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Dyslexia in Greek higher education: incidence, legislation and supportive practices

By Αγλαΐα Σταμπολτζή

Abstract

Dyslexia is defined as a disability that affects reading and writing primarily. Internationally, the number of dyslexic students entering higher education is on rise. In Greece, there is no statistical or empirical data about the number of dyslexic students in higher education institutions. The purpose of the study is to explore the issue of dyslexia in Greek public higher education. The main aims of the study are: to determine the incidence of dyslexia among the Greek student population, to examine dyslexic students’ age, gender and major field of study and to survey the present support for dyslexic students in higher education. A questionnaire was developed for circulation to all Greek public institutions of higher learning (n=32) with a total of 406 departments. Descriptive statistics are used to analyse the data collected. The incidence of dyslexia is estimated to be 0.16%, which is far below the estimated incidence in other countries. Technological Education institutions seem to be more aware of the educational needs of dyslexic students possibly because they have three times more dyslexic students than universities. The most popular provisions offered by all institutions are oral examinations and generic counseling. To illustrate the personal, educational and psychological characteristics of Greek dyslexic students in higher education, a qualitative study is designed to complement and clarify the results of the survey reported above. Data are collected from sixteen dyslexic students (eleven male and five female) by means of self-reported questionnaires, psychometric tests of anxiety and self-esteem, semi-structured interview and free writing. The results of the qualitative study show important differences between dyslexic participants in terms of severity of dyslexia and spelling ability. The majority of dyslexic students do not disclose dyslexia at university because they believe that they will not be advantaged. Negative memories from primary school, better relationships with teachers at secondary school and parental support are common themes reported by the majority of the students. The results of the present study are discussed in the light of inclusive education. Greek higher education institutions should develop consistent policy and provision to encourage dyslexic students to disclose their disability and receive appropriate support. In addition, provision for dyslexic students must be proactive rather than reactive, in a regular basis. A number of suggestions are put forward in 6 relation to support dyslexic students from an academic and psycho-social point of view. Directions for further research are also discussed.

Topics: Ειδικές μαθησιακές δυσκολίες, Δυσλεξία, Εκπαίδευση, Μελέτες περιπτώσεων, Specific learning difficulties, Dyslexia, Dyslexia in greek higher education, Survey, Case studies
Publisher: National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
Year: 2007
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