Tackling dyslexia in prisons

13th July 2001 at 01:00
The article by Kay Smith ("Help urged for jail dyslexics," TESS, June 22) contains errors of fact that merit correction.

The Scottish Dyslexia Association receives core funding from the Scottish Executive and has been working closely with, and advising, the education services in the Scottish Prison Service for three years. We believe that the appropriate Ministers are well aware of the work that we have been doing with the SPS.

The Scottish Dyslexia Forum, which holds meetings where people talk about dyslexia, is funded by the Scottish Dyslexia Trust, which manages funds raised partly by members of the Scottish Dyslexia Association.

In January 1999, we asked the Scottish Dyslexia Trust for funds to enable us to continue our work with the Scottish Prison Service but, for whatever reason, the funds were not forthcoming.

Fortunately, we obtained funds from elsewhere and continue to develop materials and approaches to tackle dyslexia within prisons.

It is very sad that the Trust and its Forum should now be wrongly criticising the prison service for taking no action in connection with dyslexic prisoners, when this is clearly not true.

Kay Smith writes that it was claimed that "prison management has so far refused to tackle a problem which could have its roots in schools". One must ask why the Scottish Dyslexia Trust and its Forum are not concentrating their efforts on resolving the problem at school before children or young persons become offenders. Prevention is better than cure and it was, after all, primarily for this purpose that the Dyslexia Trust Fund was originally raised.

Elizabeth Reilly Chairman Scottish Dyslexia Association

Stirling Business Centre



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