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05 December 2023

Dyslexia screening: 'High risk' students

By Staff

More than half of the 475 primary and secondary pupils screened by Lexicon Reading Center in schools across Dubai were diagnosed as being at 'high risk' of dyslexia.

The results were released following Lexicon's recent campaign offering free  screening sessions in 15 schools in Dubai.

The results showed that more than 65 per cent of those screened were at 'high risk' of dyslexia, 17 per cent were at mild-to-moderate risk, whilst 18 percent did not show signs of Dyslexia.

The diagnosis of 'high risk' suggests that students generally struggle with spelling, reading and comprehending tasks given to them at school.

Dr. Steve Chinn, a specialist from the UK who was present at the screenings in Dubai, discussed the importance of detecting early signs of dyslexia,  and identifying suitable help that is needed.

"Identification of dyslexia is usually via a psychologist," said Dr. Chinn.

"It will rarely be medical, though a doctor may well refer the child to a psychologist. There are some classic warning signs such as slow development of reading skills and letter recognition, poor and often unusual spelling, or difficulty in remembering too many instructions at one time."

Malcolm Litten, also a specialist from the UK, added that children who have been diagnosed as at 'high risk' of Dyslexia are often vulnerable to other issues ranging from depression to bad behaviour.

He further  highlighted how emotional support from parents and teachers plays a vital role.

He said: "Parents often have to tread carefully, being advocates for their children through diplomatic skills.  In the process of doing so, sometimes parents are dismissed as 'fussy' or 'over-protective'. Support at home and finding activities where the child can shine and enjoy are very helpful."

Rudolf Stockling, the Head of the assessment unit for Lexicon Reading Center, said the screenings were an important step in identifying and detecting the signs of dyslexia.

He said: "The groups we screened were very receptive and responded well."

Professor Nancy Cushen-White, the Center's Literacy Intervention Consultant and Case Manager, also emphasised the importance of trained teachers to help manage students showing signs of  learning difficulties.

"In a survey I carried out, I asked what methods would be most helpful to identify cases amongst students at high risk of dyslexia. The respondents unanimously agreed that schools need trained teachers.”