Despite 1 in 10 children suffering from dyslexia, 90% of parents believe that their children do not receive enough support from teachers with a proper understanding of the condition, according to an independent survey by YouGov.
Dyslexia Action defines the condition as “a learning difficulty that primarily affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling”.
Dyslexia effects phonological awareness, verbal memory and verbal processing speed, making it difficult for sufferers to learn in the same way as their peers. This can make children with dyslexia feel singled-out, and in some cases, lead to bullying.
There are no external symptoms of dyslexia, which can make the condition difficult to recognise. This can leave children who suffer with dyslexia feeling frustrated or angry, with often very low self-esteem, and sufferers wrongly believing that they are ‘stupid’.
The truth is that dyslexia occurs across all intellectual abilities and does NOT mean that the sufferer is stupid.
The survey by YouGov found that 55% of parents claim that teachers failed to recognise their child’s symptoms at school. Experts will find this figure is unsettling, because the sooner a child’s dyslexia is diagnosed, the more we can do to help them.
Parents may be able to recognise some of the signs of dyslexia at home, if your child exhibits any of the following behaviour traits:
- Excel at some things whilst having difficulty with others.
- Struggle to remember two or more instructions in sequence - e.g. when you ask them to go upstairs and find a pair of socks, they will either come back with nothing or the wrong item of clothing.
- Appear clumsy in some respects but good at manipulating things (like Lego).
- Seem uncertain of which hand to use for eating.
- Confuse names or objects or get them back to front (e.g. par cark).
- Struggle to remember nursery rhymes.
- Have difficulty in clapping or moving to rhythm.
(source: Jenifer Davies, BBC)
If you believe your child may be dyslexic, get them tested for the condition as soon as possible. Recognising and addressing dyslexia is the best thing you can do for your child. Children who are diagnosed with dyslexia may be entitled to technical learning assistance from schools, such as laptop computers and sensory learning equipment. However, dyslexic children also need emotional support.
According to a report by Dyslexia Action, “dyslexic pupils’ experience of school is often negative”. Children with a learning disability are likely to feel singled out in the classroom, which can severely damage their confidence. It is important that teachers and parents take steps to counter this. The report, Dyslexia Still Matters, claims that features of good practice in schools include “showing sensitivity to the emotional needs of the pupils”.
The report also argues that children with dyslexia will perform better in school when expectations for their achievement are high. Dyslexia does not affect a child’s IQ. If children are given adequate support and encouragement, they are every bit as capable as their peers to achieve highly.
What can parents do at home?
There are lots of things parents can do to help support their children if they are suffering from the effects of dyslexia. It is important to help your child understand that they are not ‘stupid’, try listening to the Relax Kids Believe and Achieve CD in the car on the way to school.
Children struggling with dyslexia are likely to have damaged or low self-esteem. Listen to the Relax Kids Self-Esteem CD to help your child recognise their talents and strengths. This is a positive, uplifting CD that will leave your child feeling great about themselves.
Our Anxiety and Worry CD is effective for children who may be be anxious about their dyslexia, who feel additional pressure at school from teachers and peers. It has also been used effectively to help children who are being bullied. This CD is ideal for listening to before bed -it can help children let go of their anxiety and get a peaceful nights sleep, ready to wake up in the morning feeling calmer and more positive about the day ahead.
The Dyslexia Still Matters report from Dyslexia Action argues the importance of “teaching pupils to improve their working memory”. The Relax Kids Concentration CD uses a selection of simple progressive muscle relaxation, visual imagery, positive affirmations and breathing techniques. These relaxation strategies have been shown to be extremely effective treatment components for improving attention and concentration in children and young people.