A Warwickshire businessman who set up an institute to 'cure' dyslexia after his own daughter tried to commit suicide because of the condition has refuted claims by an academic that it does not exist.
Wynford Dore, who set up the Dore treatment centre in Kenilworth in 2000, said 90 per cent of people that went there for help with dyslexia were found to be suffering from impaired brain development.
Professor Julian Elliott sparked outrage when he claimed in the Times Educational Supplement that poor readers wanted to be called dyslexic because of a "widespread but wrong perception that dyslexics are generally intellectually bright".
He said experts had failed to agree what dyslexia was and being diagnosed as dyslexic made virtually no difference to the treatment that the individual required.
Mr Dore said academic arguments over what constituted dyslexia smacked of "Nero's fiddling while Rome burned".
He added: "What everybody knows is that some people can't read. Let's not put our energy into saying what it is. While people were arguing about that my daughter attempted suicide three times.
"Her reading was poor, so was her memory and she couldn't do her tables. She withdrew from the world.
"What we found was that there is a very real way of identifying the root cause.
"Sometimes people are born with a low IQ and can't learn the skills, but very often it is a neurological condition which we describe as cerebellar development delay.
"The chances of this neurological condition are high if the child is bright in other ways."
Prof Elliot, who teaches at Durham University, there was no sound, widely accepted body of scientific work which showed there existed "any particular teaching approach more appropriate for 'dyslexic' children than other poor readers."
Mr Dore described the work of his eight UK institutes as exercises rather than a teaching approach. But he said 90 per cent of children identified with having an underlying neurological problem and treated at his centres went away with their condition improved.
"There's now a much better way of understanding what is causing these problems and measuring them," said Mr Dore.
For the past three years he has been working with Sheffield University to develop screening tests online for teachers to use in the classroom.
"Teaching methods help 85 per cent of pupils with reading problems but these tests can identify it is a neurological condition rather than low IQ," he said.