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SPECIFIC READING DISABILITY —STREPHOSYMBOLIA

Percy H. Fridenberg, M.D.
JAMA. 1928;90(20):1649-1650. doi:10.1001/jama.1928.02690470055031.
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ABSTRACT

To the Editor:  —Having read with much interest the article by Dr. Samuel T. Orton (The Journal, April 7, p. 1095) entitled as above, and finding, throughout, the evidence of careful psychologic study as well as of shrewd clinical insight, I am the more surprised at one or two examples of what, to me at least, appear as instances of faulty logic, medical as well as dialectic. Thus, as to the general assumption that defective readers are generally also mentally defective, we note the following: "Very often the logic of this explanation forms a typical vicious circle. The child is said to be feebleminded because he cannot learn to read, and his inability to learn to read is said to be because he is feebleminded" [italics, mine]. Surely, here is a dialectic straw man—erected quite unintentionally I am willing to believe—which Dr. Orton then upsets. The fallacy or catch is

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