Article by: Yvonne Lion-Cachet, Senior Educational Psychologist at Sensational Kids, Clonakilty.
The word ‘dyslexia’ comes from the Greek meaning ‘difficulty with word.’ The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) defines dyslexia as a neurological based, often familial, disorder that interferes with the acquisition and processing of language. Varying in degrees of severity, it is manifested by difficulties in receptive and expressive language, including reading, writing, spelling, handwriting, and sometimes arithmetic. The National Institute of Health (NH) in the USA defines dyslexia as a specific learning difficulty that is neurological in origin. It is characterised by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition, and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. Recognising the signs of dyslexia early on is crucial for providing timely support and intervention. In this blog post, we will explore the initial signs and concerns that parents might have, shedding light on when to consider seeking an assessment from an educational psychologist at Sensational Kids.
Identifying Early Signs:
- Delayed Speech and Language Development:
Children with dyslexia may exhibit delays in speech and language development. Difficulty in acquiring vocabulary and expressing or organising thoughts verbally, can be early indicators.
- Difficulty Rhyming and Identifying Sounds:
Children struggling with dyslexia often have difficulty recognising and manipulating sounds, which can manifest in challenges with rhyming, blending sounds, and segmenting words.
- Poor Letter Recognition:
Difficulty in recognising and recalling letters is a common sign of dyslexia. Children may struggle to associate letters with their corresponding sounds.
- Reversal of Letters and Numbers:
Dyslexic individuals may frequently reverse or confuse letters and numbers. This includes common letter reversals such as ‘b’ and ‘d’ or ‘p’ and ‘q.’
- Challenges in Reading and Spelling:
As children progress through school, difficulties in reading and spelling become more apparent. Reading fluency may be slow, and spelling errors may persist despite repeated instruction. A child may complain of ‘dancing’ or ‘swimming’ text while reading, writing, or copying. Reads and rereads with little comprehension. Spells phonetically and inconsistently.
Excellent long-term memory for experiences, locations, and faces. Poor memory for sequences, facts and information that has not been experienced. Thinks primarily with images and feeling, not sounds or words (poor inner speech abilities).
- Gross and Fine Motor skills
Poor laterality skills, confuses left/right; up/down etc. Poor directionality skills and may appear ‘clumsy.’ Poor eye-hand coordination and poor pencil grip.
Concerns for Parents:
- Frustration and Avoidance:
Children with dyslexia may become frustrated with academic tasks, leading to avoidance of reading, and writing activities. Behavioural changes, such as reluctance to attend school or complete homework, could signal an underlying difficulty.
- Low Self-Esteem:
Persistent struggles in the classroom may impact a child’s self-esteem. Parents should be attentive to any signs of diminished confidence or negative self-perception related to academic performance.
- Inconsistency in Performance:
Dyslexia can result in an inconsistent academic performance. A child may excel in some areas while struggling in others, creating a puzzling pattern for parents and teachers.
BUT …. People with dyslexia
- also have sharper peripheral vision than others
- can rapidly take in a scene as a whole (‘visual gist’)
- have an aptitude for the arts
- thrive in a field intensive with visual components (branches of science)
- have superior perception skills
- are highly aware of the environment
- think and perceive multi-dimensional (using all the senses)
- are very imaginative
- are holistic (can see the big picture without getting lost in details)
- can easily spot patterns, connections and similarities
- can see things differently than others
…If a dyslexic child believes in their own abilities and confidence, they can achieve wonders!
The Role of Educational Psychologists at Sensational Kids:
Educational psychologists at Sensational Kids play a crucial role in assessing and supporting children with dyslexia. Their expertise involves:
- Comprehensive Assessments:
Educational psychologists conduct thorough assessments to identify specific learning difficulties, including dyslexia. These assessments may include cognitive, educational, and psychological evaluations.
- Tailored Intervention Plans:
Based on the assessment results, psychologists at Sensational Kids create personalised intervention plans to address the unique needs of each child. These plans may involve specialised teaching methods, assistive technologies, and targeted support. Although there is no cure for dyslexia, it is a condition which can be managed with targeted intervention.
- Collaboration with Parents and Teachers:
Sensational Kids emphasises collaboration with parents and teachers to create a supportive learning environment. Regular communication ensures that strategies implemented in the intervention plan are reinforced at home and in the classroom.
Parents in Clonakilty, West Cork, can access educational psychological assessments at Sensational Kids. The organisation provides a range of services aimed at supporting children with various learning difficulties, including dyslexia. To inquire about assessments and services, parents can contact Sensational Kids directly by emailing email@example.com or calling 023 887 8208.
Early identification of dyslexia is essential for providing timely support and intervention. Parents who observe the signs mentioned in this blog post should consider seeking an assessment from educational psychologists at Sensational Kids in Clonakilty, West Cork. By addressing dyslexia early on, children can receive the necessary support to unlock their full potential and thrive academically.