Two students with dyslexia have overcome their learning difficulties to win university places after scoring top grades in their A-levels. John Tung Lap-chun, 18, and Thomas Mak Cheuk-hang, 19, each took five A-level exams this summer. They are the first students with the condition known to qualify for entry to universities in Hong Kong, according to support groups. Mr Tung, who bagged A grades in pure maths and physics and a B in chemistry, is planning to read physics at Chinese University. Mr Mak, who gained a B in chemistry and Cs in biology and mathematics with statistics, is going to Polytechnic University to study physiotherapy. Both followed a pilot support programme for dyslexic students at a Sha Tin secondary school, run jointly by the Hong Kong Association for Specific Learning Difficulties and researchers at the University of Hong Kong. It gave dyslexic students individual education plans and after-school tuition, and encouraged close co-operation between teachers and parents. As it announced the students' results yesterday, the association called on the Education Bureau to increase funding to secondary schools across the city so they could introduce similar measures to support other students with dyslexia. They quoted a 2006 study that found 12.6 per cent of students suffered from the condition. 'I was amazed and delighted when I got my results,' Mr Tung said. I read both Chinese and English words slowly. I used to invert letters such as 'f' and 't' and I couldn't pronounce some words correctly in English. In Chinese, I missed out some of the characters, even when I read my own name. 'It's very difficult for dyslexic students in Hong Kong because we have to achieve good results in two languages, not just one. 'Without this project, I don't think I would have got beyond Form Four or Form Five. But the school taught me some reading skills, such as how to read to get the main idea of a passage. I think confidence was the most important factor in my success, and my teachers' support was also very important.' Mr Mak, who has an IQ of 137, said: 'I was always being picked on by the teacher at primary school. I always failed in dictation tasks and I used to get zero marks. The teacher would punish me by making me copy out a dictation passage five times. It was very tedious and it did not improve my English language ability.' Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that mainly affects reading and spelling. It is characterised by difficulties in processing the sounds of words and weaknesses in short-term verbal memory. People with dyslexia typically have normal or above-average IQs, and with appropriate support can be high achievers. Albert Einstein, Pablo Picasso and Sir Winston Churchill had the condition, while TV chef Jamie Oliver and actress Keira Knightley are among present-day sufferers. But the association, which also demanded that universities introduce flexibility in their English and Chinese language admission requirements for students with dyslexia, claims that in Hong Kong most students with dyslexia do not get beyond Form Five. Chairwoman Iris Keung Wai-lin said: 'Secondary schools do not have adequate resources and are not equipped to deal with students with learning difficulties.' Legislator Leung Yui-chung said the government should form a special task force to co-ordinate educational provisions and career opportunities for dyslexic students.