'Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling. Characteristic features of dyslexia are difficulties in phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed. Dyslexia occurs across the range of intellectual abilities. It is best thought of as a continuum, not a distinct category, and there are no clear cut-off points. Co-occurring difficulties may be seen in aspects of language, motor co-ordination, mental calculation, concentration and personal organisation, but these are not, by themselves, markers of dyslexia. A good indication of the severity and persistence of dyslexic difficulties can be gained by examining how the individual responds or has responded to well-founded intervention' (Rose Report 2009).
Dyslexia is a term that is used to describe pupils who usually have a difficulty with reading, writing and/or spelling. Usually the pupil is at least average intelligence and in some case can be well above. It is useful to look at dyslexia as being a learning difference rather than a learning difficulty. This is because many learners with dyslexia are able to make significant progress academically and excel in higher education too if the opportunities are present for them to use their own particular learning preferences.
Usually they are visual and experiential learners and find learning though listening and reading lengthy texts quite demanding.
The key to progress is to ensure that learning materials are presented in a multi-sensory way that is using all senses particularly the visual and the hands-on. In this way, learners will be able to use their strengths and this is important if they are going to be able to develop independent and successful strategies.
Children with dyslexia can also have other characteristics in addition to difficulties with literacy. They may have difficulties with processing speed, short-term and long-term memory and sequencing and ordering information. They may also have difficulties with structuring and organizing written work.
Often they may not display their full abilities in written tests and if they get the opportunity to do some of it orally they usually score higher grades.
Dyslexia: Some key points
Signs of Dyslexia
How to help your child
Dyslexia can affect other areas
A Dyslexic child in school
Making Reading Positive
How Dyslexia affects school work
Dyslexia - Strengths
Help with writing
Young children – make it fun and multi-sensory!
Helping older children - it can still be multi-sensory!
|Dysguise||Dr Gavin Reid – Free Downloads||British Dyslexia Association||BBC Skillwise||Doorway Online|
|Doorway Online||Funbrain Learning Factory||Mindtool||Reading Rockets||Working With Dyscalculia|
|The Trouble With Maths||Learning Works||Crossbow Education||The Dyslexia Shop||Dyslexia Scotland|
|Red Rose School
|First School Years||Superkids||Play Kids Games||Skills Workshop||Free Phonics Worksheets|
|Dyslexia Centre||Nessy Learning Programme||TEFL Games||Jan Brett||Primary School Resources|
||Discovery Channel||Windows to the Universe
|Open Office||Power Typing||Learn 2 Type||Sense Lang||BBC Typing|
Try not to show your child that you are anxious about their progress as they will pick up on this. Make an appointment to discuss your concerns either with your child’s class teacher, or with the Additional Learning Needs Co-ordinator (ALNCo). The ALNCo should be able to tell you exactly how your child is progressing. If you feel that your child’s reading book or spelling list is too difficult for them, you can speak to the class teacher about school providing differentiated homework for your child.
No. There are tools available to schools for screening for dyslexia and other Specific Learning Differences (SpLDs), so that schools can identify children who may need additional help and put support in place as soon as possible. Most Pembrokeshire schools take part in the Early Identification and Intervention Program. This involves children in Nursery provision in Pembrokeshire being screened for speech and language or social communication difficulties. Intervention is put in place for those children who present with difficulties, in the form of the Hands on Communication activities program.
Children in the Foundation Phase in Pembrokeshire are initially screened for signs of dyslexia at the pre-literacy stage using the Dyslexia Early Screening Test (DEST). Children who are found to be ‘at risk’ of dyslexia take part in the Hands on Literacy intervention program and are then regularly re-tested in order to monitor their progress.
Children who have been identified by school as having dyslexic difficulties should then receive intervention or support according to their level of need. For example this support might take the form of an intervention program for spelling or reading, dyslexia friendly classroom strategies, alternative methods of assessment, differentiation of work according to ability, or the use of assistive technology in the classroom.
I’m not sure if my child has any support in place in school – how can I find out?
If you are unsure what support has been put in place for your child, you should ask to speak to the school’s Additional Learning Needs Coordinator (ALNCo), who should be able to supply you with this information, as well as answer any questions you may have about your child’s progress. Support for your child could take various forms such as: differentiated activities, dyslexia friendly classroom strategies, small group intervention / paired activities, literacy or numeracy programmes, use of IT, or concessions for exams and tests
If my child has dyslexic difficulties, does that mean they need coloured overlays or tinted glasses for reading?
No, not necessarily. Evidence shows that visual difficulties are found across the whole range of reading abilities and not surprisingly, particularly in those with weakest reading ability. If your child is experiencing any difficulties with words ‘moving’ on the page when they read, appears to have difficulty reading black print on white paper, or has difficulty tracking when reading (losing their place or skipping lines), then it is advisable to book them an appointment with an Optometrist, who can diagnose visual difficulties. An eye health assessment by a qualified professional is first priority when people experience any visual discomfort and/or disturbance.
An Optometrist can carry out a full test to diagnose the nature of the problem and whether it relates to visual sensory / visual perception (visual disturbances or discomfort), refractory (causing eye strain, squinting, blurred vision), or an ocular-motor difficulty relating to how the eye muscles are working together (which might cause blurring, words ‘moving’, or tracking difficulties).
Many symptoms labelled as ‘visual stress’ are often actually caused by refractive or ocular-motor problems.
How can I make sure that all my child’s teachers are aware of my child’s learning needs?
Ask the school Additional Learning Needs Co-ordinator (ALNCo) about writing a Pupil Profile for your child, which will provide information for the teachers about your child’s strengths, areas of difficulty and how they learn best. This can be especially important in secondary school, where your child will have several different teachers.
Does my child need to have a formal diagnosis of dyslexia in order to get support in their exams?
No. If your child has been identified by school as having any additional needs, then the school’s Additional Learning Needs Co-ordinator (ALNCo) will arrange for your child to be assessed for exam access arrangements by an assessor who has been approved by the Head of school. Any exam access arrangements put in place for your child must reflect their normal way of working in school e.g. if your child requires extra time, or a laptop, a reader or a prompt for example. If you have concerns regarding this, please contact your school’s ALNCo and arrange a meeting.