Psychologists too quick to label children dyslexic, says minister

Psychologists should be slower in branding children dyslexic and the definition rules may have to be tightened up, according to junior education minister Sander Dekker.

Around 15% of Dutch school children are officially dyslexic, a tag which, for example, allows them to take different school exams using a bigger typeface and with more time.

‘If we are talking about such high percentages, you have to question whether all these children really are dyslexic,’ the minister is quoted as saying by news agency ANP. For example, children could just have difficulty reading, the minister said.

According to academic research, just 3% to 4% of the population is dyslexic, or word blind. Researcher and psychologist Chris Struiksma told ANP it is too easy to get a dyslexia diagnosis. ‘Every self-declared expert can hand one out,’ he said.

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