15th December 2000




Two Psychology students from Lincoln will advocate the introduction of a standard test for dyslexia at the British Psychological Society conference next week.


They will tell the London conference that their research method – which investigated whether people use sound or spelling to recognise a word – can be used as a tool for diagnosing phonetic dyslexia in children at an early age.


Deborah Franks and Chessie Volland, both final-year Psychologists at the University of Lincolnshire & Humberside, will make a presentation at the conference next Tuesday and Wednesday (19th and 20th December) based on a first-year project.


Their research confirmed that both the sound and the spelling of words play an important role in determining word familiarity and suggested that a simple test could be devised for diagnosing dyslexia in children as young as four or five.


“Lots of young people fall through the net with dyslexia because teachers aren’t trained to diagnose the condition,” says Deborah (31), who lives in Nottingham. “If there was a simple lexical test for young children we could detect phonetic dyslexia in just a few minutes.”


Deborah points out that the tests which are currently available are only used when dyslexia is suspected in a child aged around ten or over. “By that time the child may already be behind at school and thinking that he’s not as bright as other children.”


Deborah and Chessie are now thinking about researching a test for all types of dyslexia for a PhD project. “I’d like to look into it for a PhD,” says Deborah, who works at the Play Centre for Children with Disabilities and their Families in Nottingham. “Anything that helps a child during his or her cognitive development has got to be a good thing.”


The two students are hoping that their presentation next week will spark some interest in the subject among other psychologists. “Because we’re only students we don’t have a lot of time, so we really want to encourage others to go away from the conference and think about looking into this issue.”


For more information contact: Jez Ashberry, Press and Media Relations Manager

University of Lincolnshire & Humberside

Tel: 01522 886042            email: jashberry@lincoln.ac.uk


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