“Dealing with Dyslexia – the Parents’ Guide” is a new project; I have produced four short videos and some detailed notes trying to help parents who are struggling to deal with their childrens’ reading problems which may or may not be dyslexia.
This is the second of the videos and it deals with children of about 6, 7 and 8 by which time you, as a concerned adult or parent, need to try to work out if the child is getting a grip on the reading process; this is the stage at which to try to establish if your child is really dyslexic or just a slow learner. Whichever is the case, you as a parent need to be as supportive and patient as possible, while also educating yourself about dyslexia and the problems your child will face.
The first of the videos that I made dealt with the very youngest children, 4,5,6, for whom literacy will soon become an issue. A super bright toddler, whom no one suspects is dyslexic, reaches a reception class “and it is like runnng into a wall” (as a psychologist put it to me.) Start watching how your children react to words, list, rhymes, pronunciation, even before you have bought their first school uniform.
Dealing with Dyslexia – Toddlers and first year kids
Three of the four “Dealing with Dyslexia” videos are age specific and offer suggestions about how to help very young children (4-6), slightly older children (7-8) and children old enough to look towards the move from primary to secondary education (8-10).
The video entitled – “An Introduction” – is different. It’s a case study and a horror story. It tells how severe dyslexia, when not diagnosed early enough and treated energetically, can ruin a young man’s entire childhood and prejudice his entire future.
More about this introductory case study and about dyslexia:
The exceptional youngster who is the subject of this video was, it transpired, very very severely dyslexic and also had a tracking (eye) problem which made reading (and diagnosis) much more difficult.
Dyslexia is normally diagnosed by measuring whether an individual’s reading performance equals or falls below a measure of his or her “Verbal Comprehension.” This youngster’s “Verbal Comprehension” was and is exceptionally high, around the 96th. centile. His reading performance, on the other hand, was at the lowest end of the scale, on the 9th. centile. A huge discrepancy.
Schools and learning support teachers were often quite unable to adjust to his problems because they were so fundamental and so disruptive. He needed specialist intervention, consistently applied, from a very very early age and that might have transformed his school years and his subsequent career as well.
It would only have mitigated, not cured, his dyslexia, but it might have enabled him to move on and go to university instead of leaving school with a couple of rather ordinary GCSEs.
It is also clear, from research by Dr. Sally Shaywitz, of Yale University, that adults who work regularly, in disciplined ways, with words, sentences and written materials, can help to compensate for the underactivation in the posterior areas of the brain which is characteristic of dyslexics and which shows up in fMRI scans. That is the future and will transform what dyslexics believe and how they believe in themselves.