Nearly half of people surveyed in Connacht were unaware that dyslexia is a disability, according to research to be published by the Association for Higher Education Access and Disability (AHEAD ).
Director of AHEAD, Ann Heelan, has also warned that “bigger classrooms will only make it more difficult to spot students who may have dyslexia”.
The data, which was revealed at a conference on dyslexia at NUI Maynooth last Wednesday, shows that 46 per cent of people surveyed in Connaught do not consider it be a disability while 40 per cent believe that it can be cured.
According to AHEAD, the research reveals the degree of ignorance and uncertainty that still exists in Ireland in relation to dyslexia.
In Connacht, 76 per cent agree that dyslexia affects ability to read and write (national average was 79 per cent ). Some 23 per cent believe it affects the ability to tell colours apart, and 27 per cent think it affects the ability to drive a car (national average was 21 per cent ). One in four (23 per cent ) of people in Connacht think there is nothing you can do to offset dyslexia.
Ms Heelan said that “one of the biggest challenges for people with dyslexia is getting the people around them to acknowledge and understand that dyslexia is a disability. In the past, people who had trouble reading due to dyslexia were often dismissed as being stupid. That attitude is changing, but so is the incidence of dyslexia”.
Speaking on behalf of the Dyslexia Association of Ireland, CEO Rosie Bissett, said that “the affects of dyslexia are highly individual, so problems - and solutions - vary widely from person to person”.