Is our school system failing dyslexic students?

 I’m going to let you in on a secret. At school I hated reading. Not because I felt books were boring but because, to me, they were the very real monsters under the bed. Award-winning author Amber Lee Dodd writes in Teachwire

Early on in my education I was labelled a student with special needs. But what my special needs were, nobody was completely sure. Despite testing and teachers’ assessments, my dyslexia went undiagnosed.

By Y6 I started impressing my teachers with my creative writing. I was encouraged to read and write more stories.

My vocabulary improved, my confidence returned and my fears faded. I went into my English SATs with the ability to express what I thought, despite my inability to spell all the words or punctuate all the sentences perfectly.

Today, I work as a children’s author, I travel the country speaking at schools and teaching creative writing.

In short, dyslexia has given me all the skills to become an author. When I talk at schools, this is what I try to communicate. And I’ve had the privilege of meeting dyslexic students who are also using these talents to flourish, often under the guidance of specialist learning support.

But not all students are so lucky. Teachers and TAs are facing an uphill battle against far more stringent spelling and punctuation requirements for exams. These set up many dyslexic students, especially those who have not been diagnosed, to fail.

When I worked as a learning support assistant I saw first-hand the damage this does. It produces students without confidence, ambition or self-worth, as well as creating mental health problems and behavioural issues.

Then there’s the startling fact that that the highest percentage of young dyslexic adults in London are found at both Central St Martins Art College and the Young Offenders Institute. Many students with dyslexia are clearly being failed by our education system.

Today, I would be one of those students. I would have failed my SATs because I wouldn’t have met the current requirements for spelling and punctuation.

Read the full article Is our school system failing dyslexic students?

Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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  1. Judith Wilson

    You could have asked any teaching assistant this question at least fifteen years ago and received the correct answer.

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