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Tuesday, September 7, 1999 Published at 00:06 GMT 01:06 UK


State schools 'failing dyslexics'

The survey shows that many parents feel let down by state schools

The state education system is failing children with dyslexia, according to a new survey.

A report by the Dyslexia Institute says more than six out of 10 parents of dyslexic pupils do not think their children get enough support from local education authority schools.

However, around the same proportion of parents of dyslexic children in independent schools said they were satisfied that their children's' needs were being met.

There is also further evidence of a genetic connection to the condition, with the discovery of another 'dyslexia gene'. This supports earlier evidence of families having a genetic predisposition to dyslexia.

'Problem ignored'

The Dyslexia Institute, which says state provision for dyslexics is "woefully inadequate", offers its own assessment and teaching services and support for teacher training.

For the survey, the institute questioned 756 parents of dyslexic children with whom it is working.

[ image: The report says some teachers are unsympathetic towards dyslexic pupils]
The report says some teachers are unsympathetic towards dyslexic pupils
It says the results showed that a large majority of schools do not understand the problems of dyslexia, and that in many cases teachers are unsympathetic, negative, and tend to ignore the problem - particularly in LEA schools.

From the parents' responses, it calculated that less than 12% of dyslexic children in state schools received extra help from their class teacher.

The institute said the survey also showed that less than a third of parents felt that teachers supported the work the institute was doing with their children.

Liz Brooks, the institute's director, said: "Our poll clearly shows that, in spite of the government's push on literacy, the state education system is still sadly lacking when it comes to recognising and helping children with dyslexia."

New gene discovered

A new gene for dyslexia has been discovered by an international team of scientists.

Researchers based in Norway, Belgium and the USA have located the gene on one of the 23 pairs of chromosomes that everyone inherits from their parents.

The research, published on Tuesday in the Journal of Medical Genetics, follows the confirmation last year of a different dyslexia gene by scientists in the UK and the USA.

The new gene was located after a battery of tests was carried out on a large Norwegian family in whom dyslexia was common.

It is thought that its discovery could have wider-ranging implications than the previous discovery, which was made after tests were carried out on siblings.

One of the team of scientists which made the discovery, Dr Toril Fagerheim, of the department of medical genetics at the University Hospital of Tromsoe in Norway, said it was possible that the discovery of the gene could help lead to a genetic test that could detect dyslexia early in life.

This could lead to corrective treatment on young children, when their brains were more flexible and they were able to learn new skills more easily.

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