Identification is the theme of Dyslexia Awareness Week 2016, which this year runs 3-7 October.
As Stephen Hall, Dyslexia Action’s Chief Executive, explains, identifying dyslexia often means a life-changing experience for those concerned.
It is so important to identify dyslexia as it helps children to understand why they are finding learning more difficult than their peers. This in turn can bolster their confidence and self-esteem. It is also extremely important for adults as it can help them access the right support they need in the workplace and in their daily lives. Dyslexia needs to be identified as early as possible as it can hinder a person’s learning and have negative, long-term social consequences, not only for the individual but also for society.
Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that affects auditory memory and processing speed which impacts on literacy development, mathematics, memory, organisation and sequencing skills to varying degrees. Dyslexia can occur at any level of intellectual development. It is biological in origin and is seen to run in families. It affects up to 10 per cent of the UK population at some level and can affect anyone of any age and background.
Along with slowness in learning to read, write and spell, other signs of dyslexia may include: continuing to make visual errors in reading, for example saying ‘was’ for ‘saw’ or ‘bad’ for ‘dad’; problems carrying out three instructions in sequence; spelling a word in several different ways; and struggling with mental arithmetic or learning times tables.
Dyslexia Action’s Director of Education Dr John Rack said:
There is much that can be done to remove or minimise the difficulties for those with dyslexia, but first there needs to be more emphasis on identifying dyslexia for children in schools and adults in the workplace.
The recent introduction of the Special Educational Needs and Disability reforms placed more responsibility on teachers for a child’s learning which is why Dyslexia Action is working with the Government by providing awareness training workshops for teachers on dyslexia.
Also, many employers still do not realise that they have a duty to recognise dyslexia under the Equality Act 2010, if it is assessed as being a disability which means employers need to provide a dyslexia-friendly workplace.
To help raise awareness, there are various activities and events being held in places throughout the country including shopping centres, libraries as well as large corporates and schools. Boutique cinema chain Everyman is screening Dyslexia Action’s animated films that depict what it’s like to have dyslexia, which will help build greater understanding and empathy of this learning difficulty among Everyman viewers.
Dyslexia Awareness Week is focusing on a different aspect of identification each day as follows:
Monday: Why it is important to identify dyslexia?
Tuesday: How is dyslexia identified?
Wednesday: How does dyslexia affect people differently?
Thursday: What help is at hand for those with dyslexia?
Friday: Why is the correct help important and how can we raise awareness together?
You can find more information on Dyslexia Action’s activities during the week, the signs of dyslexia, how to get the right help and support, and useful resources for parents, teachers and employers here.