A CORK senator is calling for the introduction of mandatory teacher training to support students with dyslexia in primary and secondary school settings.
Fine Gael’s Tim Lombard emphasised the urgent need for the measure in light of the diagnosis of the condition in 100,000 students across the country.
“Dyslexia is the most common learning difference within the education system,” he said.
“It affects one in 10 children, which equates to three students in every classroom, on average.
“These young people have the right to receive an education appropriate to their needs.” He listed the various challenges for children struggling with dyslexia.
“Dyslexia is more than difficulties with literacy,” he said. “It can affect other aspects of learning, such as memory, organisation skills, and processing speed, and it can also negatively impact mental health, especially when students are not identified or appropriately supported.
“While over 90% of parents, teachers, and students agree that teachers should receive training on dyslexia, teachers have actually reported receiving no or minimal training on dyslexia in their Initial Training Education [ITE].
“Of those that received training, most felt it was insufficient.”
Mr Lombard described current training as inadequate. “In response to my contribution in the Seanad, Minister Noonan asserted that dyslexia training ‘is in effect mandatory’ as part of teacher training,” he said.
“However, I don’t believe that this is correct or indeed adequate as it is contradictory to what I am hearing from the experiences of teachers on the ground. I have engaged with members of the dyslexic community, teachers, and student teachers who are currently going through their ITE and all disagree that mandatory dyslexia training is included as part of the teacher training education. Student teachers who are weeks from completing their training told me that they have not received training on dyslexia as part of their ITE to date.”
He said he will write to the education minister requesting a meeting and to ask her to ensure mandatory training is introduced from September this year.