Understanding dyslexia
Understanding dyslexia

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Understanding dyslexia

1.2.3 Cultural approaches to normality

What is normal in terms of the simple act of waiting for a bus? In the UK it is expected that people will organise themselves into a queue, so those who have waited the longest can board the bus first. However, this is not true of all cultures. Yet, if someone from a culture that does not queue were waiting for a bus in Manchester and did not wait her turn, she would be chastised for it. So, another approach might be to define as ‘abnormal’ any behaviour that contravenes social norms, values or expectations.

Using a cultural approach, what is defined as ‘abnormal’ will depend on expectations and standards of the society, and thus on political and economic as well as social factors. The criteria used may differ between societies, over time within the same society, and between groups within the same society.

One thing to consider is whether a ‘deficit’ or ‘abnormality’ is defined as such by context. For example ‘deficits’ in one area may be linked to ‘abnormal’ strengths in another. We shall consider this in more detail in relation to dyslexia later in the course. Another issue is whether what is considered ‘normal’ should then also be considered as ‘natural’. Human behaviour is complex and is determined by interactions between a variety of influences, internal and external. Consequently, the idea that some behaviours are ‘natural’ because they are determined in some part by our physiology, is not a satisfactory justification on its own for considering them ‘normal’.

DSE212_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has nearly 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus