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Byline: By MOIRA SHARKEY South Wales Echo

A dyslexia expert is calling for teachers to be given specialist training to teach reading. Jane Owen, principal of the Dyslexia Institute in Cardiff, says without more support for teachers and teaching assistants, standards will never improve and children will continue to be misdiagnosed.

Her warning comes as the Institute prepares for Dyslexia Awareness Week next week. The theme this year is Support and Training Needed for the Classroom Teacher.

The charity has been leading a training scheme for teachers in schools in Torfaen, aiming to ensure every school in the local authority has a dyslexia-friendly tutor who will be able to help teachers and parents decide if a pupil may have dyslexic tendencies. Each tutor is given training on improving reading skills within the school.

It has proved so successful since being set up two years ago that the institute is calling on other local education authorities to follow Torfaen's lead.

The Dyslexia Institute estimates is would cost about pounds 36m to train one teacher in every UK primary school to become a dyslexia specialist. Experts say this is just a fraction of the cost of the long-term problems for adults with dyslexia later in life, as well as the wasted potential, tax revenues and missed contributions to society. The centre in City Road in Cardiff is inviting parents, children, adults and teachers to find out more information about dyslexia from Monday to Friday, November 7-11.

Specialists will be on hand to answer questions. Staff will also be offering a pounds 10 screening test which will identify those as risk of being dyslexic.

Mrs Owen said: 'Dyslexia can not only impair a child's ability to learn and progress at school, but it can have implications that extend beyond the classroom.

'Without the correct help and support, this can have a lasting and damaging impact, seriously hampering the individual's potential and ambitions.'

She added: 'This is why early intervention is so imperative and why it is so important that classroom teachers are provided with the correct information and resources to help and support all pupils.'

The institute carries out assessments for children and adults who may be dyslexic, provides tuition, trains specialist teachers, as well as developing teaching materials and conducting research.

For details call the Cardiff centre on 029 2048 1122 or e-mail ONE IN 10 ARE SUFFERERS:Dyslexia is a language-based learning disorder which affects all kinds of people regardless of intelligence. About 10 per cent of the population, including around 375,000 schoolchildren, have some form of dyslexia. Around four per cent are severely dyslexic.

Dyslexia causes difficulties in learning to read, write and spell. Some people's short-term memory, their mathematical ability, concentration, personal organisation and sequencing may also be affected by the condition.

The effects can largely be overcome by skilled specialist teaching.

Famous dyslexia sufferers have included scientist Albert Einstein, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, author Agatha Christie, singer and actress Cher and actors Marlon Brando and Tom Cruise.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Nov 1, 2005
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