Dyslexic sues over 'teachers' failings'
- Fri 2 Jul 2004
Dyslexic sues over 'teachers' failings'
Glasgow council sued over teachers failure to identify pupil's dyslexia
First case of kind in Scotland follows similar action in England
Council claims nothing to suggest dyslexia although man diagnosed at school
"At times, he appeared to be under-performing ... there were legitimate reasons, not necessarily of a dyslexic character, which accounted for this" - Glasgow City Council
Story in full A MAN is claiming £100,000 damages in a pioneering court action over the alleged failure of teachers to identify that he suffered from dyslexia.
David Lannigan, 24, says he attained poor results and was unable to fulfil a desire to go to university, but it might have been different if his condition had been diagnosed earlier.
In what is understood to be the first case of its kind in Scotland, following successful similar actions in England, Mr Lannigan is suing Glasgow City Council for the alleged negligence of teachers and learning support staff.
The council maintains that Mr Lannigans performance at Shawlands Primary School and Shawlands Academy could be explained by a number of reasons, including a low general ability, and that there had been nothing to suggest dyslexia.
Yesterday, a judge at the Court of Session in Edinburgh began hearing preliminary argument in the case. The council says the action is time-barred and should be dismissed.
The court was told that Mr Lannigan, of Herries Road, Glasgow, had suffered all his life from a specific learning difficulty, motor dyslexia. As a result, while his reading was reasonable, his writing, spelling and number skills were poor.
Mr Lannigans lawyers claim that initially, teachers at his primary school told his parents that his early start at school, at four, had been responsible for his problems.
His parents say that they raised with staff at the academy the possibility that their son was suffering from dyslexia.
"Had the learning support staff assessed him adequately, with a reference to a specialist such as an educational psychologist, then his condition would have been confirmed," Mr Lannigans lawyers stated.
Later, a friend of the family suggested that Mr Lannigans "pattern" was indicative of dyslexia, and his parents had him assessed at the Dyslexia Institute. He was diagnosed as having motor dyslexia. By then, he was in his final year at the academy and he was allowed extra time to complete his Higher papers. He gained pass marks in physics and geography, both with D grades.
With special help which became available after diagnosis and which alleviated his problems, Mr Lannigan went on to work as a civil servant. However, if the dyslexia had been identified earlier, the lawyers claimed, it was likely that he would have gained better exam results and been able to enjoy a lucrative career in computing.
"None of the teachers and learning support staff identified the fact that he had a specific learning disability," it was alleged.
"He suffered a miserable time at the schools. His whole future life has been blighted by the fact that the bulk of his school career was wasted."
Glasgow council, successor of Strathclyde Region as education authority, said there had been nothing in Mr Lannigans progress through primary and secondary to suggest dyslexia.
"He demonstrated a level of success which was considered commensurate with his general ability," claimed the council. "At times, he appeared to be under-performing ... there were legitimate reasons, not necessarily of a dyslexic character, which accounted for this."
Mr Lannigans lawyers admitted that because of problems with previous solicitors, his case had not been raised within the required three years of his diagnosis and was time-barred. However, they submitted to the judge, Roderick Macdonald, QC, that he should exercise his discretion and allow the action.
Mr Macdonald will rule later.
DANDA the Developmental Adult Neuro-Diversity Association
ALL-NEW Yahoo! Messenger - sooooo many all-new ways to express yourself
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]