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.

Wednesday 22 January 2020

Children with dyslexia don't need to struggle. They just need the right support.

As a new year begins and everything gets back to normal, many children with dyslexia will be back at school and getting used to feeling like failures again. It's sad but true.You see, it's fairly easy for these children during the holidays, easy to let them just get on and enjoy those things they're really good at, whether it's spending hours sketching or drumming, dancing or swimming. I know children who shine at all these things.

The trouble is, school is largely a place of words and numbers where additional skills such as following complex instructions and listening are required. These are things that many dyslexic children struggle with. The result is a child whose self esteem hits rock bottom the moment they walk into the classroom.

Children with dyslexia don't need to struggle to succeed
It doesn't have to be this way. With a few simple adjustments, the classroom can be a dyslexia friendly place. Here are a few easy changes that will cost your school next to nothing to implement:

1) Keep instructions concise; many dyslexics have poor working memory so will forget instructions if they are too long-winded.

2) Print handouts instead of expecting a child to copy from the board; whilst a child with dyslexia is copying from the board, they're not able to listen to what is being said. Also, many dyslexics make mistakes when copying   - which may lead to huge problems later when they try to complete the task.

3) Print handouts on off-white paper. Many dyslexics will find them easier to read.

4) Provide appropriate spellings for tests. Start with the high frequency word list. Give no more than ten words per week and make sure they all correspond to a word family e.g words with 'ay' in.

4) Provide dyslexia friendly reading books. It is really demoralising for a child to be faced with a 'baby' book simply because they struggle with reading. Books produced by companies such as Barrington Stoke match actual age to reading age so that the books interest the child.

5) Allow more time for a dyslexic child to complete their work and never use staying in at playtime as a sanction. They are doing their best.

Many schools will already be implementing these changes for their dyslexic pupils but many more won't be. It's not because they don't care. It's because they don't know. When I trained to teach twenty five years ago, dyslexia was mentioned once in my training. Things have improved a bit since then but remember, a lot of class teachers will have had little or no training on how to support dyslexic pupils.

So what can you do if your child isn't being supported and is feeling that sense of failure?

Well, firstly, does the school recognise that your child is dyslexic? If not then ask the class teacher about screening. Can they screen your child? Many schools will, some won't. If they are not prepared to screen (or if they do and you want a second opinion) then get a private screening done. A screening will highlight your child's dyslexic traits and whilst it is not a formal diagnosis, it is enough to get most children the initial help that they need.

I have had a lot of success screening children here in mid Wales. It makes me so happy when I hear of all the positive changes that have been put in place when parents take my report and recommendations back to school.

Remember as well that the law is on your side; if a school suspects that a child is dyslexic then they have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments in the classroom and to provide appropriate additional support (often referred to as 'interventions').  Depending on the results of a screening, the school may also refer your child to the LEA educational psychologist for a formal assessment.

Finally, if you can afford to, consider employing a specialist tutor. I first became interested in tutoring children with dyslexia after seeing how my friend turned her seven year old daughter's life around by getting her weekly lessons with a specialist tutor. Her daughter is grown up now, at art college in London and is reaching for the stars. Remember, children with dyslexia don't need to struggle. With the right support they will succeed.

Want to know more? Contact me today to get your child the help and support they need to succeed.


  1. Hi, your article is music to my ears. As a parent of a 9 year old who is struggling in south Wales could you advise 're specialist tutor? Thank you.

    1. Glad you found this helpful Gillian.I would suggest contacting Dyslexia Wales as they are based in South Wales. They should have a list.