Is my child Lazy or Dyslexic?
Is my child Lazy or Dyslexic? This is a question that all parents of children failing English at school should ask themselves. As a parent, it is most important to trust your gut and do something about it. Effective screening for dyslexia will tell you a lot about the type of teaching your child requires.
If you feel that your child is displaying indicators of dyslexia, ignore those who say, “They will grow out of it” or “All children progress at their own rate”. No one grows out of dyslexia and time is valuable when it comes to dyslexia and a child’s positive self-esteem.
Dyslexia will normally become apparent during the early years of schooling
This is when a child shows an unexplained difficulty in reading or writing. A child identified earlier is less likely to suffer low self-esteem, frustration, lack of interest in school they find difficult.
The first 4 common indicators can be seen as early as Prep and Grade one.
Dyslexic children experience difficulty with the following.
- Acquiring age-appropriate sight words recognition skills
- Difficulty learning to spell accurately
- They don’t really understand what they have just read as they have limited reading comprehension due to weak decoding and/or word recognition and fluency skills.
- Needs to see or hear concepts many times to learn them
What is dysgraphia?
This is a common cousin to Dyslexia and is apparent in the written text by the child. When asked to plan and write 3-6 paragraphs of text, it is often messy and very difficult to follow. They generally have issues
1. Planning and organising information to paper
2. Physical getting words onto paper by handwriting
This results in a written product that’s more difficult to read and filled with errors.
Individuals with dyslexia can go to do amazing things with the right understanding, teaching and support
It is important to know that you are not alone and that approximately 10% of the school-age population has dyslexia.
Dyslexia tends to run in families. It appears to be linked to certain genes that affect how the brain processes reading and language, as well as risk factors in the environment.
Dyslexia can be caused by
- A family history of dyslexia or other learning disabilities
- Premature birth or low birth weight
- Exposure during pregnancy to nicotine, drugs, alcohol or infection may alter brain development in the fetus
- Individual differences in the parts of the brain that enable reading
When to Act
It is highly recommended that at the first point of concern when a teacher or parent notices a child experiencing persistent and unexpected difficulties learning to read is for the child to undertake an ADA pre-assessment screening.
Enquires and assistance on ADA pre-assessment service please email: [email protected]
Once you have a formal diagnosis email the report to the child’s teacher and the Principal or Vice-Principal discussing your child’s diagnosis asking them to discuss a learning plan for your child. Catch up with them, perhaps a week later to discover their plan to assist your child’s learning. It’s common for parents to make the decision to not inform their child of their diagnosis and instead let them know they have some potholes in their learning and you are meeting with their teacher to work out how you can all assist your child to learn best.
Ways your school can assist your Dyslexic child.
- Use coloured paper instead of white paper
- Have a scribe for your child or use a voice to text computer
- Allow the child to complete most written work typed
- Use videos to convey clear messages
- Understand that this child is not lazy, they are simply finding this work very difficult.
- Avoid reading aloud
- Prepare a printout of homework and stick it in their book
- Provide numbered steps, e.g. 1. Do this. 2. Do that etc.
- Avoid copying text from a white board to a book.
- Catch them doing something right and praise them for it. It is possible that a child with Dyslexia may feel upset about failing English and this can effect their self esteem, for this reason, it is important to praise them when they do something correctly, whether in English class or other subjects.
Characteristics to be proud of
Dyslexic children may be forced to view life through a different lens, this in tern can lead to some wonderful skills including :
- Problem Solving
- Comprehending new ideas
- Analytic thinking
- Creative thinking
- 3-D construction
- Finding different strategies
- Seeing the big picture
- Stronger verbal capabilities then written
As a parent, it might put you at ease to learn of some famous people with Dyslexia. Some famous and highly successful adults include Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Michelangelo and Picasso number among them. Sir Richard Branson may be the highest-profile and most outspoken dyslexia advocate today, with Steven Spielberg, and Bill Gates also active.