Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that has proven to be quite common amongst a wide variety of people. It can cause problems with reading, spelling and even writing. This type of learning difficulty causes problems for the individual to be able to learn, read and write certain things. Having dyslexia doesn’t affect your intelligence in the slightest, it’s just your brain’s way of processing things differently. Dyslexia is something that can often have challenges that occur on a daily basis, which means it can be quite stressful. 

Signs of dyslexia

It’s always different in some people then it is in others, symptoms vary and not everyone has the same. But, someone who may have dyslexia usually will start to realise when they begin to start school and put all their focus into learning and learning the techniques of how to read and write. They might confuse their letters, read and write slowly, put letters the wrong way round, struggle with organisation, not spell things right, prefer being told information aloud rather than over a text.

In smaller children, they may have delayed speech, speech problems, problems with expressing themselves vocally, difficulty learning the alphabet. For school children, there are slightly more signs that become more apparent as they get to the ages of 5 onwards. They might have problems being able to understand and learn the names and sounds of letters, spelling words wrong, reading slowly or muddling up words, having difficulty writing anything down and slow writing speed.

For teenagers and adults, the signs can be anything from misspelt words, struggling to meet deadlines, not being able to remember certain numbers of letters, difficultly planning or writing things such as essays, finding it hard to revise for exams, preferring to talk verbally rather than over text and muddling up words in a sentence.

Causes

Those that have dyslexia find it difficult to be able to recognise certain sounds that makeup words and then relate to letters. There is not really any known cause for dyslexia other than the fact it most likely is genetic. It can run through families and there’s a certain gene that the individual inherits from their parents that may in turn act as a way of affecting some parts of the brain and how they develop in the early stages of pregnancy.

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Diagnosis

Depending on your age, there are different ways in which a professional will diagnose you with dyslexia. It varies for whether you’re a child that gets diagnosed early or whether you get diagnosed when you’re an adult. If you’re an adult and are finding many of the signs occurring in your daily life, then you will go through a very similar process with a professional. Which then you will be able to let any workplace or anyone know you have dyslexia and any requirements you have regarding that. To make sure you feel comfortable and are respected.

Identifying dyslexia when a child is younger can be very hard for the parents and teachers because most symptoms are not always that obvious. If you as a parent feel that your child is struggling with reading or writing in school and you’re concerned, speak to their teacher. If you feel like you need to take it further, then be sure to reach out to your GP.

It’s important to rule out any other medical condition or anything like that before continuing with the dyslexia assessment. If you want to proceed and have an assessment done to be sure, it’s always best to go to someone who specialises solidly with dyslexia and these types of professionals can often be found through your GP. Not only can they help diagnose the individual, but they can also help you as a parent and help understand the difficulties your child might face and how you can help them.

How the assessment works is that you and the school your child attends will be sent some kind of questionnaire that will ask questions in regards to your child and the issues they’re facing. This could be to do with their general health, how they go about completing certain tasks and things that you believe may need to change. The assessment will be based on observing your child in their own learning environment to really get to grips with dyslexia. It may examine their reading and writing abilities, logical reasoning, memory, organisation, approaches to learning, language development, speaking verbally and writing down and how quick or fast they speak.

When the assessment goes through, they will then receive what is known as a report which is what will then examine the strengths and weaknesses that your child has. In no way is it to belittle them, it’s to show you what they’re excelling in and then the things that they’re slightly struggling with. This helps the professional get a better understanding of the individual’s dyslexia. To be able to write up an action plan to give out to schools, then a healthcare plan may be drawn up which says what your child’s needs are. This will also give you the green light to let their school know they’ll need extra support and extra time in exams etc.

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Living with dyslexia

While there is no cure for dyslexia, there are ways that others can support you and ways they can help as well as you help yourself. There are so many specialists out there that can help anyone that is suffering from dyslexia and needs help with reading and writing or anything else. It is often easier if the diagnosis happens at a younger age.

There are a few ways in which in an educational environment, may help someone who has dyslexia. These can be by teaching a child to recognise and identify sounds in spoken words, combine letters together to create words, practise reading words, be able to monitor their own understanding while they read, learn what certain letters and numbers look like and put names to them. Use more visual aspects to help them learn if they prefer to work like that. Always taking it slow and going at a pace they feel comfortable with.

If you as a parent, are not sure if your child has dyslexia, it’s important to get an assessment just to make sure. If it comes back to say they do, it’s ok there are ways you can help them. Just know you must always be supportive and try not to get frustrated and be there for them. You can help by reading to your child, share reading by both reading sections, let them read the same book or learn the same thing over and over because this helps reinforce their understanding. You can also do some silent reading which enables them to read alone, make reading fun.

If you’re an older child that has dyslexia you may feel more comfortable working around computers rather than a book filled with words. Computers give of this more visual effect which is something that may interest you a lot more. A lot of pages use text-to-speech functions which means you can talk into the mic and it will write the words if that’s what you prefer. It’s ok to run your work through a spellchecker and it’s ok to use that speech function if that makes you feel better.

As an adult with dyslexia, the techniques used for older children can also be very relevant for adults. Using technology, word processors, speech functions and if you start to draw up a plan or making notes on a certain topic you may prefer to do something like a mindmap or something colourful. It may help you to read in a certain colour or font. For work purposes, let your employer know you have dyslexia, they’re required to make adjustments for you. They might provide assistance technology, give you instructions verbally rather than writing and allow you extra time.

There are always issues when it comes to having dyslexia and a lot of the time that can be to do with other people putting you down. Which then lowers your self-esteem and makes you feel dumb or a failure. People may patronise you and feel like they have power over you and you may begin to feel ashamed for the fact that you spelt something wrong or you muddled up your words but you shouldn’t. You then may start to put yourself down, you might procrastinate and give up on anything you wanted to do because you were scared what people would say. Often feeling worried about how people felt about you and the fact you had dyslexia, whether people would treat you differently.

It’s important to realise that you’re not a failure, you’re not worthless and you’re not any different from everybody else. Your brain just has a different way of processing these things and in fact, that makes you more creative. It’s your superpower, it makes you unique and it’s something you should embrace and if you mess up to learn from it. Turn the negative into a positive all the time and never be afraid to be yourself and never let people push you down.

This is an online questionnaire that may help you decide if you or your child might have dyslexia, see the outcome and then go to the next step and see a professional. Click here to view. 

If you’re looking for any online counselling or walk and talk therapy whether you’re a parent and you’re looking for your children. You yourself need it or you’re a student or anyone that is struggling at this time, then please do not hesitate to contact Becky. You can access contact details here. Check out the website for more information.

Call The Dyslexia Association on 0115 924 6888 or email Helpline@dyslexia.uk.net

Call British Dyslexia Association on 0333 405 4567

Call Dyslexia Action on 0178 222 304 or email them over on their website.

 

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