Could Your Child Be Dyslexic?

14 April 2005

Publication: Daily Mirror

How to spot the signs and make sure your child lives a fulfilling life

Even in these enlightened times there’s a stigma attached to dyslexia – especially for children in school. Yet the genetic illness has nothing to do with intelligence – genius Albert Einstein was a sufferer. But because it’s characterised by poor reading and writing, many dyslexic people are considered dim. According to the Dyslexia Institute, if affects 10 per cent of us but often goes unidentified until it’s too late. To confuse things further, many sufferers also have dyspraxia (problems with movement and coordination) or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). For the Dyslexia Institute’s chief executive Shirley Cramer, the key is that children get the right help as soon as possible. If your child is dyslexic, here’s what to do.

Don’t panic“Dyslexia doesn’t mean your child can’t achieve their potential,” says Dr John Rack, head of R&D at the Dyslexia Institute. Many dyslexic people are creative thinkers with problem-solving skills who make good architects, IT experts, engineers and designers.

Tackle itThe earlier your child is diagnosed, the better. “Speak to the school about getting a report by an educational psychologist,” advises Dr Rack. “If your child is severely dyslexic, the school can claim money from its local authority to fund specialist tuition. However, extra funding doesn’t apply to private education. “It’s also a good idea to see your GP to rule out problems with eyesight and hearing.”

Work with the school“The school should always be able to help – don’t take no for an answer,” says Dr Rack. “This could involve extra tuition. Dyslexic children need emphasis on the sounds and formation of letters.”It may also involve extra time in exams or helping them to write their homework properly.

Get outside helpScans reveal the brain of a dyslexic works differently to that of a person without the condition.The Dyslexia Institute offers multi-sensory tuition, which helps children learn by sound, sight and touch, such as by making letters in plasticine.

Be diet-awareClinical trials show that essential fatty acids help learning ability and concentration.Low levels of these acids lead to slower development, behavioural disorders and low IQ. Nutritionist Dr Jackie Stordy says: “Children need 600-1000mg of Omega-3 oils a day, the equivalent of two to three servings of oily fish such as salmon or mackerel a week.”Alternatively, try a good fish-oil supplement such as Efalex by Efamol (£6.99 for 60 capsules).

Inspire them“Read to them and use technology, such as talking books and spell checks,” advises Dr Rack.Boost their confidence by praising them and telling them about high-fliers with dyslexia such as Jamie Oliver or Richard Branson.

For info, contact the Dyslexia Institute on www.dyslexia-inst.org.uk or call 01784 222300.

Spot the signsIf most of these statements apply to your child, they could be dyslexic, especially if others in the family have similar problems.- Learned to talk late.- Are bright but have a block when reading, writing, or spelling.- Write back to front, eg ‘b’ not ‘d’.- Have poor concentration when reading and writing.- Read a word correctly then don’t recognise it later.- Confuse right and left.- Have a poor sense of rhyme.- Can’t understand time and tense.- Can’t copy from a blackboard.- Are unusually clumsy.

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