One in every ten children is dyslexic and many more struggle with reading and writing. Early intervention and a structured multi-sensory teaching programme can make all the difference. As a qualified teacher and member of the British Dyslexia Association, I have taught countless children to read and will help your child to become a confident and competent reader as well as helping them find ways to improve their writing and spelling.

Contact me today to find out how I can help you and your child.

Monday, 26 June 2017

When to screen for dyslexia

I've had a lot of enquiries recently about screening and when it is suitable to screen a child. In a lot of countries including Malaysia, Singapore, parts of Australia and many U.S states screening all children for dyslexia soon after they start school is routine. In Singapore there are moves to start screening pre-school children with pilot studies already underway. Despite all the evidence that early identification is the key to helping a dyslexic child, there are, sadly, no such plans for routine screening on the horizon in the U.K.

So, how do you know when to get your child screened? If there is a history of dyslexia in your family then it would be prudent to let the school know straight away and ask if they could screen your child as a matter of urgency. For children with no family history, then the signs to look out for are as follows:

  • A noticeable difference in your child's literacy progress compared to their peers - do they keep coming home with the same level reading book?
  • An obviously intelligent child who just doesn't seem to 'get' letters and words. They may also struggle with numbers and have problems organizing their time. You may wonder at first if they're just daydreaming...
  • Some gifted dyslexic children can master sight reading but then are unable to spell and may find writing difficult. This is can be referred to as 'stealth dyslexia' and often goes undetected ...
If you have concerns, then the first step is to raise it with the class teacher and the special needs coordinator (or equivalent). If they seem reluctant to do anything then you can always seek an independent screening test. 

Lots of charities like Dyslexia Wales, The British Dyslexia Association and Dyslexia Action offer screening services as well as individual specialist teachers. A screening test will not confirm dyslexia but it will tell you if your child has dyslexic tendencies and highlight where they need support. 

Many schools will suggest waiting and seeing if your child 'catches up' or 'gets it in the end' but you know your child. You know how many hours they have spent poring over that book, not understanding the contents. You know how upset and frustrated they are when they can't spell a simple word or when someone points out that they have written their letters back to front. 

If you're concerned, help is out there but you will probably have to ask for it.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The value of Screening

I recently did a screening for a young student just starting out in college. Her mum had always known something was wrong but successive schools had told her that her daughter was fine, that she would "go far". Once at college, it became clear that she was struggling. She couldn't keep up with her peer group, not because she didn't understand the work but because she didn't have the literacy and organisational skills to complete the written work effectively.
I did the screening - it revealed that she had a number of dyslexic tendencies - and when I gave them the results, it was very emotional. For the mum, there was guilt that she hadn't done something sooner mixed with relief that at last they had some kind of explanation as to why her obviously intelligent daughter had struggled so much. For the student herself, there was relief. After years of being told to "try harder" and being called lazy - something she had started to believe - she finally understood why she found reading and writing difficult.
They took the screening results to the college and at last the student got the support and help she deserved. It would be wonderful if all dyslexics were identified early (see my previous blog) but, when it comes to dyslexia, the old adage of "better late than never" applies...