What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia can affect the way people communicate, and it’s different for everyone. It is not just about reading and writing and it is not an indication of low intelligence. Dyslexia exists in all cultures and across the range of abilities and socio-economic backgrounds.
Dyslexia is on a continuum or spectrum, which means individuals can be mildly or severely dyslexic and each will experience different strengths and difficulties. This can depend on the activity undertaken, the learning environment and any coping strategies and support in place – there is however a common set of signs that can be observed.
If your child is dyslexic, they may experience a range of difficulties which continue even though they are given appropriate learning opportunities. These difficulties may mask how able your child is in other areas.
There are often associated strengths in areas such as:
- verbal communication and social interaction
- problem solving, thinking outside the box, seeing the whole picture
- creativity and practical tasks
- visual thinking skills eg see/think in 3D, visualise a structure from plans.
There are often associated difficulties in areas such as:
- auditory and/or visual processing of language-based information
- phonological awareness – (associating letters with their sound(s) and how they are blended to form words)
- oral language skills and reading fluency
- short-term and working memory
- sequencing and directionality
- number skills
- organisational ability
- motor skills and co-ordination may also be affected.
How can I help?
- Encourage the use of language skills to help build a wide range of vocabulary – talking, rhymes, singing, listening, reading stories, audio books.
- When talking to your child, use as many pictures and objects as possible.
- Make sure written information is easy to read with a clear type.
- Make a pictorial/visual timetable or task list.
- Be direct and use short sentence when giving instructions.
- Encourage creative and visual talents.
- Encourage learning through play and games – make it enjoyable.
- Make use of computers/tablets, free software and apps – reading from a computer screen is often easier than reading handwriting, text recognition software can read words back.
Where can I find further advice?
- The Scottish definition of dyslexia
- Dyslexia Scotland
- Addressing Dyslexia Toolkit
- Addressing Dyslexia Toolkit – Reading Circle
- Addressing Dyslexia Toolkit – Writing Circle
- Enquire – Parents’ guide to additional support for learning
- CALL Scotland – IT and dyslexia
- Read, Write, Count – literacy and numeracy information for parents/carers
- ‘Making Sense’ was an independent review of education for children and young people who have dyslexia. The review covered the experiences of learners in Scottish primary, secondary and special schools. You can also read a summary of the report.