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Helen Boden, BDA CEO: Dyslexia Awareness Week continued...

Friday 11 October 2019

Day four of #DyslexiaAwarenessWeek was a day of two halves for Helen Boden, BDA CEO. In the morning there was a trip to Feltham YOI:

This really took me back to where "my life" with the BDA began in 2002 when I was working on an Action Research Project for the BDA, exploring rates of dyslexia and routes and responses for dyslexic young people within the Youth Justice arena.

It is sadly still the case that incidence rates of dyslexia amongst offenders is far, far greater than the general population. We know that disengagement from education is a high risk factor for offending behaviour, we know that dyslexic young people disengage from education when they can't access the curriculum, we know that exclusion rates for those with Special Education Needs are far higher. We know that supporting dyslexia properly in school can and does lead to positive outcomes. It is certainly a complicated picture, but there are some "dots" that would be straightforward to join here. For me the thing that frustrates me most of all is the loss of potential and the often unnecessary barriers that are put in young people's way that prevents them achieving this potential.

The second half of Helen's day involved an interview with the BBC:

Probably my least favourite thing to do, especially when my ears are seemingly not designed for an ear piece! Appropriately, following my trip to Feltham YOI, discussing the great need for accessible support and identification in schools. A specialist teacher in a school can and does make all the difference to facilitating early identification and rapid intervention with individualised, tailored support. We shouldn't be waiting for children to fail and then trying to "catch them up" we should be intervening at the first sign of dyslexic type needs. In this way progress can be maintained and the individual's motivation for learning, self esteem and confidence protected. Additionally it provides an invaluable resource and builds capacity for the whole school.