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The fight over dyslexia - podcast

The question of who gets diagnosed with dyslexia and who then receives support was one of many that Guardian journalist Sirin Kale found herself examining when she began a year-long investigation into the condition. But what surprised her most was how fiery the conversation around this condition had become, with some asking whether the term dyslexia should even exist

Most people in the UK will learn to read and write by the age of seven, but about 20% of the population will struggle to reach this level, and about half of these people are believed to be dyslexic, although not all of them will be diagnosed. Guardian journalist Sirin Kale tells Anushka Asthana about investigating questions around dyslexia - the science behind it, how people are diagnosed, who is diagnosed and what treatments work.

A 2019 report from the all-party parliamentary group for dyslexia found that children from lower income backgrounds were less likely to be diagnosed with dyslexia. As understanding and recognition of dyslexia grew, families pushed for legal safeguards for dyslexic children. With the 2014 Children and Families Act, parents could apply for public funding to send their children to private schools that specifically catered to dyslexic students. First-tier tribunals, overseen by judges specialising in education and social care issues, would resolve these cases. These legal rights were easier to access with a diagnosis. And so more and more professionals began offering to meet the needs of the growing numbers of parents seeking dyslexia diagnoses for their children. Looking into dyslexia, Sirin realised that it was less a story about science and education and more one about social justice.

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