Undiagnosed conditions like dyslexia contributing to Doncaster children committing crimes' social care bosses claim

A number of children who commit crimes in Doncaster often have undiagnosed conditions like dyslexia and other speech and language problems, a senior social care boss has said.

Friday, 28th June 2019, 13:35 pm
Updated Friday, 28th June 2019, 13:35 pm

Andy Hood from Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, was updating councillors on how the service attempts to steer young people away from crime and reoffending. 

Figures show 149 children committed crimes in one year ending September 2018.

A DCST report shows a massive 66 per cent of children who commit crimes often have speech and language issues with undiagnosed dyslexia being a major factor. 

Around 58 per cent were identified as having substance issues with drink and/or drugs. 

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Mr Hood said a group of family psychotherapists are working with families in Doncaster where children end up in the criminal justice system. 

The social care boss told councillors these members of staff are ‘vital’ in helping young people stay on the straight and narrow and to stop them reoffending. 

Schools and academies are also said to be involved with DCST to help with interventions. 

Andy Hood, senior head of service of young people’s services at DCST said: “Family psychotherapists work alongside families to try and effect change in how they interact with that young person. 

“Sometimes there is undiagnosed difficulties in the young person that are causing the problems in the family because a high number of people who attend the young offenders service have undiagnosed dyslexia. 

“When we know that, we can get them the support they need and get that intervention but in other cases where there is entrenched issues around parenting we would get a psychotherapist to work closely with them. 

“This then becomes a whole family approach and not just focusing on the young person. This could be support to getting benefits to mental health or even to manage a serious medical condition. 

Coun Jane Kidd said it was ‘shocking’ that a large batch of young people who end up in the criminal have speech and language problems.

She asked: “How are academies and schools addressing this issue before they reach this stage of offending?”

“Some academy trusts work really well with us - I’d say it’s variable because some have smaller issues - dyslexia is still a big problem and it’s a national one. 

“That young person sometimes just completely removes themselves from school by not going and their behaviour cannot be managed in conventional means.”