When most people think about Dyslexia, they think about reversing numbers and letters and difficulties with reading. But Dyslexia is far more than this. Most children and adults who are diagnosed with Dyslexia report a number of other difficulties with spelling, writing, comprehension and memory.
Dyslexia is estimated to affect some 10% of the Australian population. In Australia, 10% of children have Dyslexia, according to the Australian Dyslexia Association Trust and according to some studies up to 20% of children leaving school are unable to read properly. This is partly due to Dyslexia not being detected at an earlier stage
Without proper diagnosis, children quite often become frustrated without the knowledge of why they are experiencing difficulties at school, lack interest in school and consequently are quite often mistaken for having behavioural difficulties.
Many parents believe that if their child is displaying learning difficulties, then these would have been detected by their teachers. But the sad truth is that this is not so. I quite often come across children in High School who have gone undiagnosed throughout their Primary School years, but once they start High School and there is a dramatic increase in what is being demanded of them, their ability to “cruise” is no longer sufficient enough to sustain their average grades.
Many teens and adults may have found ways to mask Dyslexia often re-teaching themselves in ways that they can retain and re-use information presented to them. Over time, the focus becomes on developing compensatory strategies when they have to read, write and spell.
Adults with Dyslexia may experience the following difficulties:
- Avoiding activities that involve reading: Due to shame and difficulties
- Take a long time to complete activities that involve reading and writing. This is because people who are diagnosed with Dyslexia often have to re-read sentences several times to fully understand, which can become very tiresome and boring. Writing can prove laborious due to a lack of confidence when it comes to choice of words, spelling and punctuation.
- Poor spelling: As a result, those with Dyslexia tend to rely on tools like spell-checking, or they may ask others to help them with written work.
- Difficulty with planning and organising: A poor concept of time makes it very difficult to plan and estimate how long tasks take to complete. People who are diagnosed with Dyslexia may experience difficulties with meeting deadlines.
- Difficulty memorising: Although people with Dyslexia tend to have excellent long-term memory for experiences, locations and faces, they tend to struggle with memorising sequences, facts or things they were not personally involved in.
- Difficulty with finding the right words during a conversation: Dyslexia can also cause people to incorrectly pronounce the names of people and places, or confuse words that sound alike.
Benefits of undergoing a Dyslexia Assessment:
There are a number of reasons why undergoing a Dyslexia Assessment is useful. Firstly, it will identify key problem areas and will provide more knowledge so you can assist your child best or improve their skills to circumvent these difficulties. More specifically:
· Many schools require a formal report in order to be provided with extra accommodations at school, like additional time for test-taking or modifying how homework is delivered.
· It may help the child feel to better about the difficulty, because they know it’s not “their fault”, but just how their brain is wired.
· It can help you frame the difficulty in a wider context for the child. Many highly successful artists, entrepreneurs, actors, directors, architects, etc. are Dyslexic and struggled to read in school.
· The assessments usually give you a profile of your child’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses in things like phonemic awareness, visual-spatial skills, and more.
· For adults:
Adults that are diagnosed with Dyslexia are able to apply for additional time for their studies. Furthermore, a lot of people find it difficult to explain the problem to others and the report will help you to be able to do that better.
In the workplace, the report can be used to see if any adjustments can be made to the way you work in order to help you do your job more efficiently.
And for those who are seeking employment and finding it difficult due to the need to complete psychometric assessments, a formal report can assist you in requesting a modified assessment process. A Dyslexia assessment is also a useful safeguard in the event that you are discriminated against at work.
Dyslexia is a learning disability so it has the same protection as any other kind of disability under the Disability Discrimination Act.