Still a long way to go for dyslexic people

24th April 2009 at 01:00

It is very upsetting for individuals who have dyslexic difficulties when unhelpful comments are made, such as those by Julian Elliott (TES Magazine April 3), doubting its legitimate diagnosis.

The British Dyslexia Association's national helpline (0845 251 9002) receives more than 20,000 calls a year from parents, teachers and adults with dyslexia. Although there are a variety of reasons why children may struggle with the early acquisition of written language skills, dyslexia is one of the key problem areas.

The BDA supports the early identification of children who have difficulty with the early acquisition of literacy skills. We also support the use of good "quality first" classroom teaching and multi-sensory intervention programmes for those children who require further assistance.

Dyslexic pupils tend to benefit from structured, phonics-based teaching, with explicit teaching of spelling and reading rules and patterns, backed up with memory anchors (for example, mnemonics, picture memory anchors and over-writing) to reinforce learning of common irregular words.

Dyslexia affects 10 per cent of the population (4 per cent severely), and increased identification is mainly due to raised awareness of this problem. Dyslexia is recognised by the UK government, education system, justice system and examination boards. However, there is still a long way to go before all dyslexic individuals are appropriately identified and helped.

Kate Saunders, education and policy director, British Dyslexia Association.

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