Complex Made Simple

Dyslexia screening programme in Dubai uncovers students at ‘high risk’

Over 50% of students screened by Lexicon Reading Center may need additional support

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 percent of those screened were at ‘high risk’ of Dyslexia, 17 percent 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. The screenings have helped raise awareness of Dyslexia and Dysgraphia, and the results have further proved how crucial intervention is for children with learning difficulties.”

Professor Nancy Cushen-White, the Center’s Literacy Intervention Consultant and Case Manager, also emphasized 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. Our Center works towards holding vital workshops for teachers and parents to educate them and help in supporting the students’ needs.”

Lexicon Reading Center campaigns to emphasise the importance of early diagnosis and an intervention of learning difficulties within primary and secondary students. They have a team of highly trained educational psychologists who are professionally qualified to assess children and then provide appropriate support accordingly. Visit: www.lexiconreadingcenter.org