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Dennis Baron's go-to site for language and technology in the news

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  • Written Language Disorder: Medical researchers fear there's no cure for bad writing

Comments May 14, 2009 12:18 pm

Your article on Written Language Disorder is informative and entertaining, but an April 1st publication date might have been more appropriate.  If the pharmaceutical companies ever find out about this new disorder, it may very well spark an explosion of research and publication on potential (and profitable) chemical solutions.

Reply to at 12:18 pm May 18, 2009 10:49 am

There is truly an excuse for everything, isn't there?  I teach expository writing at the college level and I teach the process  without accepting excuses.  And guess what?  My students learn!  Almost all of them do better and better as the semester progresses.  If we start teaching to this new 'disablity,' then the results will be no better than we expect, will they?  However, if students don't know they can't learn, they seem to learn very well!

Reply to at 10:49 am Mar 5, 2011 12:13 pm

Disorder of Written Expression is very real and very painful for those who suffer with it. My 16 year old son has been diagnosed with it and presented with classic symptoms. It has nothing to do with being smart or an ability to learn. Think of it like this: the information is learned and stored in the brain but the path to get this information out onto paper via the arm and a pencil is blocked; the path from the brain through the mouth is not blocked. I can only speak from my experience with my son but when asked to present in verbal form in the classroom, he produces A work, give him a pencil and paper (severe dysgraphia)and ask him to express that same information and he falls apart. How can he focus on content when he is using vast amounts of energy and time in forming letters?Thankfully there is assistive technology like Dragon and other programs where students can use a headset and speak and have the computer type it for them.Some folks need glasses, some need wheelchairs, some need technology. We wouldn't dream of asking someone who wears glasses to remove them for test taking, or grade someone in a wheelchair on their ability to play basketball as a component of their grade. Children who suffer with Disorder of Written Expression must be allowed to show what they have learned in the manner that suits them. Anything less than that is archaic and does a disservice to the child.

Reply to at 12:13 pm