Six Schools Didn't Recognise Jim's Dyslexia Resulting In A Tragedy. What we can do to support kids with Dyslexia now.

I volunteer my spare time as a youth worker and I get to meet some fantastic young people who have a whole range of needs as well as hopes, dreams and desires for the future.
For me, I do this volunteering with young people because each one of them has potential but every now and again the education system seems to struggle to help some be the best that they can be.

Some of my work is with young men that have become or are expecting to be dads too early in life and on one occasion I met with a 22 year old man who I am going to call Jim.

Anger and frustration - Dyslexia can be a core issue.

When I first met Jim, I could see that he was very nervous and upon speaking with him he willingly said that he had anger issues and used drugs to calm himself down.
As we spoke further he told me that he had been kicked out of six different schools during his secondary education and as a result has no qualifications, is homeless and struggles to get work.
With parents separating at a young age, initially, it seemed that his behaviour to this, but as we talked further, it became clear that he may have also be dyslexic and that it was this that affected his ability to engage at school.

During classes he was not able to concentrate, he couldn't read the text that was given to him and as a result was often excluded as his frustration turned into anger.  He was struggling to get meaning from his school experience.

I like Jim, he told me that he was interested in Science and would have loved to have had some kind of scientific career.  I wouldn't be able to tell you whether or not Jim could have been a scientist but he certainly seemed enthusiastic about it.

For me the tragedy is that Jim was let down at school because no one listened to him and his dyslexia was not recognised.  He was deemed a trouble maker and he left school with nothing.
At time of speaking with him, his first child was soon going to be born and so perhaps a cycle of behaviour for the next generation.

I am sharing this with you because I believe that our school system is better now at recognising children with dyslexia than say fifteen years ago, but there is still a long way to go in helping everyone.

I am so grateful for how my own daughter has been supported through school as I have seen the difference that it made for her.

If you suspect that your child is dyslexic, then there are lots of resources available to help you get an assessment for them, or to find strategies for support.  Most schools have a Special Education Needs Coordinator who you could discuss your concerns with.  Alternatively, contact some charities that specialise in Dyslexia awareness and support.  In the UK, I recommend The British Dyslexia Association and Dyslexia Action.  Both have a wealth of resources that could be useful to you and your children.