did.

You didn't actually present any evidence in favor of your position; you simply complained that society is catering to those who claim to have dyslexia. This is only a problem if those who make the claim don't have dyslexia, but you didn't provide any evidence that they don't. All you did was claim that standard tests can't prove dyslexia, when I cited an academic paper that shows that they can. I'm not going to take your word over peer reviewed evidence, so find me something more concrete.

I will address two lines of your post:

The problem with many “definitions” is that they are characterized by one of the following issues...

Defining terms in a debate isn't about fixing existing definitions. It is about deciding on what we are going to be talking about. If you are unwilling to choose any established definition of dyslexia, I don't see how we can even discuss it. Any facts and figures presented will be worthless as they won't relate to your definition. Even the government report you presented isn't using your definition, so why did you bother posting it? It isn't talking about what you defined dyslexia to be. It is based on self-reported evidence, which you clearly don't think is valid.

If I don't accept your definition we'll be talking past each other. If I do accept it, we won't be able to find any evidence of anything. So how can we even have a debate? Pick a standard definition. If you don't like the NIH one, then you can pick the more internaional ICD-10 F81.0 definition. Or the one given by the Interntional Dyslexia Association. Or you can use a common dictionary's definition like Merrium-Webster. I'll even accept the Wikipedia article's opening paragraph if you must! All I want is something objective that others may actually reference when writing papers about dyslexia, or a definition based on those used in academic journals. Your definition is not going to be used that way, so nothing either of us find will actually be about what you are defining as dyslexia.

The rest of your message reads as a rant, but a particularly telling line is: But brain-based is so extremely broad that it technically includes low intelligence, anxiety, laziness, essentially everything since all writing and reading is done using that thing in your skull.

You are ignoring the rest of the definition. It specifically states that those with dyslexia have "normal intelligence." So no, the definition does not include "low intelligence." This is what I meant by you cherry picking. You are ignoring facts and figures that don't agree with your own ideas. The fact that you refuse to pick ANY standard definition makes me highly skeptical that it is even possible to reason with you. And only shows me that I was correct in thinking you were not interested in a real debate. However, I'll let you try again.

Give me evidence. Show me that you are capable of finding some objective facts that back up what you are saying. You may be right, but you can't just say you are. Prove it. Back it up with something objective.

And please, pick an objective definition so we can actually debate the prevelance of dyslexia and not just how it is defined. You shouldn't need your own, private, subjective definition in order to debate me.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/elvper
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If you wonder why I didn't reply any further: I've got access to the paper through my university. You completely misstated it's findings, not even to mention the validity of the research. Whether you purposely misstated it's findings or if you simply didn't know any better doesn't matter, it kills your complete argument.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JasonMey
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I'm guessing you're referring to this paper (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21184348). In what way did I misrepresent the findings? The abstract makes it clear that malingering can be detected when comprehensive evaluations are given. Another line is: "Simulators accurately feigned dyslexia profiles on cut-score and discrepancy diagnostic models but not on the more complex aspects of the clinical judgment model." That seems pretty clear.

Additionally, no, it would not kill my complete argument. Firstly, the debate hasn't even begun; we haven't agreed upon definitions. It might sound like I'm beating a dead horse, but it's vital to a debate. As far as we know, when I'm talking about dyslexia, I'm referring to something totally different from you and vice versa. That's why we agree upon definitions. And the reason I want a standard definition is because sources cited will be using a standard definition. I don't think that is unreasonable. If you believe it is, please explain why.

If you insist on your definition, I have many questions. I'll just start with your sub-point A - What is a "fear of reading?" How is it measured? Couldn't having dyslexia lead to a fear of reading? If so, how can a person who originally had dyslexia, but now has a fear of reading and so no longer tries, be differentiated from someone who never had dyslexia? I could go on for each sub-point if you need me to, but I think the easiest thing to do is to pick a better definition.

But, even if we were debating, then at best, assuming the study actually supports your view, it would undermine that one portion of my argument. It would not address my other points. My argument as a whole can stand up without that one study. And, once the debate began, I would obviously cite more. Here's another study putting forth a method for detecting malingering. It is available without university access: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0887617799000141

The abstract states: "Comparisons of groups revealed more commission and omission errors in the suspected malingerers relative to all groups except the right stroke patients. In addition, suspected malingerers took longer to complete the task than all groups except right and left stroke patients and normal elderly."

The study's hypothesis: "It was hypothesized that malingerers would make more errors of commission (especially involving foils that were the reversed or upside down image of the target), more errors of omission, and take longer to complete the task than the comparison groups."

The study's conclusion: "In conclusion, the data from this preliminary study suggest that the b Test seems to be an effective addition to the current complement of cognitive malingering tests. Additional research is needed to cross validate these preliminary findings in independent populations."

Now, perhaps you are not claiming that there is no way to detect malingering. If that is the case, then what is your claim about it? Are you simply claiming that malingering is not looked into enough? If that is the case, then is your argument simply that schools and universities need to use better assessments?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/staplesnout
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You are so right!

1 year ago
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