Dyslexia is a mainstream learning difficulty and probably the most common, with 1 in 5 people showing signs. It is likely to be present at birth and the effects will be life-long.
Fortunately Dyslexia is not linked to the general intelligence of the person and with support, children will be able to achieve as much as they would have done without these problems.
Dyslexia mainly affects the brains memory and processing speed, impacting on the way people read, write and spell. People living with dyslexia can experience problems with the following:
• Phonological awareness – This is the process that is thought to be a key skill in early reading and spelling development. It is having the ability to identify how words are made up of smaller units of sound, known as phonemes.
• Verbal memory – Verbal memory is the ability to remember spoken information for a short period of time. For example, the ability to remember a short shopping list such as “milk, eggs and bread”, or a set of simple instructions, such as “Put on your gloves and your hat, find the lead for the dog and then go to the park.”
• Verbal fluency – This is the ability to name a series of colours, objects or numbers as fast as possible.
• Verbal processing speed – The time it takes to process and recognise familiar verbal information, such as letters and digits. For example, someone with a good verbal processing speed has the ability to quickly write down unfamiliar words when they are spelled out, or write down telephone numbers as they are told.
Although there are similar characteristics in people suffering from dyslexia, the severity of their symptoms can vary from mild tendencies to severe and the support they receive will need to adapt accordingly.
Articles contributed by VisionWorks
Development areas to encourage
Encouragement and plenty of time is needed for the child to use both artistic and kinaesthetic talents.
Playing games such as “Simon says” i.e. “Simon says touch your right foot” will encourage co-ordination and thought patterns.
Encourage your child to take up hobbies that s/he may feel comfortable and relaxed in, such as sport, drama or art lessons.
When communicating with someone who suffers from dyslexia ensure that you are always explicit. Children with this condition are often very literal and they will understand and therefore learn far more if you are always particularly clear.
Activities that they can engage with
Imagination and story telling – children with dyslexia may have struggles with reading and literacy but their imagination is still vivid and needs nurturing.
Role play and imaginative games can help develop imagination without requiring some of the skills that a dyslexic child may find difficult.