One-stop help for learning difficulties

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Health service chiefs yesterday announced a unique one-stop treatment centre for children with learning difficulties. From next month, youngsters with dyslexia and dyspraxia will, for the first time, be able to receive all their health and educational care under one roof.

Experts hope the opening of The Dyscovery Centre in Cardiff, funded by the private health care company Healthcall, will mark the start of a new era of improved services for these children and their families.

Up to 10 per cent of children in the United Kingdom suffer from dyspraxia or "clumsy child disorder" which causes problems in language, perception and thought. However, the level of awareness of the condition still remains low. One in 25 people is dyslexic - a difficulty in reading and spelling caused by a condition of the brain.

Dr Amanda Kirby, director of The Dyscovery Centre, said: "The launch of The Dyscovery Centre, the first of its kind, is in response to an acute shortage of service provision for those who encounter special learning difficulties.

"We believe that a one-stop shop for assessment, treatment and support for children, adolescents and parents is long overdue."

Healthcall decided to set up the centre in a bid to boost the support and help available for children with learning difficulties and their families. In the future, the company plans to open a network of centres around Britain.

Treatment can be gained through self-referral, or GPs can buy the service for their patients. Currently, children with learning difficulties can have treatment in a variety of different settings and some have to travel long distances to get the care they need.

At the centre, a team of educational psychologists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, behavioural optometrists, physiotherapists and specialist teachers will work together to provide assessment and treatment.

So far, six staff have been signed up but Dr Kirby expects that number to rise once the centre is up and running.