This week, 7th-13th October, is national Dyslexia awareness week. Even though it is reported that 10% of the population experience Dyslexia there are still many myths around the subject. As someone who has been diagnosed with Dyslexia I can understand the concerns that many parents/children have around the topic. It is important to remember this is nothing to be ashamed or scared of, we just think and learn differently to others.

The guide below looks at the signs that could indicate Dyslexia, although it is important that if you have any concerns you seek a professional opinion. You could either speak to the school SENCO or Class Teacher or pay to have a private screening check, such as the one we provide or meet a Dyslexia Specialist.

What to look for?

The signs to look for vary from issues with English (reading and writing skills) and Numeracy (including telling the time and a general weakness around handwriting and processing skills).

General Skills

  • Speed of processing, knowing an answer but not being able to recall or say it as fast as others
  • Difficulty following instructions
  • Poor concentration
  • Poor fine motor skills; handwriting is hard to read and a weakness when controlling a pencil/pen
  • Confusion between left and right, up and down etc
  • Show avoidance tactics such as sharpening pencils or acting up
  • Is often extremely tired due to the amount of concentration that they need to use to learn
  • Difficulty coping with information from a board or using two pieces of paper

English

  • Poor written work compared to their oral ability
  • Confused by letters which look similar, particularly b/d, p/g, p/q, n/u, m/w
  • Poor handwriting with many ‘reversals’ and badly formed letters
  • Spells a word several different ways in one piece of writing
  • Produces phonetic and bizarre spelling: not age/ability appropriate
  • Makes anagrams of words, e.g. tired for tried, bread for beard
  • Slow reading progress
  • Finds it difficult to blend letters together
  • Hesitant and laboured reading, especially when reading aloud
  • Misses out words when reading, or adds extra words
  • Loses the point of a story being read or written
  • Has difficulty in picking out the most important points from a passage

Maths

  • Difficulty remembering anything in a sequential order, e.g. tables, days of the week, the alphabet
  • Confused by symbols such as + and x signs and place values
  • Inversing 6 and 9
  • Difficulty learning their times tables
  • Poor time keeping
  • Poor personal organisation
  • Difficulty remembering what day of the week it is, their birth date, seasons of the year, months of the year

As someone who has been diagnosed as Dyslexic, I do not have all these signs but many of them. As a child I just thought I was learning slowly; however, as I grew up, I found learning increasingly more frustrating. Even as an adult I start to say something and then can’t remember what it was and have difficulty when trying to remember more than two instructions without being distracted. It is a condition that will be with me for life, however learning to live with it makes me stronger and more determined. It forces me to think in different ways and use strategies that ensure I can achieve my full potential.

If you are concerned about your child, seek help. Yet most importantly don’t get annoyed by their lack of focus, struggle to learn their times tables, terrible spellings or poor memory.

Remember, we are all different and all capable of great things!