We are aware that many parents are concerned their child may have dyslexia, especially where the child is experiencing serious problems with reading, writing or spelling or where family members have been diagnosed with dyslexia.
The British Dyslexia Association estimates that around 10% of the population is dyslexic. Assessing which children may have dyslexia is a careful process exploring the nature of their difficulties and monitoring their response to strategies and support put in place. With dyslexia, a child’s problems often stem from difficulties in the areas of phonological awareness and processing; visual and auditory processing speed and working memory. Typically a child with dyslexia may struggle with the following:
- Learning and retaining sound and letter correspondence (phonics)
- Reading words accurately
- Spelling – including making frequent errors by transposing letters and leaving out letters in familiar words.
- Processing spoken or visual information
- Formulating written responses
- Sequencing numbers or letters out loud at speed
- Recalling instructions, especially where these are not broken down into small steps
- Gets tired or loses focus easily
If we feel a child may have dyslexia we are able to use a screening test in school. This test assesses the child’s abilities in different areas: phonological skills, processing and working memory as well as word reading, spelling and non-verbal reasoning. This test gives us an indication of where the child is experiencing particular difficulties and the extent of these difficulties but we are not able to make a diagnosis in school. This test is best used from late year 2 but the older the child the more reliable it is. If a formal diagnosis of dyslexia is required this has to be carried out by either an educational psychologist or by a specialist dyslexia teacher who holds a Level 7 or equivalent qualification. A formal diagnosis is not necessary to qualify for extra time in primary school tests or SATs. However, secondary schools have their own criteria for this and it is a good idea to discuss this with the individual school.
School years 2 to 5 are considered to be the optimal stage in a child’s learning for them to receive support. All teachers at St John’s are familiar with using dyslexia friendly strategies and resources in class, which are helpful for all children. They will also set up interventions to support children with phonics, spelling, reading, grammar or writing, depending on the needs of the individual pupil. We are also able to provide identified children with 10-week blocks of tuition from our dyslexia trained specialist, Claudia Goodman. Computer technology can be very helpful for children with dyslexia, especially as they grow up and we start this early on by helping pupils to use special software on the iPads to help record their work and to teach touch typing for identified pupils in KS2.
If you are concerned about your child’s progress in reading and writing and feel they may have dyslexia tendencies, please talk to the class teacher or contact me directly on 01732 453944 or email at: [email protected]