Neurodevelopmental disorders: syndromes or part of normal variation?

Posted by er134 at May 03, 2013 02:18 PM |
Psychology expert to discuss problems in ‘medicalising’ in University of Leicester public lecture on Thursday 9 May

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 3 May 2013

The implications of using medical terminology to describe children’s neurodevelopmental disorders will be examined at the University of Leicester’s Annual Sluckin Lecture for the School of Psychology.

Professor Dorothy Bishop, from the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford will deliver her lecture, Development dyslexia and other neurodevelopmental disorders: syndromes or part of normal variation? on Thursday 9 May.

The lecture will focus on two of these disorders: specific language impairment (aka 'developmental dysphasia') and 'developmental dyslexia'. These conditions are diagnosed when there is a selective impairment in acquisition of language or literacy in the absence of obvious causal factors.

This approach has, however, been criticised by those who see it as medicalising normal variation in children's abilities, and drawing false distinctions between those with selective deficits and others with more general developmental difficulties.

Professor Bishop said: “A term such as ‘developmental dyslexia’ gets a child’s problems taken far more seriously than a label such as ‘reading difficulties’.

“The key issue is whether these conditions have distinct behavioural features or specific aetiologies. I shall conclude that there is little evidence for these. However, this does not mean that children's language and literacy difficulties are unreal or should be ignored.”

Professor Andrew Colman of the University of Leicester School of Psychology said: “Dorothy Bishop is an outstanding researcher, and an entertaining and informative speaker. The topic of her lecture should provoke a great deal of discussion. It will be of interest not only to academics and health professionals, but also parents and those with experience of developmental disorders.”

Development dyslexia and other neurodevelopmental disorders: syndromes or part of normal variation? will be held in Frank and Katherine May Lecture Theatre, Henry Wellcome Building on Thursday 9 May, 4.30-5.30pm. It is free and open to all.

For more information or to confirm attendance contact Maria-Anna Tseliou on tel: 0116 229 7197, email: or click here



For more information contact Professor Colman on tel: 0116 229 7197 or email:

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