“Long way to go” to help dyslexic learners


By Michael MacLeod

DYSLEXIA has almost doubled among Scots schoolchildren in two years.

The learning disability, suffered by Formula One legend Sir Jackie Stewart and rugby hero Kenny Logan, causes reading, writing and memory problems.

New figures show 1,098 girls and 3,071 boys are dyslexic – but charity Dyslexia Scotland say they fear there are even more unidentified cases.

The findings are almost double 2007’s total of 2875 and 2290 the previous year.

Cathy Magee, chief executive of Dyslexia Scotland, called for more specialist teachers in Scots schools to help identify those who need help sooner.

She said: “We welcome the fact people are becoming more knowledgeable about dyslexia and that, as a result, there is a greater willingness to talk about it.

“It is likely that this has led to the increased number being identified as dyslexic in schools.

“Although one in 10 people in Scotland is thought to be dyslexic, there is a long way to go towards identifying and then helping all dyslexic learners appropriately.”

The SNP promised £30 million of additional support for children with dyslexia and autism in their 2007 election manifesto.

But Labour claim they are failing Scotland’s youngsters.

Their education spokeswoman Rhona Brankin said: “Identifying children with dyslexia is one thing.

“Supporting them is another matter and one the SNP are failing.

“Tight council budgets triggered a decline in the number of support staff who are there to ensure that children with dyslexia and other learning needs get extra help in the classroom.”

But a Scottish Government spokesman claimed: “Changes to the recording of additional support needs were fully introduced for the 2008 statistics; therefore previous years cannot be compared on a like-for-like basis.”