Support dyslexics

July 30, 2004

In contrast to Peter Shaw ("Worrying case of can't write, won't write?" July 23), I have little concern about "inherently lazy illiterates" masquerading as dyslexics.

I remember a seemingly lazy geology student with poor literacy skills who stunned tutors by his ability to interpret complex geological structures while on a second-year field course. He was subsequently diagnosed as dyslexic. With specialist support, he developed greater confidence and his entire approach to academic work changed. He gained a first-class degree and went on to complete a PhD.

"Inherently lazy" students using dyslexia as a "flag of convenience" would not gain much advantage from having extra time in examinations. Their preparatory work is likely to have been inadequate. However, genuine dyslexic students clearly can realise their potential if the academic environment is supportive and they receive appropriate encouragement.

Peter Jones
Derby University

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