Dyslexia Awareness

Last week (8th Oct – 14th Oct) was Dyslexia Awareness week.

Dyslexia is of personal interest to me and my family as my 11 year old has recently been diagnosed with it (at great expense!)

I received an email recently giving 10 tips for parents on how to spot the common signs of dyslexia which I thought I would share with you, according to Mark McCusker (CEO of Texthelp Ltd) they are:

1. Difficulty identifying rhyming words; often children with dyslexia have difficulty distinguishing between the sounds of words.

2. Slow to process a long series of instructions; this may be due to the brain taking longer to process information.

3. Poor reading and spelling; children often can express what they want to say verbally but have difficulty translating this to text.

4. Tendency to omit or add letters or words; this may be due to a difficulty estimating the length and structure of a word.

5. Trouble with reading aloud or memorising; they may be slowed down by constantly trying to decode each individual word.

6. Difficulty remembering times tables or days of the week; recalling a sequence of instructions in the right order is a common difficulty.

7. Poor sense of direction and confusion with left and right; this is a sign that the brain is working in a slightly different way.

8. Mixes up times, places and dates; short-term memory for remembering spoken words is common.

9. A history of dyslexia in the family; reading difficulties tend to run in families.

10. Is otherwise bright, intelligent and bubbly; dyslexia isn’t a symptom of low intelligence but a specific learning difficulty that affects skills associated with language.

I can certainly relate to a lot of these but it is important to stress that not all dyslexics are dyslexic in the same way so if you think that your child (or you, your partner etc) may have dyslexia you/they will need to be fully assessed to confirm the diagnosis and, possibly more importantly, to ascertain the best ways to help them with education and daily life.

It took me a long time to get the diagnosis for my son. He suffered many years of being labelled as naughty and below average; it was heartbreaking for me to have a bright and sparky child who repeatedly received bad reports because his teachers were unable to see that he was dyslexic. Even worse, he once had a teacher who openly told me they thought he was dyslexic but then still  marked him down on his achievements because the school couldn’t make any allowance for his dyslexia without an official diagnosis – but – the school wouldn’t help me get that diagnosis because there were children with ‘more severe needs’.

We ended up paying for a private diagnosis and at the age of 11 he is now receiving additional support.

If you think your child is dyslexic, fight for the school to get him/her assessed, if you don’t push for it no one else will!

For further information why not speak to your SENCO or contact the British Dyslexia Association.