Let’s talk about dyslexia…
Dyslexia is a learning difficulty which makes it hard for some learners to read, write and spell. They may also have difficulties with memory, processing numbers and time management (or other organisational skills).
Most people with dyslexia are intelligent, and many have above-average intelligence. They can also be extremely creative, imaginative and good at problem solving – just look at the multi-billionaire Richard Branson! Unfortunately, for a very long time, intelligence has been measured by how well someone can read, write, spell and compute. Thankfully, perceptions are changing and people with dyslexia are being valued for the skills and abilities that they do have.
Lots of parents are naturally quite worried when it’s first suggested to them that their child may have dyslexia. This is a common reaction but we would urge all parents and caregivers to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that their child can avail of any additional support that is available to them.
People with dyslexia most certainly can succeed in education, whether that’s at primary, secondary or third-level. But early intervention is key to ensuring this success. This is because people with dyslexia DO need additional, specialised support in helping them to learn to read, write and spell. We work with lots of children with dyslexia, and many of our teachers have undergone specialised training in this area, so we know first-hand that children with dyslexia thrive off direct and explicit instruction. In fact, it can often be counter-productive to force a student with dyslexia to complete the same home/school work as their non-dyslexic peers (there are exceptions, of course).
If a child has not been diagnosed with dyslexia, they may not be in a position to receive specialised support at school. A diagnosis will not pigeonhole anyone. Instead, it will allow them to avail of this additional support. It’s also worth considering that a diagnosis of dyslexia, properly explained, can help to boost a child’s confidence as they now understand that their difficulties with reading, writing and spelling is not a reflection of their intelligence.
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