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What actually is dyslexia? What you need to know

I’m sure you have heard of dyslexia and may well understand that it is a lifelong condition which affects reading and spelling along with certain other skills.  But do you know why it creates these challenges?  And more importantly, did you know that dyslexics actually have many strengths and cognitive advantages which can lead them to become very successful in the modern world?

IMG_2510Dyslexia is a genetic learning difference which affects roughly 1 in 5 children and adults. It occurs because the wiring of the dyslexic brain is simply different to that of non-dyslexics.  This, unfortunately, makes the foundation skills of education particularly challenging.  For example:

  • Reading – Dyslexic individuals have difficulty recognising and manipulating sounds, letters and words.
  • Memory Systems – Dyslexics can find remembering instructions, concentrating, working things out and mentally organising information a real struggle and this can can affect numerous aspects of learning and day to day life.
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar – These skills require the individual to be able to remember a series of information, and rules. Therefore, difficulties with memory are going to impact these abilities.
  • Maths – So much of mathematical ability relies on recognising and remembering symbols and formulas and hence challenges with memory makes mental maths particularly difficult.

This being said, dyslexia also produces some terrific cognitive strengths and enhanced skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, empathy, communication and a heightened ability to take a step back and see the big picture. These strengths give the individual a unique advantage in the changing environment of today’s world.

girls on desk looking at notebook

Every dyslexic child or adult will have a different pattern of strengths and challenges and if they are identified early, given structured, individualised support which targets their specific needs and strengths they will have the chance to catch up with their peers academically, improve their self-esteem and really flourish.

If you think your child may be dyslexic, don’t wait.  Call me on (01986) 788011 for a chat about how I can help.

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