Early in­ter­ven­tion key to help child deal with dys­lexia is­sues

Fingal Independent - - OPINION - Valerie King

The Dys­lexia As­so­ci­a­tion of Ire­land de­fines dys­lexia as a spe­cific learn­ing dif­fi­culty af­fect­ing the ac­qui­si­tion of flu­ent and ac­cu­rate read­ing and spell­ing skills.

This oc­curs de­spite ac­cess to ap­pro­pri­ate learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

Dys­lexia is char­ac­terised by cog­ni­tive dif­fi­cul­ties in (1) phono­log­i­cal pro­cess­ing, (2) work­ing mem­ory, and (3) speed of re­trieval of in­for­ma­tion from long term mem­ory.

Dyslexic dif­fi­cul­ties oc­cur on a con­tin­uum from mild to se­vere and af­fect ap­prox­i­mately 10% of the pop­u­la­tion.

Peo­ple with dys­lexia may ex­pe­ri­ence greater stress and frus­tra­tion as they en­deav­our to learn, re­sult­ing in height­ened anx­i­ety, par­tic­u­larly in re­la­tion to lit­er­acy ac­qui­si­tion.

Peo­ple with dys­lexia may also have ac­com­pa­ny­ing learn­ing strengths. (www.dys­lexia.ie) Through­out my teach­ing ca­reer I have wit­nessed a num­ber of chil­dren strug­gle with dys­lexia.

Most schools do not like to be­gin as­sess­ment for dys­lexia un­til the child reaches 2nd class as very of­ten this is the class where chil­dren ‘catch up’ and read­ing ‘clicks’ and falls into place.

If it doesn’t by this stage, ap­pro­pri­ate mea­sures should be taken to be­gin ac­cess­ing sup­ports for your child.

It is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that there are a num­ber of in­di­ca­tors for dys­lexia and it is rare that your child will dis­play all of these.

In­di­ca­tors at the early stages of play school and pri­mary school may in­clude, dif­fi­culty pro­nounc­ing some, es­pe­cially multi-syl­labic words, dif­fi­culty sep­a­rat­ing spo­ken words into sounds and blend­ing spo­ken sounds, de­layed speech, slow to de­velop new vo­cab­u­lary, dif­fi­culty with rhyming, dif­fi­cul­ties learn­ing the alphabet and be­ing un­able to fol­low multi-step direc­tions.

The in­di­ca­tors dif­fer as the child pro­gresses through school, but if you spot any of them just keep note in a jour­nal so you can dis­cuss these with your child’s teacher.

In the mid­dle stages of pri­mary school dys­lexia may manifest it­self through slow, la­bo­ri­ous read­ing which seems to take a lot of ef­fort and tires your child, dif­fi­culty re­mem­ber­ing facts, bet­ter lis­ten­ing than read­ing com­pre­hen­sion and poor or­gan­i­sa­tional skills. Poor hand­writ­ing skills is also a sign of dys­lexia.

In the lat­ter stages of pri­mary school or the early stages of sec­ondary school, dys­lexia may present it­self in the fol­low­ing ways: lack of con­fi­dence, dis­lik­ing school, un­able to com­plete home­work, lack of in­ter­est in school, prob­lems tak­ing notes from the white­board and poor spell­ing and mem­o­ri­sa­tion skills.

It is es­sen­tial to seek help as early as pos­si­ble (2nd class) for your child if you sus­pect dys­lexia is present.

It can lead to very poor self con­fi­dence in a child if it is not spot­ted and ap­pro­pri­ate sup­ports are not put in place.

Early in­ter­ven­tion is es­sen­tial. Next week I will dis­cuss how as­sess­ment of dys­lexia takes place and how to ac­cess help and sup­port for your child.

TECH­NOL­OGY IS AD­DIC­TIVE, WE ALL KNOW THAT. EVEN AS ADULTS, MANY OF US FIND IT DIF­FI­CULT TO CON­TROL OUR SCREEN­TIME. NOW IMAG­INE HOW DIF­FI­CULT IT WOULD BE FOR A CHILD!

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