Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that affects the ability to read and spell. About 60 per cent of children with dyslexia also have trouble with the sounds that make up words

Dyslexia can also cause difficulties with basic maths (especially the order of numbers and multiplication tables), general literacy skills, word interpretation and perception, organisational skills, short-term memory, sequencing and processing information. Children with dyslexia, however, are often very creative and able in certain areas of the curriculum, such as art, design, technology, computing, drama and lateral thinking.

Dyslexia is a complex neurological disorder and affects about ten per cent of the population, across all levels of intellectual ability. It tends to affect boys more than girls and often runs in families. It is believed to have a genetic cause.

Key characteristics
A dyslexic child may:

  • use bizarre spellings and have poor phonological awareness
  • frequently lose their place when reading and see blurred or distorted word-shapes
  • confuse some high frequency words eg. was/saw
  • reverse letters and number digits beyond the age where this is normal
  • write words with the correct letters in the wrong order
  • write sequences of letters and numbers in reverse
  • have difficulty remembering a word and substitute other words instead
  • have great difficulty organising themselves and their belongings
  • be unable to remember simple sequences such as days of the week
  • experience problems following oral instructions
  • have poor senses of time and direction
  • make frequent errors when copying, especially from the board
  • have some coordination difficulties
  • have low levels of motivation and self-esteem.

Support strategies
You may need to: 

  • teach syllable count to help the child hear how many syllables are in a word
  • teach how to blend syllables
  • teach onset and rime to help the child to discriminate between words aurally
  • teach phoneme discrimination to help the child identify phonemes in words
  • teach phoneme-blending to help the child with reading and spelling
  • use multisensory methods to support the child’s learning
  • ensure repetition of learning, using word and language games for enjoyment
  • make use of coloured overlays and line trackers where necessary
  • create a positive reading environment with opportunities to listen to stories
  • teach keyboard skills and encourage use of spell-checkers
  • encourage alternative methods of recording eg. writing-frames, diagrams, labelled drawings, flow charts, comic strip stories
  • allow the use of a scribe where appropriate, especially for copying anything important such as homework instructions
  • make use of audio-visual aids
  • keep oral instructions brief and clear
  • revise and review previously taught skills at frequent intervals
  • raise self-esteem and confidence with lots of praise and encouragement.
  • British Dyslexia Association
  • British Dyslexics
  • Dyslexia Action
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