Help for dyslexics comes too late

5th December 1997 at 00:00
The British Dyslexia Association recognises that many teachers try their best to support dyslexic children and greatly appreciates their efforts. We share the frustrations expressed in Esme Tackley's letter (TES, November 21), however.

It is often, sadly, the case that focused, specialist teaching is not provided without a statement. Children, therefore, fall further and further behind until they "qualify" for such help. This is the "catastrophic delay" referred to by the BDA.

The national BDA survey of local authority special educational needs policies was commissioned because of the increased number of calls to our helpline from parents whose schools said their authorities did not recognise dyslexia or that their child was not bad enough for extra help.

The justice system may eventually award damages when the education system has failed, but this must not be the way forward.

We feel that the answers lie in early identification and appropriate support in line with the Government's Green Paper and the special needs code. We have launched two early intervention initiatives that provide very practical ways of identifying and supporting children with dyslexia.

JEANETTE LYONS and CAROL ORTON

BDA policy team 99 London Road Reading Berkshire

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