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What Is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning difficulty which may affect a child’s ability to develop their reading, writing or spelling skills. There is no cure, but there are ways to manage the symptoms to help dyslexic people to live a normal life.

Table of Contents

What are the symptoms of Dyslexia?

Dyslexia can be diagnosed at any age, but symptoms can develop from as early as pre-school age. Younger children who have Dyslexia may show a delay in developing their speaking or reading skills, an ability to express themselves verbally or even a reluctance to learn the alphabet. Young children with Dyslexia may also show a lack of ability to grasp other types of language, such as nursery rhymes. 

Dyslexia is likely to become more noticeable as a child gets older, as symptoms will become more obvious when they are learning to read and write. After the age of about five-years-old, children with this learning difficulty may begin to show signs such as poor handwriting, inconsistent spelling ability, or a contrast between their ability to communicate verbally (which they may have no trouble with) and in writing (which may be a struggle).

A common trait for Primary or Secondary school children, is that the words they are reading may seem blurred or appear to move around. This may cause difficulties with reading aloud, such as in class or at a school concert.

There is no known cure for Dyslexia. It will sometimes not be detected until a person is a teenager, or even an adult. Some signs that a teenager has Dyslexia may include difficulty with producing written work, such as essays and assignments at school. For adults, any difficulties producing letters or reports (particularly for deadlines) at work may indicate Dyslexia.

Dyslexia Causes

It is not known what causes Dyslexia, but it will often be inherited from parents or other family members who have the learning difficulty.

Dyslexia Diagnosis

child psychologist helping kid with dyslexia

A diagnosis will be provided by an Educational Psychologist. The earlier that a diagnosis is received, the more the child is likely to benefit from methods of managing the condition, such as a classroom assistant or external support outside of their classes.

Gaining a diagnosis will take a few weeks, simply because there will be several steps involved. These steps will start with a conversation with the child’s teacher to discuss any concerns about their behaviour or symptoms. There will also be a questionnaire about the child’s overall health, to get a clearer impression of the situation. It is important to be aware that the symptoms of Dyslexia can overlap with other conditions such as ADHD, or even problems with their hearing or sight.

 

The Educational Psychologist will conduct an assessment, usually through a mixture of observing the child’s ability in class, often followed by giving the child small tasks designed to test their reading and writing ability.

The outcome of the assessment will be via a report which will highlight any areas where the child appeared weaker than their peers, as well as an outline of their overall strengths and weaknesses. These findings will then be used to provide suggestions on how the school and the child’s parents can help to manage the condition. In some cases, it will be possible to transfer the child to a Special Educational Needs establishment, to give them a higher level of specalised help.

Why Is A Diagnosis Critical?

In short, the earlier in life that a child can begin to manage their symptoms, the better. The extra help they receive will help them to overcome any disadvantages they may have otherwise been faced with, particularly if they are not initially at a Special Educational Needs school.

Dyslexia Treatment

For young children, there are some very simple methods for managing their condition. Encouragement will go a long way, and so even small activities like reading with your child and discussing the book with them will be helpful, and it will provide a platform for them to take an interest in reading.

For older children, teenagers and even adults, it may be beneficial to allow them to use a computer or a tablet, as they may find this much easier to learn from. Programs such as Microsoft Word have got the ability to highlight spelling mistakes, giving the learner continuous, constructive feedback and helpful pointers.

Conclusion

In summary, Dyslexia is a lifelong learning difficulty which affects the development of a person’s reading and writing skills. It is commonly detected at an early age, but it is also possible for people to be diagnosed as a teenager or even an adult. There is no cure for Dyslexia, but there are many methods available to allow individuals to manage the condition and to lead a happy, healthy life.

FAQs

Dyslexia is common, and at least 15% of the population have some symptoms. But there are several different types of dyslexia, due to the varying nature of the condition:

Double Deficit Dyslexia is where two different types of dyslexia are present. People with the Double Deficit type will often have difficulty breaking words down into smaller sounds (e.g., the word “Shop” becomes “Sh-op”), and they may also struggle with reading related difficulties such as listing letters and numbers from a page of information.

Primary Dyslexia is genetic. People with this type of dyslexia will commonly have trouble identifying letters and numbers, and they may also struggle with reading, writing and math.

There are also several other types of Dyslexia such as Auditory Dyslexia, Secondary Dyslexia and Visual Dyslexia.

Dyslexia is not officially a form of autism, although they have a few overlapping traits, and people can often be diagnosed with both conditions during their lifetime.

As with many learning difficulties, frustration is commonly observed amongst dyslexic people. This is likely to be because of the limitations that the condition can put on the sufferer, particularly in comparison with the people around them. While much of the frustration can go towards their school and teachers, if a dyslexic person has friends who are not affected by the same condition, it is possible for the sufferer to experience frustration if they feel that their friends are better than them at activities such as reading or writing.