Family History– The first question to ask is about family history, as Dyslexia is one of the most hereditary conditions around. So you should ask yourself, is there a history of dyslexia or difficulties with reading and writing in the family? As dyslexia was not widely understood back in the day, your grandparent or parents may not have been formally diagnosed, but they may instinctively know that they are dyslexic by their struggles in school etc., so keep that in mind. They may have done badly at school but gone on in later life to be very successful entrepreneurs.
Language spoken and written
“How come he could read and/or spell all these words yesterday, and can’t get a single one right today?”
• Was he late in speaking?
• Does he sometimes leave letters out of words, or put them in the wrong order?
• Does he get “tied up” saying some words?
• Can he see the difference between b and d?
• Does his speed of reading comprehension seem slower than expected for his age and intelligence?
• Does he take much longer than average to do written work at school and at home?
• Is a lot of checking needed before he can copy things accurately?
• Does he have difficulty with writing and planning essays?
• Does he ever read for pleasure?
• Is he confused with words that look alike (no/on, was/saw etc.)?
• Visual errors: – siad/said
• Auditory errors:- donnd/down
• Bizarre errors:- tabf/elephant
• Letters omitted or wrong letters used.
“If he can talk about life on Mars, why can’t he add two plus two?”
• Does he write figures the wrong way round, e.g. 15 for 51, or 2 for 5?
• Does he need to use bricks or his fingers or marks on the paper to help him count?
• Does his speed on doing simple +,-,x and division calculations seem slower than expected for his age and intelligence?
• Does he have unusual difficulty in remembering arithmetical tables?
• Does he lose his place, skip some of the numbers, or forget what point he has reached?
• Given four digits, e.g. 4 – 9 – 5 – 8 spoken at one-second intervals for him to say in reverse order – does he ever make a mistake?
Physical and Social
“Good Lord, what will he do next?”
• Does he have a poor sense of direction and difficulty in telling left from right?
• Do shoe laces and ties, changing clothes and dressing present problems?
• Does he find kicking or catching a ball difficult?
• Do instructions, telephone numbers etc. sometimes have to be repeated more often?
• Does he lack in self-confidence and have a poor opinion of himself? (This is usually because of years of ridicule and struggling with mundane things.)
It isn’t that other children/adults do not experience these difficulties – they often do. It is the quantity, intensity and persistence of such problems which make the SPLD child different.
Classic Warning Signs
• Speech delay – If child is not speaking by first Birthday
• Lots of ear infections– especially in the first 4 years
• Oral Speech
• Auditory processing
• Written expression- Penmanship
• Difficulty learning to tie shoe laces
• Difference between left and right. (50% of dyslexics are right-handed and 50% left-handed.) Boys tend to be recognized more often as they play up more. Girls tend to withdraw, and hence do not get tested as often. But both are equal. By the age of 3-4 years old the child should have a dominant hand.
• Cannot say alphabet or write it in order by age 6. (Lack of good sequencing.) I.e. days of the week, months of the year etc.
• Spelling their last name
• Spelling or remembering their address
• Phone numbers
• ODD READING
• Remembers one word on one page but can’t recognize it on the next page
• Bad spelling
• Flunks inventive spelling
• Often, find the vowels hard
Recognizing them by their Gifts
Recognizing dyslexic by their gifts and not their failings (dyslexics have more right sided hemisphere than the left)
Areas controlled by right side of brain are their strengths:
• Some form of ARTS (visual arts, literary arts and the performing arts – music, theatre, dance and film)
• Fashion design
• Photography etc.
• People skills (Very sensitive)
• Highly intuitive
• Mechanical skills (good with logical things)
• 3-D Visualisation (good spatial awareness)
• Very quick thinkers
• Extremely curious
• Creative (global thinkers)
It is very important that parents find out what their child’s strength is so that they can focus on what they are good at than what not they are weak at. We need them to feel encouraged and shine amongst others.