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Holly Willoughby calls for mandatory dyslexia screening in primary schools


Holly Willoughby has called on there to be mandatory screening for dyslexia at primary schools after suffering for years during her own childhood.

The TV presenter, 41, said she’s ‘proud’ of her dyslexia, but was only diagnosed just before her GCSEs, which she said was too late.

She also previously candidly admitted to hating reading out loud and would get ‘constantly embarrassed’.

Having her say: Holly Willoughby has called on there to be mandatory screening for dyslexia at primary schools after suffering for years during her own childhood

Having her say: Holly Willoughby has called on there to be mandatory screening for dyslexia at primary schools after suffering for years during her own childhood

Now the This Morning star is urging the government to introduce screening at a much younger age and improve the education of teachers.

Writing on her wellbeing site Wylde Moon, she said: ‘I’m calling on the government to require universal screening in primary schools, alongside better teaching and assessment for dyslexia.’ 

Fellow sufferer, former health secretary Matt Hancock, is trying to push through a dyslexia private members’ bill demanding the same as Holly, which was read in the House of Commons last Wednesday.

Holly further wrote: ‘Regardless of your opinion of Matt Hancock, his Dyslexia Screening Bill should be applauded, supported and passed!

Tough: The TV presenter, 41, said she's 'proud' of her dyslexia, but was only diagnosed just before her GCSEs, which she said was too late

Tough: The TV presenter, 41, said she’s ‘proud’ of her dyslexia, but was only diagnosed just before her GCSEs, which she said was too late

‘My own dyslexia was picked up fairly late and it wasn’t until that moment that my years of frustration at school all made sense.

‘It is a quiet scandal that an estimated 4/5 dyslexic children leave school with their dyslexia unidentified meaning their potential is unrealised, their confidence undermined and they don’t achieve the qualifications they deserve.

‘It does not have to be this way. Cheap and easy computer-based screening tools now exist to help to identify dyslexia.’

Stance: Writing on her wellbeing site Wylde Moon, she said: 'I'm calling on the government to require universal screening in primary schools, alongside better teaching and assessment for dyslexia'

Stance: Writing on her wellbeing site Wylde Moon, she said: ‘I’m calling on the government to require universal screening in primary schools, alongside better teaching and assessment for dyslexia’

Holly set up Wylde Moon last year, with her elder sister Kelly Foster, 44, and pal Vicky Staines, 36, which shares tips to ‘nourish your body and soul through music, food, laughter, sex, passion, beautiful things, or all of the above’. 

Holly has spoke movingly in the past about her dyslexia.

In November, she said her inspiration was a teacher called Mrs Williamson while she was at school.

Overcoming challenges: The television presenter previously said she was diagnosed with dyslexia 'quite late in life' and has praised her teachers with helping her overcome it at school

Overcoming challenges: The television presenter previously said she was diagnosed with dyslexia ‘quite late in life’ and has praised her teachers with helping her overcome it at school

She said: ‘My favourite teacher who was incredible was called Mrs Williamson. She was an English teacher and I did not get my dyslexia diagnosis until just before my GCSEs, which is late.

‘So for a long time at school I hated reading out loud because I could not read very well, I would get mixed up and I was constantly embarrassed.’

‘She always took me aside. She spent a lot of time with me and really took the time. Even in break times. She would never make me feel stupid. She was called Mrs Williamson.’

What is dyslexia? 

Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling, but intelligence isn’t affected.

1 in every 10 people struggle with the lifelong problem in the UK and the US. 

People with dyslexia often have good skills in other areas, such as problem solving and creative thinking.

Signs of dyslexia include:  

Confusing the order of letters in words 

Reading and writing very slowly 

Finding difficulty in carrying out directions, planning and organising 

Having poor and/or inconsistent spelling  

Forming letters the wrong way round (e.g. writing ‘b’ instead of ‘d’) 

Finding it hard to understand written information

Source: NHS 

When speaking to dyslexic Sir Richard Branson and Kate Griggs, founder of charity Made by Dyslexia, on the This Morning couch last year, she said that she’s far from ashamed about her condition.

She explained: ‘I don’t see it as a disability at all, I see it as a real feather in my cap, I’m very proud of being dyslexic, I think it makes me who I am.’

Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling. One in every ten people has the lifelong problem in the UK and the US.

As well as struggling with reading, writing and spelling, other signs of dyslexia are confusing the order of letters in words and finding difficulty in carrying out directions, planning and organising.

Famous sufferers include actor Orlando Bloom, businessman Richard Branson, TV musician Jessica Simpson and screen star Tom Cruise.

People with dyslexia often have good skills in other areas, such as problem solving and creative thinking.

Holly said she found her difficulties  ‘shameful’ as a child during an episode of This Morning last year.

‘For me, because I’m not very good at spelling, for years I felt shameful about that’, the host reflected, before she revealed the turning point in her journey came when she went to college.

She opened up about how she struggled with her experience during her younger years, revealing: ‘Dyslexia is such a broad spectrum, people have so many different forms of it.  

‘Yes, I’m dyslexic also and I had to find my own tool kit and for me it was finding somebody who understood this who could teach me how to access those tools because at school it wasn’t really that well known then.

‘I wouldn’t write down in front of people because I didn’t want them to see, but it doesn’t bother me now that I can’t spell.’

The media personality added that she was able to cope with the condition when she received advice in her late teens.  

Honest: While discussing dyslexia with Sir Richard Branson, 71, earlier this year Holly said: 'I don’t see it as a disability at all, I see it as a real feather in my cap'

Honest: While discussing dyslexia with Sir Richard Branson, 71, earlier this year Holly said: ‘I don’t see it as a disability at all, I see it as a real feather in my cap’

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