What is Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a language-based disability in which a person has trouble understanding written words, reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words (decoding). It may also be referred to as a reading disability or reading disorder, it affects the part of the brain that processes language.

What are the common features of dyslexia?

  • The child may have difficulty with spelling.
  • The child may be intelligent, and be do well in other areas, but struggles with reading at their expected level.
  • They may struggle with comprehension of the written work.
  • They may have problems identifying words.

Common difficulties often (but not always) experienced by those with dyslexia:

Nursery school children: Evidence that dyslexia may be present include:

  • Delayed language and speech production.
  • Producing speech sounds and pronouncing words.
  • Learning rhymes and identifying rhymes.
  • Learning shapes and colours.
  • May have difficulty writing his/her own name.

Re-telling a sequence of events or a story in the correct order.

School Children: Evidence that dyslexia may be present include

  • They may struggle with simple spelling.
  • They may consistently reversing letters and numbers.
  • They are often unable to discriminate with Left right.
  • Organisation can be a challenge.
  • Learning to telling the time may be difficult.
  • They may struggle with copying from the board. 
  • They may have difficulty remembering or understanding things they have just read.
  • They may have difficulty remembering or understanding what they have just heard.
  • They may repeat “parrot” what they have just been told.
  • The child may writing what they think is being said rather than what has been said.
  • They may struggle to follow instructions.

Some strategies that support the child with dyslexia:

  • Allow extra time for work to be completed (it takes for a child with dyslexia to read and interpret the information).
  • They child should be given repeated exposure to the same task, this may be significantly more times than their peers.
  • Where possible use visual cues and simple step by step instructions, rather than long verbal instructions.
  • Using visual prompts wherever possible (i.e. pictures, not word lists, to help with organisation).
  • The child with dyslexia will need continued practice of learned skills, before moving on to new task.

Therapy approaches and activities that can support the individual or their carers include:

  • New tasks should be presented using a multi-sensory approach, i.e. use as many different senses as possible to help the child retain the information e.g.  Sight, auditory, hands on doing and speaking.
  • Provide visual prompts for both instructions and organisation.
  • Help the child develop their skills (or components within a skill set) using visual cues.
  • Use visual strategies to assist with reading and spelling e.g. colour coding paper, bigger font size, reduce background images so only the relevant information is presented etc. 
  • Use visual modelling alongside verbal instruction.
  • Teach explicit letter formation practice this repeatedly, in order to help build muscle memory, rather than rely on visual skills.