What is Dyslexia?

What we used to call "Dyslexia" is now simply called "a specific difficulty in reading". 

It is a neurological problem and occurs as a result of a person having difficulty working with the sounds in words.  

It is not caused by problems with vision nor the physical condition of the body, although such conditions certainly make learning to read and write more difficult. 

It is evidenced by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor reading and decoding abilities.  (Decoding is the ability to break words up into their sounds.)  (Dyslexia SPELD Foundation, Perth, 2017)

These difficulties are often unexpected, especially when compared with the child's other abilities.

Due to the person having difficulties recognising words, there may be difficulties with comprehension (although this is not always the case) or a decreased desire to read. 

What are the signs of Dyslexia?

​ The signs of dyslexia ('a specific learning disorder in reading') vary a little according to the age of the child, but there are a number of consistent indicators.  

* People with dyslexia have difficulty with activities that involve sounds - such as breaking words into their syllables or their individual sounds (segmenting), blending sounds together (blending) or manipulating sounds in and out of words.  

 Learning to read is a difficult process and the child's reading is often slow and lacks fluency. 

* There is often a family history of reading difficulties.

* The difficulties with reading and spelling are unexpected considering the person's other capabilities and skills.

* Children will often guess at the words rather than sound them out. This can result in inaccurate word choices, which, when combined with their poor fluency, produces poor levels of comprehension of the text read.  

* When writing, dyslexic students' pieces contain many errors and they will frequently use incorrect spelling patterns or write the letters of a word in an incorrect orderWriting is a hugely laborious task and in the same time period as their non-dyslexic peers, the amount written by a dyslexic student is usually a lot less and / or difficult for others to undestand.  

* Increasingly, the dyslexic child may become despondant or frustrated and may express a dislike for reading, writing or even school itself.

LATE  PRIMARY AGE and SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS often find the increasing demands for literacy really challenging as secondary school work requires a lot more reading and writing.  The complexity of the language within the texts at this level is often beyond their reading level skill.   

Students often present at different ends of a spectrum. Some students apply themselves with a very high degree of diligence at home and at school but their work fails to reflect their efforts. Instead, they may be constantly told by their teachers to 'work harder'.  Alternatively, some dyslexic students become so frustrated that they become reluctant to attend class or find it easier to be distruptive or the class clown rather than constantly struggle. 


Obtaining a Diagnosis of Dyslexia

It is important to have your child's vision and hearing checked in order to eliminate the possibility that there is an underlying, undiagnosed, physical condition that is affecting his or her learning.  However, due to the fact that dyslexia is a neurological disorder, opticians and other such clinicians are NOT qualified to give a dyslexia diagnosis.

The actual diagnosis of dyslexia should only be done by someone qualified to administer the necessary standardized tests. These tests usually include testing of a person's intellectual ability, cognitive (thinking) processes and oral and expressive language skills.  Thus, the testing is best done by an educational psychologist.  (Your local SPELD association has educational pyschologists who can help here.)

Furthermore, in order to eliminate the possibility that your child's difficulties may have stemmed from poor teaching or inadequate programs being used by the school, it is now a requirement for there to be a minimum of six months of targeted intervention using a recognised intervention program BEFORE the assessment is performed.  

How can I help my child?

Because dyslexia is caused by problems with the 'sounds' section of the brain, people with dyslexia are best helped by receiving explicit instruction designed to develop their ability to work with sounds - manipulate, blend and segment them. 

This is best done through the use of an effective, highly structured phonics program, one that incrementally and systematically introduces sounds one (or at the most two) at a time to the child. This knowledge should be revised regularly and the skills reinforced with decodable reading books that follow the same sequence of sound introduction as in the lesson presentation.    

Since the brain needs to learn how to make the correct connnections, it is important to have the sessions regularly and the content and skills reinforced frequently in between sessions. 



Tutoring Services aims to provide a supportive, caring approach to your child's learning, whilst upholding the high standards required by the Dyselxia SPELD Foundation of Perth and AUSPELD.  
 We hear your cry for help for your child.  Our desire is to give students a sound understanding of literacy and numeracy skills, no matter where they live. We work one-on-one with struggling students and plan each child's program according to his/her needs.