dyslexia-medical-schoolIn an important article published in the AMA Journal of Ethics, physicians call for mandatory dyslexia training for medical school faculty.

The article presents the case of a 1st year dyslexic medical student who excelled in college and in clinical research, but who is conflicted about whether to disclose his dyslexia to faculty and fellow classmates because of his concerns that it would negatively impact his “education, performance, and reputation.”

The writers comment:

“Given the scientific progress in understanding the epidemiology, cognitive basis, and neurobiology of dyslexia, it is surprising that ignorance of the condition persists; such ignorance continues to result in faculty misperceptions of dyslexia. For example, the very common and physiologically based symptom of slow reading in dyslexia can be misinterpreted as slow thinking; a resulting need for additional time on tests can then be misperceived as trying to game the system. Over time, accumulating misperceptions create a negative, though false, image that can marginalize and bring harm to the medical student with dyslexia, the medical school, and the medical school’s faculty.”

The review addresses the both the issue of effortful reading and somewhat slowed word retrieval:

“It is also well established that, when speaking, the person with dyslexia has difficulties in word retrieval—that is, the problem is not in conceptualizing what he or she wants to say but in the act of retrieving the specific words he or she intends to say”  and laments that “Unfortunately, in our experience, many physicians are not aware of scientific progress in dyslexia and know little about the condition. This, despite the fact that many extraordinarily accomplished physicians have—and are open about having—dyslexia, including Delos “Toby” Cosgrove, cardiac surgeon and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic; Beryl Benacerraf, professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School and international authority on prenatal ultrasonography; Karen Santucci, professor of pediatrics at Yale Medical School and chief of the pediatric emergency department [17]; and Stuart C. Yudofsky, Distinguished Service Professor and chairman, Menninger Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences…at Baylor.”

The paper concludes that it is essential not only that all physicians become familiar with dyslexia, but that the medical culture be changed so that faculty physicians could be more supportive of students with dyslexia (N.B. from the current author – this need for training should extend to every workplace).

“In a perfect world, a student who has dyslexia should not have any conflict or concern about sharing that he or she has dyslexia and, with it, requires certain accommodations.”

Read the entire article below:


Download HERE.