A leading child psychologist believes new tests for dyslexia could help diagnose children from a much earlier age than before.

Doctor Peter Gardner, Chartered Educational Psychologist and Founder Director of Appleford School in Shrewton, near Salisbury, Wiltshire, says the tests could help children and their parents feel more comfortable about overcoming difficulties with reading.

"Children who have dyslexia can have problems with reading, writing or spelling. It is believed that one in 10 children have some form of dyslexia, which is Greek for 'difficulty with words'. Parents naturally want the best for their children. They know that good literacy skills are the building blocks to educational success and a satisfying career. But many parents are in the dark about their child's special educational needs and how best to help them."

Dyslexia Awareness Week runs until Sunday 7th November and organisers are asking people to focus on the strengths those with dyslexia can bring to the community.

Many famous dyslexics like Richard Branson, Tom Cruise, John Lennon and Keira Knightly have all gone on to achieve huge success.

Dr Gardner believes anyone can do the same, with the right help:

"It used to be thought that you couldn't diagnose dyslexia until about seven and a half or eight years of age, but now there are very good indicators at about four and a half to five. Children who have difficulty with rhyme and threading beads at that age; that sort of skill can often predict later dyslexia."

Dr Gardner has written helpful fact sheets on Dyslexia and associated learning difficulties which can be found at the Appleford School website: http://www.applefordschool.org.

Dr. Peter Gardner
B.A., DipPsych., M.A., Ed.D., A.F.B.Ps.S., M.I.Mgt., F.Inst.D.
Chartered Psychologist

Peter gained an Honours Degree in Psychology from Nottingham University, a post graduate diploma in Academic Psychology from University College London, a Master of Arts Degree in Therapy and Counselling from Antioch College, U.S.A. (London Branch) and a doctorate from the University of Bristol.

He has been a lecturer in a number of universities and was a tutor at the Child Guidance Training Centre, London, responsible for post-graduate training of educational psychologists on a British Psychological Society - and Department of Education and Skills - accredited course.

He is a Chartered Educational Psychologist, a Chartered Forensic Psychologist and a Chartered Counselling Psychologist of the British Psychological Society. He is a Full Practitioner Member of the British Psychological Society Division of Neuropsychology. He is a registered Psychotherapist (United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy) and was a committee member of the Psychology and Psychotherapy Association.

Much of his work is legal work, including the preparation of detailed court reports and submission of oral evidence, working for Crown Courts, Magistrates Courts and Guardian ad litem panels. He acted as an expert witness in the precedent-setting Phelps v London Borough of Hillingdon education negligence case in the High Court in July 1997 and was described by Mr. Justice Garland as "particularly well qualified, careful and fair." His legal work is split roughly 50:50 between Claimant and Defendant work.

He is a founder of both Appleford School and of Daneswood, Shipham, near Cheddar, a care home for young adults with severe, profound and multiple learning difficulties, which is registered with and approved by CSCi.

Constance Eyre
The mustard agency