Frequently Asked Questions
Sixteen Frequently Asked Questions
1. What are some of the early signs of dyslexia?
Children may have articulation difficulties or slow speech development. They may have difficulty with rhyme, or remembering anything sequential e.g. nursery rhymes. You may notice some difficulty with fine motor skills.
2. How common is dyslexia?
According to the International Dyslexia Association 15-20% of people are dyslexic. “Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties.” It is always wise to have hearing and vision screened if a child is experiencing difficulty with these tasks before arranging for an assessment.
3. Can dyslexia be cured?
Dyslexia cannot be cured, but strategies can be learned for overcoming it. Targeted, specific instruction will remove many of the struggles that students face.
Dyslexics will also benefit from accommodations and the use of assistive technology such as text to speech and spell-check software.
4. Are boys more likely to be dyslexic than girls?
While it may appear so, research shows that there is an almost equal proportion of boys and girls with dyslexia. More boys may be recognized and assessed because they tend to act out more and present with behavioral problems while girls may try to cover up their difficulties.
5. At what age can dyslexia be diagnosed?
Most Educational Psychologists will not give a diagnosis of dyslexia until age 7.However, there is no need to wait for a formal diagnosis to begin intervention.
The Association’s trained teachers can screen children from the age of 5. This screening looks at the underlying skills that are necessary for the seamless acquisition of reading, and will help the tutor plan the teaching programme.
All children do not attain developmental goals at the same ages. Be patient and observe whether the difficulties are improving with time or if they are persisting.
6. How do I go about getting my child tested for dyslexia?
For a diagnosis of dyslexia, a person must be assessed by an Educational-psychologist. This can be done privately (you can contact the Dyslexia Association for a list of Educational-psychologists). OR the school can refer your child to the Student Support Services of the Ministry of Education.
7. Is there a spectrum of Dyslexia from slight to moderate to severe?
Yes, dyslexia can be mild to severe. If the dyslexia is severe, difficulties will begin to show up early, for example, learning letter sounds, putting 2-letter sounds together to make a word, difficulty with rhyming, skipping or clapping out a rhythm.
If the dyslexia is not as severe the child may manage well in the Infant classes but begin to fail as the work gets more difficult and those demons of English begin to rear their head: words like though and through and thorough, were and where, and so on.
Some dyslexics may cope well in Primary school, and the dyslexia only becomes apparent when they have to plan and write longer essays in Secondary School or at University.
8. My child knows the letter sounds but can’t put them together to make a word.
This is a difficulty with blending sounds together and is quite common with dyslexics. You can train this blending skill by using a picture book or magazine and ask the child to point to the (h)-(or)-(s), or the (d)-(u)-(k) using the sounds in the word. You can also play “I spy with my little eye a (d)-(o)-(g) or a
9. My child doesn’t seem to be hearing the sounds in words.
Firstly, it is important to have the child’s hearing screened. However, the problem is just as likely to be a difficulty with phonological awareness (the awareness of sounds, and the sequence of sounds in a word; and the ability to play around with those sounds). This is a core difficulty for dyslexics. The Association runs a programme that trains phonological awareness – NOW! (Neuro-development of Words) Foundations for Speech, Reading, and Spelling.
10. Can children with dyslexia learn in the same learning environment e.g. regular school?
Dyslexia makes it very difficult for a student to succeed in school without specific phonics-based multi-sensory instruction in reading and spelling. However, once the child is being supported in this way he/she can do very well in the regular classroom and even up to University level. Contact the Dyslexia Association for a tutor in your area.
11. Do dyslexia and ADHD go hand in hand?
While many dyslexics may have ADHD, it does not cause dyslexia. Children with ADHD may have reading and spelling difficulties because of their inattention but that does not necessarily mean they are dyslexic.
Dyslexics can exhibit task-specific attention problems as well. They may be able to bring good attention to Math for instance, but will begin to fidget during reading class or if they have a lot of writing to do. They may suddenly ask for more bathroom breaks for example. This should signal to us that the task is too difficult and the distractibility should improve as remediation progresses.
12. Is it ever too late to get help for Dyslexia?
While it is best to start remediation as soon as problems are recognized, it is never too late to get the help one needs. It simply means that it may take longer to bridge the gap.
We put the following questions to counselling psychologist, Aisha Perry.
13. Should my child repeat their grade/standard or move up?
Such a decision can only be taken after parents have had discussions with the child, teachers and/or principal to have an understanding of the specific challenges affecting the child’s performance. Keep in mind that children like to succeed and repeating can be an opportunity to revisit concepts that your child had difficulty with. Make sure that your child obtains the necessary remedial support that he/she needs.
Be sure to include your child in the discussion and help manage their concerns associated with being ‘left behind’, while their peers move ahead.
14. My child has a Learning Difficulty. He finds all academic tasks difficult and thinks that he is not smart. What can I do to get him over this mindset and get him/her to enjoy learning?
Identify and celebrate your child’s natural talents and strengths, and in instances when giving critical feedback try highlighting something specific that your child did well before addressing what needs to be corrected.
Help your child identify highly successful local and international dyslexic role models. This may help dispel your child’s concept that he/she isn’t smart and can’t succeed, and may stimulate their own career goals. Once they have a goal of their own, it may be easier to get them to work towards this goal in spite of the academic challenges they encounter.
15. How does dyslexic child cope with the stress of SEA?
Obtain the appropriate accommodations, where necessary. These may include extra time. Ask the relevant authority at your child’s school to conduct the necessary assessments to determine if concessions are needed and which ones are best suited to your child’s needs.
Make sure that you child continues with extra-curricular activities, and that there is enough time for play.
Pinpoint the specific aspects of the exam that cause your child to feel anxious. Having a better understanding of your child’s specific concerns can help you make a more effective plan.
Ensure that your child knows what to expect in the exam by having him/her do practice tests.
Study in chunks i.e. manageable portions at a time. This can help make the preparation more manageable as your child may need lots of repetition over time.
Encourage your child to do their best. Have your son/daughter understand that they will succeed no matter what the outcome of the test and that your love and support for them is unconditional.
16. My child often is distracted and forgets to complete regular tasks. How can I help?
Acknowledging that there is a problem is the first step. You can help your child by breaking the task up into small steps. Create a sequence chart for your child to follow, so that they can have visual prompts as to what comes first and what comes after. Reinforce this sequence by providing verbal prompts to trigger child’s memory such as “First we do…then”, while allowing the child to fill in the blanks.