Helping dyslexic children thrive in the classroom

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According to the British Dyslexia Association, 10 per cent of the population are dyslexic and four per cent severely so.

In broad terms, dyslexia is mainly a language-based learning disability.

Those affected have problems acquiring and retaining literacy skills such as reading, writing and spelling.

It is now widely accepted that dyslexia can also affect a number of other areas including memory, organisation, concentration and even balance.

Reading and writing is essential when it comes to the intellectual development of a child.

But if a child has literacy problems like dyslexia, this development becomes even more challenging.

The affect of this neuro-logical condition on the individual can have serious social implications too, since it can severely affect self-esteem and confidence.

Though dyslexia is categorised as a disability, if you see the signs and catch it early enough, using the right tools and techniques, your child should have a good chance of developing at the same pace as every other pupil.

Some signs to look out for are poor concentration or being easily distracted, if their performance in class is below average compared to their classmates, if they struggle with their ‘b’s and ‘d’s, ‘p’s and ‘q’s and use them the wrong way round, difficulty following instructions, especially written ones and missing words or adding words that are not there when reading aloud.

You might notice a marked inefficiency in the working or short-term memory system or difficulties ordering or sequencing; this may also show itself as clumsiness caused by the brain sending the wrong signals to parts of the body in the wrong order.

While dyslexia can be viewed as a learning difficulty, it can also be seen as a gift.

Some talents shared by dyslexics include the ability to think in pictures, being creative and intuitive and being good with their hands.

Children with dyslexia often have above average intelligence, yet they struggle with words and processing new information.

Many famous people diagnosed with varying degrees of dyslexia, such as Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill and Richard Branson, were not prevented from becoming highly successful.

Dyslexia does not have to prevent people from achieving.

But because it affects the way people process information, it can as a result affect their ability to learn.

Dyslexia Action Winchester is one of 26 centres across the country.

Dedicated to helping people with dyslexia or similar difficulties, its free consultation service can be accessed via e-mail or by phoning the office for an appointment.

Closer to home, Kip McGrath Education Centres Portsmouth offers free assessments for children aged between six and 16 in reading, writing, spelling and phonic awareness.

Single mum-of-one Mandy Earle juggles a busy home life with her work as editor of Families Solent East, a free parenting magazine