The fact that dyslexia is a heritable trait has been known for some time; however now it is believed that it can be linked to a particular region of a chromosome. There are 23 pairs of chromosomes carrying the genes, which go to make up the human genotype. Through a study of over two hundred families with dyslexia problems from both the UK and USA, geneticists have discovered that dyslexia is linked to a region of chromosome 18. With further study, it is possible that a particular gene or genes responsible for dyslexia will be located.
How does this revelation help those with dyslexia?
It is hoped that when the gene or genes have been located then a pre-school test can be given to children to identify those with dyslexia so they can be given special help throughout their schooling. The idea is a great one so long as those who are identified with the trait are not stigmatised in any way but how will the testing scheme work?
Will it be given to all children before they reach school or only to those whose family have already shown the trait?
If it is given to all children, the cost of such a scheme could be too high for the government to sponsor, however if it only given to those children from high risk families then many children might fall through the net. According to the British Dyslexia Association about 1 in 20 children are severely dyslexic which in numbers equals approximately 375,000. Equally high, are the other costs to consider including the study support schemes along with the specially trained staff, which will be needed to help such a number of children succeed in their education.
On the other hand it is said that 70 per cent to 80 per cent of prisoners suffer from dyslexia. If crime and consequently the prison population could fall as a direct result of greater understanding and help throughout schools then the government might seriously consider meeting the financial challenge of supporting the scheme.