12 Possible Indicators of Dyslexia
(Glynis Roberts is a qualified teacher with over ten years experience of teaching children with Special Educational Needs and holds a post graduate diploma in Specific Learning Difficulties from the Institute of Education, University College, London. She is also an Associate Member of the British Dyslexia Association and a recognised specialist in Specific Learning Difficulties (Dyslexia), qualified to conduct dyslexia assessments and deliver specialist teaching programmes to pupils of primary and secondary age). She has recently launched an online resource aimed at parents who may be worried that their child may be dyslexic: Is Your Child Dyslexic?)
Every parent wants their child to be healthy, happy and to do well in life. Whilst, as parents, you have a lot of control over your child's health and quite a lot over their happiness, you have to hand over a great deal of the responsibility for their education and their happiness at school to their teachers.
This can be both a relief and a worry. A relief if your child seems to be happy at school and you are receiving positive feedback from the teacher about your child's progress. But what if that is not the case? Learning to read and write fluently is fundamental to our education system. Maybe you, yourself, sailed through school so now you have no idea what to do if your child is having difficulties in these areas. Or maybe you remember the difficulties you had learning to read and write and, even before your child enter Reception Class, you are worried that they may have similar problems.
If either of these situations applies to you, in this article I want to give you a brief definition of dyslexia and then to tell you the signs to look out for in your child which may, possibly suggest that they could have issues in this area and that it is a good idea to investigate further. As a specialist Dyslexia teacher and Assessor, I spend a lot of time talking to parents who are very worried about their children, which is why I created the 'Is Your Child Dyslexic?' online course.
What is Dyslexia?
It is estimated that up to one in ten people have Dyslexia in the UK, so in the average class of thirty children it is likely to affect around three children in some way.
The British Dyslexia Association (BDA) defines Dyslexia as 'a specific learning difficulty which mainly affects the development of literacy and language related skills. It is characterised by difficulties with phonological processing, working memory, processing speed and the automatic development of skills which may not match up to an individual's other cognitive abilities.'
So the condition of Dyslexia involves a lot more than the commonly held perception that it is just about getting b's and d's mixed up!
The Signs to look out for
When we are talking about possible indications of a learning difficulty, it is very, very important to remember that children are individuals and develop at their own pace. So if your child seems not to be developing as quickly as another child of the same age in a particular aspect, it certainly does not mean that there is automatically a problem.
However there are points to bear in mind. Even before your child starts school, it is worth paying attention if:
- . Someone else in the family is dyslexic
- . Your child's speech development is delayed
- . Your child seems to have problems with physical coordination
- . Your child has difficulty concentrating
- . Your child shows no interest in print
- . Your child does not learn to crawl before they learn to walk
If your child has exhibited any or many of these indications, you will certainly want to discuss this with your Health Visitor. Hearing and Vision checks are also very important.
Once your child starts school, there are further signs to consider:
- . Your child is not picking up the pre- reading and writing skills as expected.
- . Your child has very obvious 'good' and 'bad' days at school.
- . Your child seems especially tired after a day at school.
- . Your child seems to find school stressful.
- . Your child cannot remember a sequence of instructions and they have a poor sense of direction.
- . They take longer to complete written tasks than other children.
If you are concerned that your child might be having trouble in any of these areas, you will want to have a discussion with their teacher and decide how to proceed.
If you suspect that your child may have dyslexia, knowing what to look out for is the first step you can take to make sure they get the help they will need as early as possible. Children with dyslexia usually need support at different times during their school career and they learn differently from other children. There is no reason why they should not go on to have happy and very successful lives. As their parents, you will want to inform yourselves as much as you can about the condition so that you can support them on their journey.
For a full list, with details covering each point of the 'Signs to Look Out For', please visit Is Your Child Dyslexic where you can download my pdf check-list absolutely free, and with no obligation.