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Q. My son is seven and still finds reading and writing difficult. His teacher says he will be fine but we suspect dyslexia. Where could we get independent advice? Mr and Mrs JH

A. You could take him to an educational psychologist. A private assessment will cost at least pounds 50, but could be carried out almost straight away. Or you could request a free assessment by contacting your county education service. However, you are unlikely to be given an appointment until well into the autumn term because of high demand.

To contact a private educational psychologist in your area, consult the directory of the British Psychological Society, which lists chartered psychologists. Copies are in all main libraries. The society is at St Andrew's House, 48 Princess Road East, Leicester LE1 7DR, 01162 549568.

Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that affects all levels of ability and is particularly common among boys. Some children are slower off the mark with reading and writing.

The condition cannot be cured but children and adults affected by it can be taught ways to cope with it.

For more information, contact the British Dyslexia Association helpline on 01734 668271 Mon-Fri. For an information pack send an A4 self-addressed envelope with a 38p stamp to the BDA at 98 London Road, Reading, Berkshire RG1 5AU. Explain you need information relating to a school-aged child.

Q. My 15-year-old daughter is particularly good at art and design. Could you tell me which are the best colleges in these subjects? Sue, Buckinghamshire

A. It depends on the kind of course your daughter wants to pursue - her needs will be different if she wants to study fine art rather than industrial design. See the head of art and design at the school to discuss the matter.

You could also contact your local college of further education and see the leader of the art foundation course, which most good FE colleges run. They are constantly placing students on higher education courses, so will have a good feel for the range of colleges and their strengths and weaknesses.

Or you can consult the University and College Entrance Guide, published by UCAS in association with the Independent and Letts Study Guides (pounds 12, or check the local library). It will include the A-level grades you need for particular courses. High entry grades demands usually indicate a very good or unusual course.

The library should also have the Art and Design Admissions Registry handbook On Course, listing details of courses at 170 institutions. ADAR is at Penn House, 9 Broad Street, Hereford HR4 9AP, 01432 266653.

Send your education queries to 'Crammer', Education Department, the Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL.

WENDY BERLINER

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