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Last Updated: Friday, 24 September, 2004, 09:24 GMT 10:24 UK
Light turned on 'hidden' dyslexia
students in lecture room
Learning difficulties often go undiagnosed
Universities are joining forces with charities to help people with dyslexia get the most out of higher education.

A new project aims to highlight "hidden" learning disabilities among students, such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia.

The University of Westminster is working with the British Dyslexia Association, other universities and organisations on the 478,000 scheme.

Too many learning difficulties go unnoticed, experts say.

Katherine Hewlett, from the university, said: "We're aiming to raise awareness in target schools because we're finding at university that students have come through the educational system without having their disability assessed.

"It's estimated that around 70% of disabled students in higher education have a specific learning difficulty that can affect their academic progression and career opportunities.

"In a wider sense, the project will also serve to raise awareness of the issues surrounding widening participation in higher education for disabled students."


Susan Tresman, of the British Dyslexia Association, said: "The project aims to show a wide range of higher education practitioners that they all have a responsibility towards students with specific learning difficulties, both to help them reach their potential and under disability discrimination laws.

"What is particularly exciting about this project is that it brings higher education and the voluntary sector together in a way that is both novel and powerful."

The project will initially target London and the English Midlands then be rolled out on a wider scale.

The organisers say it is expected to inform the national debate on disability and help schools, colleges and universities comply with the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001.

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