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Differences in Dyslexia

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Author: Holly Hannigan, Posted: Monday, 19th October 2020, 09:00

Dyslexia affects 10-15% of the UK population, often runs in families and is a life-long condition. It was seen for many years as a learning disability, focusing on the weaknesses, but the way a dyslexic brain works is not bad, wrong or deficient. It is just different and difference is not a disability.

This learning difference mainly affects reading and writing skills, and can also impact on other areas such as organisational skills, coordination and memory. People with dyslexia think and learn differently from others and as such their strengths can be:
• Good problem solvers
• Creative
• Observant
• High levels of empathy
• Excellent big-picture thinkers
• Good at making connections
• Strong narrative reasoning
• Three-dimensional thinking
• Determination

Each person with dyslexia will experience the condition in a way that is unique to them, which can make it difficult to identify at times. Most often it is diagnosed in Primary school aged children, with these main symptoms:
• Read and write very slowly
• Put letters the wrong way round
• Confuse the order of letters in words
• Have poor or inconsistent spelling
• Struggle with planning and organisation
• Difficulty following instructions
• Finds it difficult to blend letters together
• Slow reading progress
• Confusion with place value (units, tens, hundreds)
• Difficulty remembering anything in sequential order (days of the week, the alphabet)
• Poor time keeping
• Difficulty with concepts (yesterday, tomorrow)
• Easily distracted
• The class clown, disruptive or withdrawn

The first step to getting support if you think your child might be dyslexic is to consult your child’s teacher or the school’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCo) to discuss your concerns. They may carry out screening tests to see how your child will be best supported in the classroom.

Ensuring appropriate support and/or interventions

A school doesn’t need a formal diagnosis to put support in place for your child and shouldn’t delay in providing appropriate support and/or interventions. However, a Diagnostic Assessment can help to ensure that the appropriate interventions are put in place.

Techniques and support that are available include:
• Occasional 1:1 support or small group work
• Technology like computers and speech recognition software that may make it easier to read and write.

Help in higher education or employment

Sometimes adults may wish to get diagnosed if they have managed to get through the education system without a diagnosis, in order to help them in higher education or in employment. Universities have specialist staff who can support young people with dyslexia, and employers are required to make reasonable adjustments to the workplace to help people with dyslexia, such as allowing extra time for certain tasks.

There is support available and more focus now on an individual’s strengths rather than their weaknesses, so always raise any concerns with the school.

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