What is Dyslexia?
Approximately 1 in 10 people have dyslexia. This includes people with a variety of interests, skills and achievements. The musician Beethoven, the film producer Steven Spielberg, the car driver Jackie Stewart and the actor Whoopi Goldberg are just a few.
But dyslexia can affect a person’s skills in reading, writing and spelling. Reading may be effortful and lack fluency. A person with dyslexia may have lots of imaginative and original ideas and be able to express themselves very articulating orally but find it harder to write down their ideas. It may difficult to remember spellings even though they have been practised lots of time or to spell unfamiliar words.
Dyslexia also can affect a person's:
Phonological awareness – the ability to manipulate the sounds in language, for example, being able to identify all the sounds in words and write down the letters that represent them. This is a key skill needed for reading and spelling.
Speed of processing – the speed that they process and respond to new information and instructions.
Memory - recalling and manipulating information in their memory, for example, being able to carry out mental calculations, such as 7 + 4 – 3 where the numbers have to be held in the memory.
This video, made by the British Dyslexia Association, highlights some of the skills, abilities and challenges people with dyslexia may have. If your child has a diagnosis of dyslexia, they may find it helpful to watch it and discuss it with you.
In this video, children, young people and adults talk about the difference being dyslexic has had on their lives.
Tips for helping your child
Memory and processing -
Take time to read to and with your child so they can enjoy and discuss the books with you.
Listening to a story first will help to familiarise your child with the story so he/she will feel more confident when they come to read the book alone.
Rereading stories they enjoy will build their confidence and help them recall new words.
Find ways to practise spelling using different senses at the same time - be multisensory.
Use wooden or plastic letters to spell words, saying the letter names as the letters are placed down.
Put the letters for a word in a bag and see if your child can feel in the bag and pull out the letters in the correct order without looking.
Write the words large so your child can trace over the letters, saying the letter names as they write.