Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling.
The symptoms include:
- Hesitant and inaccurate reading
- Need to re-read materials to gain an understanding
- Difficulty with sequences, e.g. putting dates in order
- Erratic spelling
- Reversal of letters (occurs in many normally developing children at times)
- Auditory language problems or visual–spatial problems (may contribute to difficulties with reading and spelling)
- Inability to distinguish sounds or shapes on the page
Children may have difficulties with being able to put the correct letter form to the sound heard, or they may not be able to find the sound for the letter shape. Some children have very good reading and comprehension skills but are unable to form letters, spell and write a sentence. Difficulties with mathematics, organisational skills and lack of general co-ordination may also be experienced. Usually, the signs begin to appear around the age of 7 years old and the disorder is more common amongst boys than girls.
A child may be referred to an educational psychologist for a full assessment to identify if the problem is within the auditory or the visual system. This will help specialist teachers formulate and deliver a programme that uses a student’s individual strengths and weaknesses to aid learning. Dyslexia is a lifelong disorder. It has been proven that intervention using a specifically designed multisensory programme to engage all the modalities, that children may progress academically in line with their peers.