The sudden closure of Dyslexia Action has left many parents in limbo. The campaigning dyslexia charity used to provide screening, assessments and a whole range of support for families of dyslexic children. It has now gone into administration.
As a parent, where should you go for help if you have concerns about your child?
Though it does no harm to do research on the internet, the first port of call should always be your school. Ask to talk to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Co-ordinator (SENDCo) and express your concerns. They will review your child’s progress and if necessary arrange for an assessment.
Though not everyone who struggles to read or spell is dyslexic, it is believed that up to 10% of children do have some degree of dyslexia. Dyslexia not only affects a person’s ability to read or spell with fluency, but can be associated with other behaviour traits such as forgetfulness and poor organisation.
Identifying signs of dyslexia
If your child is failing to make progress with reading or spelling, this could be an indicator for dyslexia. But this is not the only thing to look out for. Have you noticed any discrepancies in your child’s abilities? For instance, do they find it difficult to write, but have no problem talking? Are they always asking interesting questions, and can they chat intelligently about things that interest them? A discrepancy between oral and written ability can be a tell-tale sign of dyslexia.
Other things to look out for are differences in a child’s literacy ability compared to their siblings. Do they stand out as being weaker at reading or spelling? Is there a history of dyslexia in the family? Dyslexia tends to run in families, and it is not unusual to find a parent, grandparent, aunt or uncle with dyslexia-type symptoms.
The Dyslexia Spectrum
It is important to realise that dyslexia is not binary condition. Dyslexia is on a spectrum of varying severity with no clear cut-off point. Someone who is mildly dyslexic can do well with small changes in classroom teaching, whereas more severe cases may need a specialist intervention. Support at home can make a big difference. Look out for next week’s ‘top tips’ to help dyslexic children at home.
In the meantime, One Education is a good place to find out more about dyslexia and how to identify it; this check list from the British Dyslexia Association may also be useful. If you wanted to do your own initial screening for dyslexia you could try the Nessy Dyslexia Quest. It costs £10 and is done online through a series of games.
The good news is that with the right support dyslexia need not be a barrier to achievement. But you may need to be the one to take the first step to get the ball rolling.