A dyslexic whose condition went undetected by teachers for almost a decade
has been awarded more than £50,000 compensation.
Robin Johnson claimed he did not reach his full academic potential because he
was let down during his early school days.
Mr Johnson, 25, was described at school as ‘slow’ and fell victim to
playground bullies. Despite showing clear symptoms of dyslexia, it was not until
he moved to secondary school that he was diagnosed. The IT technician from
Bramhall, Cheshire, successfully sued Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council for
‘The money helps but it can’t really make up for what has happened,’ he said.
‘It can’t change the past but it will help me in the future. I will be able to
pay for a computer course which will enable me to further my career.’
His mother Jennifer first noticed something was wrong when he was a toddler
and was slower learning how to talk than his elder brother Simon. When he
attended St John’ s Church of England School in Offerton, Cheshire, Mrs Johnson
voiced her concerns to teachers.
They suggested a sight and hearing test in case he could not see the
blackboard or hear the teacher, but no problems were found. His difficulties
became severe at six and an educational psychologist was called in to conduct an
assessment – but no diagnosis was made. His family then moved to Bramhall and
Robin attended Neville Road Primary School, where the teachers said he was not
‘I always knew I was different to the other kids but I never knew why,’ said
Mr Johnson. ‘I never missed school and was so stubborn I never gave up but I got
bullied because I was different and that was hard. I became very depressed.’
It was not until Mr Johnson started secondary education at Bramhall High
School at 11 that his condition was identified. But it took a further two years
before he was given the educational support he needed.
Mrs Johnson said: ‘We were contacted by his form tutor who said that they had
never seen anyone as unhappy and stressed out as Robin and suggested in a very
diplomatic fashion that he might be dyslexic. ‘His tutor went on to say Robin
was the worst dyslexic they had ever had and asked why it wasn’t picked up at
Neville Road Primary School.’
He was assessed by an educational psychologist at the Dyslexia Institute in
Wilmslow, Cheshire, and was diagnosed as ‘severely’ dyslexic. After those
reports Stockport Council began providing extra teaching resources. His literacy
skills improved almost immediately and he went on to attend North Area College,
where he completed his NVQ Level 2 Diploma in Vocational Education.
He also gained NVQ qualifications in computing but was unable to gain
employment in the field because of his dyslexia and took menial jobs such as
tomato picker, kitchen assistant and aircraft cleaner. Further training in
information technology helped him secure his present job.
Mr Johnson was awarded £52,500 plus costs at Stockport County Court.
Stockport Council said provision for pupils with dyslexia had since improved
across the authority.
by NILUFER ATIK, Mail-On-Line