A Bold New 2020 Vision For People With Dyslexia

by Roger Broadbent

Estimates vary, but in overall terms statisticians tell us that there are around 20% of the population with some form of dyslexia. That equates to about one in five of us with a difficulty in: reading, writing, in literacy, numeracy, skeletal control, and general verbal and written communication, or a combination of these difficulties. These basic methods of communication are at the very heart of our society and of our economies. They are the bedrock of how we live our lives, how we can provide for ourselves and our families and dictate how we perform in terms of our life chances and ultimately how happy and fulfilled we are. Understanding the world of education and skills, of work and finding a job, of navigating the complexities of the healthcare and welfare systems can be a traumatic and highly stressful process for people with dyslexia. Many thousands of people have been either furloughed or made redundant as a result of the huge economic impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic. In some parts of the UK there has been a 50 percent increase in the number of newly-unemployed people claiming Universal Credit from the Department of Work and Pensions. Many thousands of these are people with some form of dyslexia. It is essential that we work together across public and private sectors to support people who will struggle even harder to find work opportunities than others because of their inability to understand an application form or read the instructions for an interview or even to claim the benefits they are entitled to online. Many dyslexics can become homeless or suffer long-term unemployment and can have difficulty maintaining jobs and tenancies because of the help they need to understand often complex documents and application processes. We need a whole life course bold new strategy starting with early years identification and support in primary school, followed up with intensive tuition on coping tactics and practical tools to be able to read documents via IT tools such as Text to Speech assistive technologies. We would love you to be part of helping to build this new national framework for people with dyslexia as these issues will be increasingly vital in a post pandemic world with a possible further recession and shrinking of the economy which is likely to hit people with dyslexia harder than other people in the labour market.

To respond to some of these challenges, Dyslexia Institute UK Not for Profit Company are running a virtual international dyslexia event on the 29th and 30th July, with global experts giving their views on how we can better support the 20% of our workforce with dyslexia. FREE for teachers, SENCOs, dyslexia assessors, teaching assistants, and students (Email: DyslexiaInstituteUK@gmail.com).

If you are a teacher, a lecturer, a tutor, a charity, a private company, a skills provider, a housing organisation, work in education or skills, in a council, the Department of Work and Pensions, a homeless shelter or a healthcare facility or in Human Resources we would love you to come and help us build a brighter more confident future for all of our society including our precious friends, family, neighbours and colleagues who can add so much to the workplace with the right support. The event will be launched by Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester who is passionate about public service reform and tackling homelessness. To register your interest in a free place please contact make sure you book early as there has already been a significant level of interest from Brazil, the USA, and Australia.

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