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Is My Child Dyslexic?

The dictionary definition of Dyslexia


At Learn Happy this is a term that we hear and discuss with concerned parents a lot, so we thought that sharing some information about it and also how you can support your child would be helpful.

How is dyslexia defined?

Most people think of dyslexia as being a learning need associated with reading and writing skills which is in part correct. However, it is also important to remember that dyslexia is a brain based (neurological) disorder that affects a person’s ability to process information that they see and hear.

It is a disorder that affects different people in a variety of different ways and symptoms can range from mild to severe. It is thought that 1 in 10 people in the UK have some degree of dyslexia. Research has also shown that dyslexia can be inherited within families.

How might symptoms be displayed?

Symptoms can be varied and they also differ with age.

In very young children it might be that they:

  • Struggle with listening skills
  • Have slower language development.
  • Learning names and nursery rhymes more difficult
  • Have difficulty with sequencing

In school age children, signs may be:

  • Difficulty concentrating and completing tasks
  • Struggle with following instructions
  • Forgetfulness

In written work it might present as:

  • Untidy writing
  • Letter reversals
  • Poor retention of spelling rules

For reading it might be displayed through:

  • Slow progress
  • Difficulty blending and chunking words to read
  • Misreading or inserting words
  • Poor expression
  • Lack of reading flow

It is also important to remember that as a neurological disorder dyslexia will
also affect a child’s organisational skills, ability to tell the time, remember and
sequence events and concentrate and focus.

What to do if you think your child may have dyslexia?

Firstly, don’t panic. While a child with dyslexia may be struggling with reading, writing, and some other aspects of their education, there are a number of strategies that can be used to support them to ensure that they get full access to all aspects of the curriculum and most importantly enjoy and achieve to
their full potential.

Link up with School

If you think that your child may have dyslexia the first point of contact would be to discuss your concerns with school, with the class teacher and/or SENDCo. The school may well be able to carry out some basic screening and help with next steps for support and assessment. From this it may be that you decide to
undertake a formal assessment and school will be able to help guide you through this process.

Dyslexia Assessment

A formal dyslexia assessment is carried out by the following professionals; an educational psychologist or a qualified dyslexia assessor. Sometimes this can be done through school but not in all cases and often these assessments are carried out privately and paid for by parents.

This process can take a while and currently waiting lists for assessment are long, so what can you do as parents in the meantime? Here are some of our top tips to support your child;

1. Support

The main source of support and information for dyslexia is the British Dyslexia Association (BDA). There are also lots of local support agencies that can be found through the BDA website and this can be a good place to start looking for an independent dyslexia assessment if you choose to do this.

There are also lots of strategies and adjustments that you can make to support your child with their learning.

2. Understanding the Learning Profile

Dyslexic learners need a multi sensory approach to learning, so using apparatus and practical activities to help embed learning and new info works best. Repetition is also key, revisiting new vocabulary and topics can help to secure knowledge.

Working memory is a common area of need so using lots of visuals and task checklists can really help when doing homework activities.

3. Reading Strategies

For many children with dyslexia, reading can feel a challenge so don’t be afraid to ring the changes here. Take turns to read, have books that you read to them that are of interest to but may be beyond their current ability.

There are some book companies that also specialise in producing more readable texts that will engage more reluctant readers. This is a good place to start; Every child can be a reader – Barrington Stoke

4. Technology

There is a wealth of technology that can be used to support dyslexic learners. For pupils who find writing difficult then programs such as Clicker can be useful. It is also recommended that dyslexic learners use word processing programs to produce their work where functions such as spell check and autocorrect can really help with flow.

There are also lots of apps and games available to support spelling and reading such as Science of Reading | Nessy which can make learning fun.

5. Finally

The most important thing for you to do as a parent is reassure and support your child. Praise their strengths and focus on the things that they really enjoy doing. The dyslexic learning profile has a range of needs but is also has a whole range of strengths. Often referred to as “dyslexic thinking” is a skill set including: creative thinking, problem solving and good visual and reasoning capabilities.

Keep all of this in mind and embrace the positives.

For dedicated support with Dyslexia and specific questions related to your child, why not book one of our parent coaching calls where we can advise, discuss strategies and support you with helping your child.

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