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Jane
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PostSubject: Dyslexia   Tue Dec 04, 2007 3:31 am

DYSLEXIA
The word dyslexia comes from the Greek and means difficulty with words.

Dyslexia refers to a specific language disorder in a child with normal intelligence. 4% of the primary school population is severely dyslexic. It is more common in boys and runs in families, suggesting that there may be a genetic component. The cause has not yet been found.

The reading age of a dyslexic child is likely to be more than two years behind that expected. The child will also have problems with writing and spelling and often with maths and other school subjects such as foreign languages. Their capacity to express themselves orally and interpret language they hear may also be affected.

Dyslexic children often love being read to but when asked to read aloud are inaccurate and laboured. Their handwriting and spelling can be poor and they often reverse letters at an age when they should have grown out of this and may spell oddly or write backwards. Because they cannot easily see numbers and letters in their correct sequence, interpreting letters on a page is hard for them, as is reading musical notation. Dyslexia occurs in varying degrees and dyslexics often have distinctive talents. This long list of Successful dyslexics from many different walks of life clearly shows that there is no limit to what a dyslexic child can achieve.

DIAGNOSIS
It is beneficial to diagnose dyslexia early, as the child will feel incapable and experience a loss of confidence and self-esteem – as these contributions from children with dyslexia illustrate.

An educational psychologist usually makes the diagnosis. Your child’s head teacher should be able to put you in contact with someone locally. A number of tests are done before the diagnosis is made, including of the child’s IQ (which is usually normal), and both the parents and the school should be involved in reaching the diagnosis. Once your child has been diagnosed, it is important to talk to someone experienced in dyslexia and find out what help is available at your child’s school and whether you may need to look for extra support. The links below will help to fill in any information gaps.

TREATMENT
This is organised by teachers with a special interest in dyslexia. Nowadays allowances are made in exams for dyslexia in children, as they have slower writing and poor spelling, and they are often able to do very well at school with extra help in the classroom and support from a specially trained teacher.

It is important to make sure that your child does not feel a failure as a result of dyslexia. Often, by the time the diagnosis is made, they have had several months or years of struggling at school. Make sure that their attainments are praised, and that they are not compared unfavourably with siblings or school friends. They may need extra help with homework and other school activities. It helps to find a hobby that they enjoy and are good at to rebuild confidence in their abilities. Depression can occur in children with learning difficulties so parents should always watch for this. Read about depression in our mental health section. If your child has dyslexia and is being teased at school, look at our section on bullying.

The aim of treatment is to get the child enjoying their reading and writing again, achieving at school and generally feeling confident and happy.

A full description of dyslexia, its diagnosis and treatment can be found on the following websites:

British Dyslexia Association (Helpline 0118 966 8271)

Lots of useful information for parents, including help with diagnosing dyslexia, finding private tutition and choosing a school plus advice about making special arrangements for dyslexics in assessments and exams. The BDA education factsheets concentrate on the areas of the curriculum which pose particular difficulties for dyslexics. A current contact list for Local Dyslexia Associations is also available.

Dyslexia Institute

Focuses on assessment and teaching of dyslexics as well as training specialist teachers. The information on this site in practical and clearly set out - read up on Recognising Dyslexia, Dyslexia FAQs and their Helpful Hints.

British Dyslexics

Comprehensive and user-friendly website which tackles the key issues faced by parents of a dyslexic child. Many will find invaluable their clear explanations and guidance on the question of statutory assessment (with blueprints for letters to your child’s school and LEA) plus the SEN tribunal and code of practice.

International Dyslexia Association

A US-based organisation with message boards for parents and teens (with a link to a kids-only site in the children section). Dyslexia Basics gives a good overview of the subject.

George’s Links – Dyslexia offers research information and links to further dyslexia resources

The Dyslexic.com website advises on computers and programmes to help dyslexics and sells the recommended products online.
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