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Shock costs of dyslexia.

Byline: By Amanda Crook

Skills crisis costing the UK pounds 1bn a year

More than 10,000 school pupils ( about one in 10 in the region ( have been diagnosed with dyslexia.

The Dyslexia Institute estimates one in eight people have the condition which involves difficulty learning to read, write and spell, but up to 25% of sufferers go undiagnosed.

The institute estimates undiagnosed dyslexia, leading to poor literacy and basic skills, costs the UK economy pounds 1bn a year. That works out at about pounds 34 for every UK taxpayer annually.

There is a higher incidence of dyslexia among prisoners, excluded pupils and the long-term unemployed, compared with the population as a whole.

The institute says a minimum of pounds 368m per annum is spent on "unidentified dyslexics" in these sectors, a cost which they say could be substantially reduced if such individuals had been identified at an early age and offered adequate and appropriate support.

It is calling for better provision for the 375,000 children across the country who are dyslexic, including better screening and identification and improved access to learning.

Simon Dalby-Ball, headteacher at the Nunnykirk Centre for Dyslexia, near Morpeth, said: "Early identification is very important and they must have appropriate care from the moment of identification.

"The costs of provide a safe, caring environment to treat severe dyslexia is a fraction of the cost of the long-term problems later in life, not to mention the wasted potential and missed contributions to society.

"Providing the right help early in a child's life can help prevent major difficulties later.

"We should be investing in these children now which will reap rewards for the individual and the public purse."

The Dyslexia Institute works with dyslexic adults in partnership with the prison and probation services and pupil-referral units.

These projects aim to help adult learners improve their self-esteem and confidence.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 24, 2004
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