There are only 18 dyslexia specialist teachers to cater for the estimated 3,000 dyslexic children in State schools, according to an Education Ministry spokesperson.

“There are 85 [State] schools so the number of specialist teachers is clearly far from sufficient. Each year, approximately 400 new cases are referred to the Specific Learning Difficulties [SpLD] Service.

“The service also re-assesses approximately 200 students annually for the purpose of access arrangements,” the spokesperson said.

The SpLD Service, within the Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education, is committed to supporting students with dyslexia to mitigate the difficulties they encounter at home, at school and in society.

In the beginning of the current scholastic year, the government said that 36,008 students attended State schools.

Each year, approximately 400 new cases are referred to the Specific Learning Difficulties Service

Meanwhile, the ministry spokesperson said that data collected by the SpLD Service indicated that approximately nine per cent of students attending primary and secondary State schools had dyslexia – amounting to over 3,000 children.

“This [nine per cent] does not include information on students who might have been assessed by other State or private entities,” the spokesman said.

The issue on the lack of specialised teachers was recently rekindled by the mother of a primary school student who, commenting on Facebook, spoke about the lack of support for dyslexic children in schools.

More funding needed by Malta Dyslexia Association

Malta Dyslexia Association chairperson, Carmen Muscat, agreed and said that this was due to the lack of special-ised teachers.

Ms Muscat said that the association would like to be able to offer more support, but did not have the finances.

The Education Ministry spokesperson explained that the SpLD Service offered a range of services for children with dyslexia that included assessments and working with schools to enable them to become more aware of the implications of dyslexia and the multisensory strategies required to support students with dyslexia. 

At this point in time, 19 primary schools are at different stages of the Dyslexia Friendly Initiative, he said.

The SpLD Service also offers students with dyslexia sessions to help them bridge the gap between primary and middle school, as well a library services and annual parenting training sessions.

Last year, the Nationalist Party launched a series of proposals in support of people with dyslexia.

The proposals included: financial assistance to fund assessment (as several parents were still unaware their children had dyslexia); that the Malta Dyslexia Association should have its own offices in order to be better able to support people with dyslexia; financial help to independent and Church schools to fund inclusion-friendly books and resources; training for educators; and assistance to children with dyslexia even during continuous assessment that have replaced exams.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us