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Helping your child with Dyslexia

Helping your child with Dyslexia
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It is estimated that around 10% of the British population are affected by dyslexia. If you suspect that your child may be one of them then you’ll be keen to get a diagnosis. The earlier children are diagnosed with the condition the better, as their treatment will be more effective.

What is dyslexia?

Although dyslexia is classed as a learning difficulty, it has nothing to do with intelligence. Clever people are just as likely to experience dyslexia as their less intelligent peers. People with dyslexia usually struggle to read and spell words. It is a spectrum disorder, which means symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Diagnosis

It can be difficult to determine whether or not a young child is dyslexic as the signs are not always obvious. However, if you have concerns you should speak to your child’s teacher in the first instance. It’s also worth having your child checked over for health problems such as vision or hearing problems, which may be affecting her ability to learn to read and write. If additional support in school isn’t helping and there are no underlying medical issues then your child may go for further assessments. These will involve a specialist observing your child in her learning environment and will take in all aspects of her learning. You’ll then be given a report detailing your child’s strengths and weaknesses along with suggestions of what can be done to help her.

Once you have a diagnosis of dyslexia it can be difficult to know how to help your child. While reading, writing and spelling are often left to the class teacher; parents can offer their children valuable help in dealing with the condition.

Expectations

Giving your child realistic expectations will help her reach her goals without becoming too disappointed if she doesn’t do well in her reading. For example, if your child is talented at music or history then make it clear you have high expectations in those subjects. However, knowing English can be tricky for her you can lower those expectations for that topic. Knowing she is working to the best of her ability in all subjects will help your child appreciate her achievements, at whatever level they are at.

Comprehension

Sometimes dyslexic children can read the words of a text perfectly but that doesn’t mean it’s going in. When reading with your child*, take some time now and again to discuss what’s going on and make sure she understands the words she reads. Different people have different ways of doing this but you might want to try reading sentences over again, visualising what’s happening or reading aloud.

Helping your child with Dyslexia

Be patient

You may find you have to explain things more than once to a dyslexic child. At first this can be grinding but you’ll soon get into the habit of it. Ask your child to repeat a task back to you to make sure she knows what she’s been asked to do. You should also make time to speak to your child about her condition so that she can be open about any difficulties or questions she might have.

Signs to look out for

If you notice your child is becoming more withdrawn, is less motivated or experiences mood swings, it could be a sign that she could use a boost in self-esteem. It can be easy for children with dyslexia to feel like they’re falling behind their classmates so reassure her that’s she’s working hard and doing really well. It’s also worth having a chat with the class teacher so she can offer more encouragement and keep an eye on the child.

Dyslexia is a lifelong condition but assessment and treatment can minimise the impact it has on your child.

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About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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