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It is very upsetting for individuals with dyslexic difficulties when unhelpful comments are made doubting the condition's legitimate diagnosis. The British Dyslexia Association's (BDA) helpline receives more than 20,000 calls a year from concerned 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 association supports the early identification of children who have difficulty with the early acquisition of literacy skills. It also supports 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 (eg, 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.

- BDA helpline: 0845 251 9002

Dr Kate Saunders, Education and policy director, British Dyslexia Association.

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