Most parents are probably aware of the cuts that the government continues to make to funding across all services, education being among them. The most noticeable effects of these will be felt across Special Educational Needs.
Many teachers and parents now feel that there is a serious crisis confronting those children who may need extra help.
In fact, one group of parents have launched legal proceedings against the government who they believe are putting councils in the position of being unable to fulfil their obligations to these children.
Among those Special Educational Needs is the issue of Dyslexia.
Dyslexia is the name given to a particular set of difficulties some children have in grasping the skills needed for the reading process. It is often a huge disadvantage in school where all learning is based so heavily on being able to read fluently and where the inability to do so often results in a child being labelled inaccurately as ‘lazy’ or ‘slow’ despite their obvious intelligence.
When children fail to progress in their reading at the same rate as their contemporaries, show other symptoms such as difficulty remembering words, difficulty with writing, react anxiously to both, reverse letters, fail to comprehend print easily, find it difficult to understand or sequence numbers and letters, yet in other ways appear to be intelligent, Dyslexia can sometimes be the cause. It occurs on a spectrum and it is often those who are less severely inhibited who remain invisible.
Add onto that the judgemental attitude of some towards those who do not read easily and the problem for the learner can be exacerbated.
The British Dyslexia Association (BDA) offer support and advice to those parents who suspect their child might be Dyslexic. And in order to highlight Dyslexia and the often hidden difficulties associated with it they also run a campaign called Dyslexia Awareness Week.
A recent programme on the BBC by Richard Macer about himself and his Dyslexic son and how Dyslexia affects their lives and learning illustrated the difficulties perfectly. It also demonstrated the challenges Dyslexics face within the system. With cuts to specialist help in schools these may worsen and parents could be forced to stand the cost of any additional support their child may need.
On a more positive note, after investigating the idea that Dyslexics may have special gifts which many professionals would argue against, towards the end of the programme the presenter met with a researcher who believed that Dyslexia is an important part of our human evolution in that it brings diversity to our species, necessary for our perpetuation.
So perhaps we need Dyslexics for that very reason and should see them in a different light, rather than judge them through the context of schooling.
Judging Dyslexics through the lens of school attainment only raises a challenging question; how much does Dyslexia matter outside the system?
Interestingly, many parents who choose to home educate do so in order to approach their so-called Dyslexic child’s education in ways that make it matter less.
Obviously this isn’t the answer for most. But a look round some of the organisations for Dyslexia (links below) may help you find ways to support your child if cuts to funding neglect to do so.