What does dyslexia mean?

Dyslexia means difficulty with words. It affects reading, spelling, writing, memory and concentration, and sometimes maths, music, foreign languages and self-organisation.

The key feature of dyslexia is that the child with dyslexia has normal intelligence. Research shows that at least three times as many boys as girls need additional teaching for dyslexia. It can accompany, but is not a result of lack of motivation, emotional disturbance, sensory impairment or limited opportunities.

The effects of dyslexia can be eased by skilled specialist teaching and committed learning. Many dyslexic people have visual and spatial abilities that enable them to be successful in a wide range of careers.

What causes dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a congenital and developmental condition. Its cause has not been fully confirmed but the effect is to create what are called neurological anomalies in the brain. These anomalies bring about varying degrees of difficulty in learning when using words, and sometimes symbols.

What are the signs?

About 60% of dyslexic people have phonological difficulties - ie, they find it difficult to sort out the sounds within words. This means that they have problems with reading, writing and spelling. The majority of dyslexic children have difficulty with language, memory and sequencing processes of basic maths.

Pre-school signs

For children of 9 or under

For children of 9-12

For children of 12 and over

Can dyslexia be cured?

Each dyslexic person's difficulties are different and vary from slight to very severe disruption of the learning process. There is no total cure but skilled specialist teaching can alleviate the effects of dyslexia and learning programmes.

What can I do to help my child?

Most importantly, make sure that your child is given appropriate specialist teaching to enable him/her to cope in the normal classroom. Your child may need individual specialist teaching for between one to three hours per week depending on the degree of difficulty. This type of teaching has been found to be the most effective in helping a dyslexic child to flourish in the normal classroom and you should insist on it.

If you are concerned that your child may have dyslexia, contact the Association of Children with Learning Difficulties (ACLD) for advice. The group has branches nationwide. The contact points are:

ACLD, Suffolk Chambers, 1 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2. Phone: 01-6790276 Fax: 01-6790273.

Another useful contact is the Institute for Neuro-Physiological Psychology in Chester. http://www.inpp.org.uk

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