Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Dyslexia

I don't know whether you know or not but
Little Red has been diagnosed
as Dyslexic.

Below are just a few of the things
that you might want to look out for.
(the information is from the NHS website)

  • A person with dyslexia has difficulty "decoding" words 
  • phonological awareness
               Phonological awareness is thought to be a key skill in early reading and spelling                          development. It is the ability to identify how words are made up of smaller units of                  sound, known as phonemes. Changes in the sounds that make up words can lead to                  changes in their meaning.
               So, for example, a child with a good level of phonological awareness would                                  understand that if you change the letter "p" in the word "pat" to "s", the word would                 become "sat".

  • verbal memory
               Verbal memory is the ability to remember a sequence of verbal information for a                       short period of time.
                For example, the ability to remember a short list such as "red, blue, green", or a set                 of simple instructions, such as "Put on your gloves and your hat, find the lead for                       the dog and then go to the park."

  • verbal processing speed
             Verbal processing speed is defined as the time it takes to process and recognise                         familiar verbal information, such as letters and digits.
              For example, having difficulty writing down unfamiliar words when they are spelled                out, or telephone numbers.


Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a common type of specific learning difficulty that mainly affects the skills involved in the reading and spelling of words.

A person with dyslexia has difficulty "decoding" words despite appropriate learning opportunities. This difficulty will also be significantly greater than for other areas of learning.

Dyslexia should be recognised as a spectrum disorder, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. In particular, people with dyslexia have difficulties with:

  • phonological awareness
  • verbal memory
  • verbal processing speed
These terms are explained in more detail below.

Phonological awareness

Phonological awareness is thought to be a key skill in early reading and spelling development. It is the ability to identify how words are made up of smaller units of sound, known as phonemes. Changes in the sounds that make up words can lead to changes in their meaning.

So, for example, a child with a good level of phonological awareness would understand that if you change the letter "p" in the word "pat" to "s", the word would become "sat".

Verbal memory

Verbal memory is the ability to remember a sequence of verbal information for a short period of time.

For example, the ability to remember a short list such as "red, blue, green", or a set of simple instructions, such as "Put on your gloves and your hat, find the lead for the dog and then go to the park."

Verbal processing speed

Verbal processing speed is defined as the time it takes to process and recognise familiar verbal information, such as letters and digits.

For example, having difficulty writing down unfamiliar words when they are spelled out, or telephone numbers.

Dyslexia and intelligence

Even though dyslexia is classed as a learning difficulty, there is no connection between dyslexia and a child’s intelligence. Children of all intellectual abilities, from low to high intelligence, can be affected by dyslexia.

Similarly, a child’s difficulty with reading and spelling is not determined by their intelligence, but by how severe their dyslexia is. Children with average intelligence and mild dyslexia are likely to be more skilled at reading and writing than children with high intelligence and severe dyslexia.

Read more information about the symptoms of dyslexia.

How common is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is thought to be one of the most common learning difficulties. It is estimated that 4%-8% of all schoolchildren in Wales and England have some degree of dyslexia.

Dyslexia appears more common in boys than girls. For example, it is estimated boys are one-and-a-half to three times more likely to develop dyslexia than girls.

Dyslexia affects people of all ethnic backgrounds, although a person’s native language can play an important role. A language where there is a clear connection between how a word is written and how it sounds, and consistent grammatical rules, such as in Italian and Spanish, can be more straightforward for a person with mild to moderate dyslexia to cope with.

However, languages such as English, where there is often no clear connection between the written form and sound, as in words such as "cough" and "dough", can be more challenging for a person with dyslexia.

Identifying dyslexia

It can be difficult to diagnose dyslexia in young children as the signs may not always be obvious. If you are concerned your child has dyslexia, the first step is to speak to their class teacher, or other staff at their school.

If additional teaching and support are not helping your child’s reading and writing skills to improve, your school may request a more in-depth assessment. It is also possible to request an assessment through other organisations if necessary.

Adults who wish to be assessed for dyslexia can visit their local Dyslexia Action Centre.

Read more about how dyslexia is diagnosed.

The cause (or causes) of dyslexia is unknown. However, many experts think the condition is probably caused by genetic factors that affect the normal development of certain areas of the brain.

Read more about the causes of dyslexia.

Treatment and support

Although there is currently no cure for dyslexia, a range of educational programmes and interventions has proven effective in improving reading and writing skills in many children with the condition.

