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dyslexia
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Dyslexia In UK Primary Schools
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My child is dyslexic, he’s been assessed by a trained psychologist and has a very detailed, in depth report. With this I mistakenly thought the primary school he attends would take his learning difficulties seriously and provide him with the support he actually needs to succeed in his education and of course the rest of his future. How wrong can a person be!

I don’t know about you but I’m of the opinion that primary school is the foundation for the rest of a child’s education, it’s the time when children are willing to learn, when they are happy to learn and when they enjoy learning, by the time a child moves on to senior school the path is usually already set.

Is it too late therefore for a child with dyslexia to change their minds about their education when they arrive at senior school? Hard to answer, the dyslexia research trust says “1 in 10 children have dyslexia. Dyslexia is the most common cause of childhood loss of self-esteem, leading to profound misery, or vandalism, violence and criminality. 50% of convicted criminals are thought to be dyslexic” This makes me think that if these people received the correct support at a young age, would they now lead a life of crime?

Senior schools do supply support for children with dyslexia which is why it is important to have your child fully assessed before he or she starts, the school will then form an action plan from day 1.

So, why don’t primary schools have adequate support for those children with dyslexia? Maybe it’s down to money, down to training or it could be just a lack of understanding, I can’t say I really know! Nobody seems to be able to give me a sensible answer. If you know the answer I’d be happy to receive.

Because I’ve been unable to get anywhere with my son’s school I have spent months and months searching the internet for help and advice.

Listed below some tips to help with your child’s school.

  • The best age to have a full dyslexia assessment carried out is at the age of 7 or above but before they attend senior school. Before the age of 7 you might not get an accurate picture as children learn at different speeds.
  • The report needs to be shared with the head teacher, the Senco (special education needs co-ordinator) and the class teacher. Setup an initial meeting with all three ensuring you have clear objectives.
  • You need to insist on regular meetings to discuss your child’s progress. One at the end of each term would be beneficial.
  • Make yourself known to the class teacher don’t be afraid of making a nuisance of yourself. You need to be able to talk to them about your concerns or any problems your child is having.
  • Make yourself known to your child’s learning mentor and discuss your issues/concerns with them also.
  • A school is obligated to teach your child to the best of their potential. It’s worth bearing in mind that a dyslexic child is often intelligent therefore teaching them to the best of their potential might be overlooked as they struggle with reading and writing.
  • The levels of special educational needs are ‘school action’ and ‘school action plus’ it is only when a child reaches ‘school action plus’ will the school be entitled to advice and additional resources from external bodies.
  • Primary schools in the UK have received funding to teach 10 pupils on a 1 to 1 basis, if you feel your child will benefit from this ask the school why your child has not been chosen for this scheme.
  • There are various software packages which schools can incorporate on to their systems to help teach children with dyslexia. Mention these to the school and try and persuade them to use them.
  • If none of the above helps write a letter to the chair of governors for the school copying in the local education authority. You should then see some results.

All the above will take time and you do need to give the school chance to adapt, don’t rush in without thinking.

Remember we are not trying to label our children we are only trying to help them.

Now… how you can help your child with dyslexia, follow the simple rules.

  • Dyslexic children learn best by multisensory learning – Seeing, Touching, Saying, Doing.
  • Homework – only spend 10 minutes at a time on homework avoiding frustration, tantrums etc. from both sides. Be patient and praise them no matter what they do.
  • Reading – allow your child to read books or comics that interest him or her. Forcing a child to read a boring book will not help. Read the book together, for instance you read one page then your child reads a page.
  • Reading – If your child comes across a word that he is unable to read within 2 or 3 seconds tell him what the word is don’t force him to sound it out. Children loose the sense of what the story is if they are forever stopping to sound out words. This results in boredom of the book and boredom of the story. We are encouraging our children to enjoy reading.
  • Reading – Encourage your child to read without him knowing he’s reading i.e. ask your child to find out what time your favourite programme is on tonight.
  • PC – Allow your child to play educational games on the PC. To them they are playing, to you they are also learning.
  • PC – Encourage your child to learn how to touch type, this will be of great benefit to them as they grow up.
  • Play games, lots of phonetic games are fun and as a family you can all play together.

Remember your home should be a safe, secure and relaxing place for your child if all you are doing is trying to teach them then the home will become an insecure place just like the school. This is the last thing you want.


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