In this article, we’ll discuss a very common question: does my child have dyslexia?
What is dyslexia?
In essence, dyslexia is an information processing difficulty. It affects reading and writing skills but it also affects other areas too. Learners with dyslexia, can experience differences with processing and remembering information whether spoken or written. It can affect attention, memory and processing and some people may also have difficulty with organisation and sequencing.
The Parent Experience
The truth is that often parents recognise that there is a difficulty before anyone else. Parents know their child best, however, sometimes this feeling is never voiced. Alternatively, some parents have been trying to tell school that there is something wrong but have felt not listened to. Parents often tell us ‘I knew there was something wrong in Year 1’.
This can be a source of real frustration and confusion. Lots of parents tell us that they have approached their school about it and feel unheard or that it has taken many years of school meetings to get their voice heard, resulting in lost years of support.
Every teacher wants the best for the students in their class, however, the child who is well behaved, bright and sometimes doesn’t retain their spellings can easily get overlooked. Adding to this, many teachers don’t understand dyslexia; the early warning signs and characteristics, and how it can present very differently with individual students.
Communication with your child’s school
If you, as a parent, do think there is something different about the way your child learns then of course, your first port of call should be your child’s school. Conversations with the class teacher initially are important and then asking for meetings with the SENCO in the school are paramount to feeling heard and getting support for your child.
Schools are usually doing their best and given enough resources, would absolutely put in the right support for students who are struggling. At best, this support often takes place with a group.
Students who are struggling with acquiring literacy skills often need the careful attention of a 1:1 specialist dyslexia tutor. This is because each student has different needs and has individual micro-gaps in their learning profile that need targeted (laser like) intervention rather than the broad-brush strokes of school intervention and assessments.
How can you identify dyslexia?
Identifying dyslexia early is really key as long as action is taken from the identification. Some schools offer a screening service, as do we here at Elite Tutors Sussex. We also offer specialist dyslexia teachers who can address your child’s individual differences. There are certainly some characteristics to be considered and are identifiable. For primary students some indicators might be:
- Difficulty in reading/writing/spelling
- Difficulty in finding the right word to describe things
- Mispronouncing words
- Finding following instructions hard
- Avoids reading / lacks reading enjoyment
- Lack of fluency in reading
- Difficulties with comprehension
- Persistent and marked difficulty with spelling
- Homework can be a huge battle
- Short term and /or working memory difficulty
- Spells as the word sounds
- Written work doesn’t reflect verbal ability
- Extreme tiredness at the end of the school day
- Low self-esteem
If your child is at secondary school, you may have experienced this during their primary years. In addition, key aspects to look out for at senior level are:
- Difficulty with written work- lots of errors/crossings out
- Finding it hard to take notes
- Finding it hard to complete tasks
- May write a lot but can get easily confused or goes off the point
- Spells the same word differently
- Disparity between verbal ability and written work
- Low self-esteem / sense of overwhelm.
At Elite Tutors Sussex, we believe that only specialist teaching that addresses individual needs is effective. In fact, it can be a false economy to take on a non-specialist if you are looking to make the most amount of progress in the shortest time. We offer both specialist dyslexia teachers and SENCOs with a vast amount of experience of dealing with these issues. We can work with your child’s school to move towards similar goals and open up lines of communication for the best possible outcomes for your child.
If you are concerned about your child’s progress, talk to us: we offer a free consultation and we have a specialist dyslexia tutor ‘hub’ offering over 15 specialist teachers to support your child. We are here to help; we are friendly, supportive and are passionate about helping students to learn to read, write and succeed.