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Recognising dyslexia and stopping discrimination

Boy doing homeworkHarsh words I know, but let me explain … If your child has a learning difficulty and it gets missed by the adults, it’s actually not missed in the preschool room or on the playground.

What I mean is … it’s definitely not missed by their classmates. The child is subconsciously discriminated against because their learning difficulties have not been recognised. Dyslexia is present from birth but as the child moves up in years it shows up more. Let me give you some of it’s telltale signs.

  • Dyspraxia is about motor skills. Catching a ball, balancing on beams or play equipment, falling over their own feet for no real reason, clumsily all the time.
  • Dyscalculia affects maths, telling the time and dealing with money.
  • Dyslexia is about reading and writing including spelling.

Do the words move on the page for your child when they are reading their readers to you? Can they see the full stops or question marks? Please ask your child what they see. Gently ask if the words move? Remember to give them the space to tell you.

Let’s look at some early warning signs just so you can keep a check on your child.

  • Delayed speech is not talking until they are 2, 2 & 1/2 or even 3 years old
  • Mixing up sounds, for example aminal for animal or bisghetti for spaghetti. Another one is “hekalopter” for helicopter, “hangaberg” for hamburger, “mazageen” for magazine and there are many more.
  • Early stuttering.
  • Lots of ear infections.
  • Can’t master tying shoes laces
  • Messy bedrooms
  • Confusion over left and right
  • Confusion with over and under
  • Confusion with before and after
  • Basically they have lots of trouble with directional words
  • Write letters back to front or start on the left hand side of the letter and work back to the right side.
  • Seem to never be listening to what you are telling them or can only remember one thing out of the last five things you have told them to do
  • Is your child light sensitive? Are they always complaining of headaches or sore eyes?
  • Do they lose things all the time; seem to have no organisational skills?
  • Late to establish a dominant hand, they use one hand for one thing and a different hand for something else. It might be they don’t find the hand they most favour until they are seven or eight years old.
  • Inability to correctly complete phonic awareness tasks
  • Despite listening to stories that contains lots of rhyming words like Dr Seuss books, they can’t understand them by the age of four and a half.
  • Difficulty learning the names of the letters or sounds in the alphabet, difficulty writing the alphabet in order.
  • Trouble correctly saying Rs and Ls, Ms and Ns. They often have immature speech and may still be saying “wed” and “gween” instead of red and green in 2nd and 3rd grade.
  • Can’t remember children’s names or names of things in general like “ilk” for milk

Why am I sharing with you on this wonderful site? Because I am dyslexic, dyspraxic, I have dyscalculia and I also have ADD.

What this meant for me and my life could be summed up in one word, knowledge. I wish my parents had the knowledge I am giving you here.

Why knowledge? Well you don’t know what you don’t know. But with knowledge you can help your child or grandchild to not go through life feeling like they don’t fit or feeling like they are in a cage or jail cell. Or worst still a freak!

Freak is the word many dyslexics say when I speak to them. It is the point when everything they try to learn turns into frustration, tears and tantrums. It leaves them with low self-confidence and self-esteem.

I am 52 years old this year and it’s been a very hard uphill battle my whole life, but if I can share my story to help even one child not go through their life undiagnosed it has been worth it. I spent my whole childhood undiagnosed, feeling like I didn’t fit. No matter how hard I tried I felt like I was failure.

This is not a sob story, more a story of overcoming designed to help anyone and everyone who might be dyslexic. You might be thinking, “I hear you… but if my child does get diagnosed then they won’t fit anyway!”

Wrong! Dead wrong! If you know you struggle to catch a ball, you can practice catching the ball. If you know you fall off your feet for no reason, you can think about walking, practice walking and marching which helps dyslexics and non dyslexics alike. If you know spelling words is going to be hard work you can put the word with a picture to help you remember it. This will help you see the word reducing the stresses, giving you time to learn the words.

You as parent understand how they learn. Because of this you give them more time. Your frustration levels drop and you no longer feel like you are pulling hens’ teeth. I was told this when I was a child. I remember being about seven looking in the mouth of a hen to see if it had teeth.

You see… grownups or kids with dyslexia appear to be not so smart or have low IQ. Nothing could be further from the truth. They often have a very high IQ.

Imagine if you have a smart person feeling stupid because they don’t learn using the conventional methods. It doesn’t mean they don’t learn. Pretty soon however their self confidence and self esteem are destroyed. Then they stop trying to learn and become really hard work for you as parents and for their teachers.

But if a child knows they’re smart they just need to learn in special ways, you are telling them they are smart. Their self esteem and self confidence is left intact and there will be less tears and tantrums which is always good news.

Dyslexia and its cousins, dyscalculia and dyspraxia all have telltale signs. Before you spend lots of money going from doctor to doctor, psychologist to psychologist and speech therapist to speech therapist, there are specialists out there who understand the symptoms. If you’d like to get in contact with me I connect you with the experts who know what to look for and how best to help your child.

Until next time

By for now, take care Sandy.

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2 comments so far -

  1. This is definitely my nephew his teacher has even gone as far as to tell me he seems to have signs of shaken baby syndrome but I know he’s a severe dyslexic I wish they would listen hea been tested at school twice and is suffering badly he gets picked on and I wish I could help him ever so badly it breaks my heart to see him going through this.

    • In SA there is an organization called SPELD (I think each letter stands for a word) where you can take your child to be tested.
      I don’t know whether or not you need an referral at all. Sometimes schools recommend you have a child tested. A word of warning, it is expensive and you cannot claim any of it back at all. Some children with dyslexia also write letters and/or numbers backwards. They have/ did have lessons that children can attend to assist them. I know a junior primary pupil whose Mum asked the teacher is her child was keeping up with others in her class and was assured she was. The next term there was a new teacher and within the first week , the girl’s Mum and Dad were advised that their duaghter was having problems with reading and was a long way behind. They immediately made an appointment at SPELD and had her assessed. Neither the Education Dept. or private schools have staff (not neccessarily teachers) able to assess a child to diagnose what form of dyslexia it is. There is more than one type according to the staff at SPELD. They were already in existance in 1980 or before.

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