5 January 2009
Dyslexia is a disability that cannot be seen. It mainly affects the development of literacy skills such as reading, writing and spelling.
The word "dyslexia" comes from the Greek and means "difficulty with words". As well as affecting reading and writing it can also affect people's short-term memory, mathematical ability and organisational skills. The severity of the dyslexia can vary and can cause problems with learning and in everyday life.
The first diagnosis of developmental dyslexia mentioned in any publication appeared in The British Medical Journal, 7 November 1896. Dyslexia constitutes a Special Educational Need as defined by the 1993 Education Act having been first recognised by Parliament in the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970.
Dyslexia tends to run in families, it affects about 10% of the UK population. Dyslexia is not related to intelligence, race or social background. Studies suggest that, in dyslexic people, the connections between the different language areas in the brain do not work as efficiently as they should.
Dyslexia can lead to low self-esteem and lack of confidence, but it does not have to be a barrier to achievement and success if it is properly recognised and steps are taken to provide suitable teaching and training.
Severe dyslexia is covered under the law. The Disability Discrimination Act defines a disabled person as someone with "a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities." Adjustments for dyslexic people can be simple and inexpensive.
The CWU and BT have jointly produced a fact sheet on Working with Dyslexia. The leaflet is intended to raise the profile of dyslexia both with our members and managers.
The CWU Disability and Special Needs Advisory Committee set up a working party that has worked closely with Dyslexia Assessment and Consultancy (DAC). An information sheet has been produced that is a comprehensive guide to understanding the many different strands of dyslexia that exists. It is available via branch offices. There is also a checklist that can be offered to any member who feels that they may have some dyslexia tendencies, whether this is in relation to reading, writing, memory or organising. It will be a valuable tool that will give members the opportunity to explore things further.
Once the checklist has been completed if it suggests that there may be a link with dyslexia, the member may choose to have a DAC telephone consultation. The cost of this initial consultation is £75.00. Bookings for a telephone consultation can be made by telephone, e-mail.