Dyslexia is a hidden disability that hinders the learning of literacy and numeracy skills. It does not compromise intelligence and thus dyslexic children may have a great deal of potential. However, due to the individual way that dyslexic people learn, traditional teaching methods do not always cater for them appropriately. It may be because of this that a dyslexic child is often seen to struggle at school.
Dyslexia is a very complex specific learning difficulty because of the number of characteristics associated with it, such as:
It is rare for a dyslexic child to have all of the characteristics of dyslexia. The number, type and severity of the characteristics vary amongst dyslexic individuals.
The characteristics listed above are often referred to as the primary characteristics of dyslexia but these can be the cause of further problems. Dyslexia can cause frustration and a lack of self-esteem, which can be manifested in disruptive and/or bad behaviour. Some dyslexic children become very withdrawn and their lack of confidence can cause further social problems.
How do I know if my child is dyslexic?
Because of its complex nature dyslexia requires identification through a full formal assessment, conducted by a chartered educational psychologist but a specially qualified teacher can give an informed opinion about educational progress.
Dyslexia is relatively common; it affects approximately 10 per cent of the population to varying degrees, four per cent severely. It can affect anyone, at any age.
If the answer to the majority of the following questions is ‘yes’, you would be wise to seek further advice.
Does your child:
It is possible to have a child assessed as young as five years but many parents do suspect dyslexia in their under-fives. If you suspect that your child is dyslexic at an early age then there are things that you can do at this stage. The Dyslexia Institute produces an informative booklet called ‘Helping the Young Child’, which is available from their Head Office.
If you suspect that your child is dyslexic it is imperative that this is recognised at the earliest possible stage. If the problem is not known it is very difficult to be able to help appropriately.
How can I help my dyslexic child?
For many parents it is a great relief to have an explanation for their child’s difficulties, but what next?
One of the most important things to realize about dyslexia is that it is a very individual problem and thus each dyslexic child’s difficulties should be dealt with at an individual level.
Dyslexia is not a disease and therefore it cannot be cured or treated. However, it is possible to help a dyslexic child learn to cope and eventually overcome their difficulties.
The Dyslexia Institute believes that the best way to help a dyslexic individual of any age is through multi-sensory specialist tuition, with a specialist teacher. This sort of teaching is designed to use the individual’s strengths to help with their weaknesses.
The Institute has also produced a resource that parents can use at home with their child called the DIY Readers Support Pack for Parents. To purchase a copy please contact the Dyslexia Institute’s Trading company on 01784 222300 or visit the Trading Company Online at http://220.127.116.11/dysinst/index.htm
Further tips for parents