Dyslexia is a language based learning disorder
It is characterised by poor word reading and poor spelling activities, as well as deficits in awareness of sounds in words and manipulation of sounds to spell words.
It is important to remember that dyslexia is not due to intellectual inadequacy or to lack of socio-cultural opportunity, or to emotional factors. It tends to lessen as the child grows older and is capable of considerable improvement, especially when the appropriate help is offered at the earliest opportunity.
If left undiagnosed, a dyslexic child can put up with all sorts of negative labels such as lazy, naughty, lacking in concentration, daydreamer. Regardless of whether the child is consciously aware of criticism, they are likely to feel inadequate. It is therefore imperative for parents to build up a childâs self-esteem, to spend quality time with their child, and to give plenty of praise, emphasising positive attributes, and providing opportunities for self-reliance.
If you suspect dyslexia, trust your instinct and have your child assessed. The 1981 Education Act allows parents to request a free assessment (via the Education Department) but any concerns should first be discussed with teachers and your GP.
Once you know for certain that your child is dyslexic and to what degree, you can begin to overcome the problem. If the problem is mild, the school should offer support. Individually tailored work programmes, initiated on a one-to-one basis are ideal.
Help at school may be supplemented by a visit to an Education Psychologist. These people are trained to study how people behave, develop, learn communicate and think. They focus on how children learn and develop, and on their behaviour in the learning situation. Your child should be tested for cognitive skills including comprehension, reading, spelling, and maths as well as have an Intelligence test and psychometric tests.
Specialist training may be offered by a dyslexic therapist, or it may be worth considering a change of school. Some schools have a dyslexic unit, or there are specific schools designed only for dyslexics if the learning disabilities are severe. Specialist help is vital between the ages of 6 and 11 to enable your child to cope with secondary education and to avoid major behavioural problems developing. At examination time a certificate can be provided stating what concessions may be allowed to ensure marks are not unfairly low.
A number of teaching hospitals have clinics for children with specific learning difficulties, including dyslexia.
Alternative methods of treating dyslexia adopt a more holistic approach using a combination of benign natural techniques to balance many aspects of physical, physiological and mental problems in measured ways that are matched individually to each child. The Sunflower Trust examines the child's skeletal and muscular structure. The diagnostic techniques of Applied Kinesiology are used to test muscle reactions in order to uncover imbalances in the chemical and neurological systems. Treatment may include physical manipulation, dietary adjustments and nutritional supplements and the challenge and correction of destructive and repeated patterns of thought and reaction.
For further information contact:
The Hornsby International Dyslexia Centre
Tel: 020 7223 1144
The Sunflower Trust
Tel: 01483 267537