The outlook for dyslexia is highly variable. Around 95% of children respond well to educational interventions and go on to make moderate-to-good progress with reading and writing. The remaining 5% of children continue to find reading and writing difficult and will require more intensive support and long-term assistance.

Although children with dyslexia face challenges on a day-to-day basis, even children who have severe dyslexia can go on to lead full and productive lives.

Read more about how dyslexia is treated.

As well as national dyslexia charities such as Dyslexia Action and the British Dyslexia Association (BDA), there are several local dyslexia associations (LDAs). These are independently registered charities which run workshops and help to provide local support and access to information.

You can find your local LDA on the BDA website.

Skills of people with dyslexia

Functional brain imaging studies have shown that people with dyslexia make more use of the right hemisphere of their brain, which is involved in more creative aspects of thought. This means people with dyslexia often:

  • have good verbal skills
  • have good social skills
  • are able to think laterally and solve problems by making unexpected connections (they may be able to solve complex problems without being aware of how they came to the solution)
  • are able to understand the "big picture"
  • have good visual reasoning and awareness skills
Symptoms

The symptoms of dyslexia can differ from person to person, and each person with the condition will have a unique pattern of strengths and weaknesses.

Preschool children

In some cases, it may be possible to detect symptoms of dyslexia before a child starts school.

Possible symptoms include:

  • delayed speech development in comparison with other children of the same age
  • speech problems, such as not being able to pronounce long words properly and "jumbling" up phrases – for example, saying "hecilopter" instead of "helicopter", or "beddy tear" instead of "teddy bear"
  • problems expressing themselves using spoken language, such as being unable to remember the right word to use, or putting together sentences together incorrectly
  • little understanding or appreciation of rhyming words, such as "the cat sat on the mat", or nursery rhymes
  • difficulty with, or little interest in, learning letters of the alphabet
Early school years

Symptoms of dyslexia in children aged five to seven include:

  • problems learning the names and sounds of letters
  • spelling that is unpredictable and inconsistent
  • problems copying written language
  • poor phonological awareness
  • Poor phonological awareness

Phonological awareness is the ability to recognise that words are made up of smaller units of sound (phonemes) and that changing and manipulating phonemes can create new words and meanings.

A child with poor phonological awareness may not be able to correctly answer these questions:

What sounds do you think make up the word "hot" and are these different from the sounds that make up the word "hat"?
What word would you have if you changed the "p" sound in "pot" to a "h" sound?
How many words can you think of that rhyme with the word "cat"?
Word attack skills

Young children with dyslexia also have problems with "word attack skills". This is the ability to make sense of unfamiliar words by looking for smaller words, or collections of letters, such as "ph" or "ing", that a child has previously learnt.

For example, a child with good word attack skills may read the word "sunbathing" for the first time and gain a sense of the meaning of the word by breaking it down into "sun", "bath", and "ing".

Middle school years

Symptoms of dyslexia in children aged 7 to 12 include:

  • slow reading speed
  • problems with the correct spelling of words
  • problems understanding and recognising new words: for example, children with dyslexia may have problems with school subjects that introduce them to technical terms, such as science subjects
Teenagers and adults

Symptoms of dyslexia in teenagers include:

  • slow writing speed
  • poorly organised written work which lacks expression: for example, even though an older child may be very knowledgeable about a certain subject, they may have problems expressing that knowledge in writing
  • problems with reading fluency: reading fluency is the ability to read text smoothly, rapidly and automatically, without having to use any, or little, conscious effort
Dyslexia in adults

It may be possible for someone with dyslexia to reach adulthood without the condition being properly identified. Signs that you may have dyslexia include:

  • trying to avoid reading and writing whenever possible
  • trying to conceal difficulties you have reading and writing from other people
  • poor spelling
  • poor time management and organisational skills
  • relying on memory and verbal skills, rather than reading or writing
Associated symptoms of dyslexia

There are several associated symptoms of dyslexia. While they are not directly connected to reading or writing, they can affect some people with dyslexia. They include:

  • problems with number skills, such as counting, comparing two sets of numbers or carrying out sums in their head
  • poor short-term memory
  • problems concentrating
  • short attention span
  • organisation and time-management problems
  • physical coordination problems: some people with dyslexia can appear unusually clumsy, and younger children can find it difficult to carry out tasks that require a degree of physical coordination, such as tying their shoelaces
I hope you'll take the time to read this as I didn't know half the things to look out for. If I had of known I would of been able to tell people my son was dyslexic from the age of five. He is seven now and has only just been diagnosed.

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