By Albine Klawatsch, Occupational Therapist and Certified Dyslexia Trainer
A dyslexic person, of good or average intelligence, perceives his environment in a different way: his attention diminishes when confronted with symbols such as letters and numbers. Due to a deficiency of his partial performances, his perception of these symbols is different to the perception of non-dyslexic people. This results in difficulties when learning to read and write and do arithmetic.
– Dr. Astrid Kopp-Duller (1985)
A good way to understand dyslexia is to establish what it is not. It´s not an acquired reading and spelling weakness which is often associated with physiological, family, psychological problems, teaching methods or learning problems. It´s not a generally sign of low intelligence or slothfulness. Dyslexia is a genetic condition that affects the way the brain processes written and spoken language.
If a child with dyslexia gets the right support to fit his or her needs, in most cases they will be able to manage academic life well. Therefore, early recognition is very important to ensure a good learning process and save a lot of frustration, in addition to preventing negative side effects like behavioral problems regarding to constant demands and lack of understanding (also called secondary dyslexia).
Many signs are already recognizable in pre-school aged-children, but should arise when the child starts school at the latest.
Below are 14 red flags for determining whether a child would benefit from an Educational Dyslexia Assessment:
- 1. Difficulty with reading and spelling.
- 2. Not retaining words consistently.
- 3. Not understanding what he or she is reading.
- 4. Problems converting sounds into symbols
- 5. Difficulty concentrating and getting easily distracted,
- 6. History of reading difficulty in the family.
- 7. Jumbling letters and figures.
- 8. Leaving letters out of words or putting them in the wrong order.
- 9. Lack of progress in reading, writing and spelling, when compared to peers.
- 10. Confusing right and left.
- 11. Trouble with handwriting.
- 12. When reading out loud, often misreading, omitting or inserting words.
- 13. Difficulty learning a foreign language.
- 14. Issues with sequencing words or ideas.
At the first signs of problems in acquiring reading and writing, or if any of the above issues are observed, an assessment should be conducted. The Educational Dyslexia Assessment is designed to efficiently determine dyslexia in children. The results enable adults supporting the child to develop an individualized, fully tailored training program in order to thoroughly support the child and their learning needs.
The first part of the test assesses the attention span. The second part of the test examines age-appropriate sensory perceptions needed for writing, reading or mathematic calculation. The last part is a detailed individual error analysis.
After analysis the test results will point to gaps in skills that are causing problems, and will also help to establish the degree of difficulty, as well as the exact areas in which the child requires support. Training exercises to increases concentration span and improve perceptions, as well as individual training of reading and writing errors is included.