Dyslexia training for teachers needed, charity says

Child and pupil reading Parents of dyslexic children say teachers need more training and awareness of the condition

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Almost two thirds of parents of dyslexic children (61%) said their child had to wait a year for help after being diagnosed, a report suggests.

Of 450 parents surveyed for the charity Dyslexia Action, 90% said teachers lacked awareness of the condition.

The charity wants dyslexia training for all teachers and a national dyslexia and literacy strategy included in the government's special needs reforms.

The government said early support for dyslexic pupils was vital.

The report, Dyslexia Still Matters, says that despite one in 10 children having the condition, there is no requirement for teachers to have any training in how to identify dyslexia or support a dyslexic child.

More than half (56%) of the parents questioned by YouGov believed dyslexia was not given enough recognition within the education system.

The respondents wanted more specialists to help identify dyslexic children (82%), more specialist support for parents, teachers and children (92%) and a school environment that did not stigmatise their children for being different (57%).

Parents in some schools complained that their children's learning difficulties were not picked up early enough - and sometimes it was parents rather than teachers who raised the condition as a possibility.

Bullying

Half said there were times when their child did not want to go to school, while 47% said their child had been bullied about their condition.

Start Quote

We are making sure that families get clearer information about where to get further help if they need it”

End Quote Department for Education

The report also acknowledges that good, effective provision does exist in a wide range of schools where many children with dyslexia and literacy difficulties are able to thrive and succeed.

It says: "Teachers in some schools and specialist dyslexia centres are doing a fantastic job for children with dyslexia."

John Rack head of research, development and policy at Dyslexia Action said the government's planned reform of the special needs system presented a "not-to-be-missed opportunity" to make best practice in dyslexia support universal.

He said the reforms rightly focused on support for children with the most complex and severe special needs.

But he added: "The new system must also secure equally effective provision for children with high-incidence, lower severity needs."

"There are positive and affordable things that can be done now. So lets work together and put an end to the suffering and sense of failure that is still felt by too many children with dyslexic and literacy difficulties in our schools."

Getting help

A spokeswoman for Department for Education said: "It is vital that dyslexic pupils get the help they need and this report demonstrates this is already happening in many schools.

"Our reforms will build on the good work already being done by providing more training and support for teachers, special educational needs co-ordinators and teaching assistants so that dyslexic pupils are identified even earlier and get quicker access to the support they need.

"We are also making sure that families get clearer information about where to get further help if they need it.

"By ensuring that all schools are able to teach systematic phonics - shown to be effective for dyslexic pupils - we will help make sure more children get the best possible start in learning to read and write."

Paul Williams, chair of the National Association of Head Teachers special needs committee, said: "There needs to be a key person in each school to spearhead dyslexia support training for teachers.

"It's a condition that can generate frustration which can sometimes lead to behavioural difficulties and low self esteem in pupils.

"There needs to be more awareness of the condition in initial teacher training and a more co-ordinated approach in subsequent professional development."

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