Adapted from Dyslexia Scotland “What is Dyslexia”
In 2009, the Scottish Government, Dyslexia Scotland and the Cross Party Group on Dyslexia in the Scottish Parliament agreed a working definition of dyslexia:
Dyslexia can be described as a continuum of difficulties in learning to read, write and/or spell, which persist despite the provision of appropriate learning opportunities.
These difficulties often do not reflect an individual’s cognitive abilities and may not be typical of performance in other areas.”
It is not unusual for younger children to have these difficulties:
- Can be very creative and enjoy practical tasks
- Strong visual thinking skills, for example, see or think in 3D, visualise structure from plans
- Good verbal skills and social interaction
- Good at problem solving, thinking outside the box, seeing the whole picture
Possible areas of development
- Problems with reading, taking notes, remembering numbers, names and details
- Difficulty with time keeping, managing time, organising work
- Short-term memory problems, sequencing difficulties, for example, following/giving instructions, directions
Concerns should only be raised if the difficulties continue and/or do not change when supported.
- Use paired reading where you and your child can read words out loud together in a relaxed way.
- Use rewarding activities to praise good attempts.
- If homework is becoming a battle try to find out why in a calm way or leave until later on in the evening.
- However, if you are unable to get your child to engage leave it and discuss with the school
Keep talking to the school
- Discuss progress you have noted as well as any concerns with the class teacher and additional support needs (ASN) co-ordinator.
- Agree what is an appropriate method of recording information for homework, for example, mind maps, dictaphone, bullet points.
- Discuss supports which have been put in place and how you can support these at home
- Keep calm. Dealing with homework after a day at school can be tricky. Allow time to relax before starting any homework
- Identify a quiet clutter free place to do homework
- Set a routine with room for flexibility around after-school activities
- Use a visual planner of tasks to be done and tick off when completed
- Chunk homework into manageable bits and set a time limit with a break in between
- Collect useful materials like paper, pens, pencils, ruler,calculator, number square, text books and keep them together in a ‘homework box/ folder’
- Encourage/praise him/her for what he/she does well
- Remember, mistakes are okay
Identification and support
Identifying and assessing dyslexia is an ongoing process.
Information is gathered over a period of time through classroom observations, looking at the child’s/young person’s work and class based assessments rather than a single test.
Discussion and working together is a key part of the assessment process and participants may include School ASN Co-ordinator, Class Teacher, Parents, East Ayrshire Support Team (EAST) and the Education Psychologist.
Gathered evidence is discussed and appropriate supports are put in place.
Progress is reviewed regularly.
Possible school supports
- Handouts rather than copying
- Paired reading
- Extra time
- Memory aid cards and word banks
- Alternative ways to record information
Talking to your child about dyslexia
It can be helpful for children and young people to understand that dyslexia is a learning difference, it is not that he/she has something wrong with them but they learn in a different way.
Being told that you are dyslexic can be a relief and help children/young people understand why they find certain things more difficult.
It can be helpful to explain that dyslexia:
- is common and other people in school,and maybe even others in their class, or in the family are dyslexic
- does not mean they are ‘stupid’. Everyone learns differently and have things they find tricky and things which are easier for them
- is something that people are born with however there are support strategies that may help you cope better
- should not hold them back. It can be helpful to research and talk about famous people who are dyslexic and have gone on to have very successful careers despite their difficulties, for example, Jamie Oliver
Reassure them that everyone is different and without our individual differences the world would be a very boring place.
Useful links and resources explaining dyslexia
Information and support for children and young people with dyslexia:
Information to encourage and enable people with dyslexia, regardless of their age and abilities, to reach their potential:
- Dyslexia Scotland
- What is Dyslexia? (Alan Hultquist, 2008). Explains dyslexia, for children and adults to use together - ISBN: 9781843108825
- Dyslexia – Talking it Through (Althea Braithwaite, 2003). Styled cartoon storybook for younger children - ISBN: 9781903285558
General resources about dyslexia
- Dyslexia Scotland leaflets
- CALL Scotland - Communication, Access, Literacy and Learning. Website with information and support to overcome barriers to learning.
- Dyslexia: A Parent’s Survival Guide by Christine Ostler - ISBN: 9781869866136
- Overcoming Dyslexia by Beve Hornsby - ISBN: 9780091813208
- How to Help your Dyslexic and Dyspraxic Child: A Practical Guide for Parents by Sally McKeown - ISBN: 9781905410965
- The Everything Parent’s Guide to Children with Dyslexia: All you need to ensure your child’s success by Jody Swarbrick - ISBN: 9781593371357
- Dyslexia and Us: A collection of personal stories by Dyslexia Scotland