Michael is Dyslexic
Michael, age 7, was having difficulties with reading and writing. His teacher has said that he often mixes up letters, writing a “d” when it should be a “b”. Although he learned to read, he does not understand what he is reading… read more >
Sarah also has Dyslexia
Sarah is 17 now and was having difficulties at school. She worked very hard at her studies and achieved a good Junior Cert. Her mother describes how she spent many hours studying and that she had a home tutor once a week to help her with reading and school work… read more>
Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty where by some children find it difficult to learn to read, write and spell well. It is due inefficient information processing, particularly in the area of phonological (sounds of letters and words) processing. It is more complicated than simply confusing or transposing letters, for example mistaking ”b” and “d.” Difficulties in short term or working memory may also exist, in addition to organisational, sequencing and motor skill difficulties.
How would you recognise Dyslexia in a child?
A child with Dyslexia may have difficulty reading aloud or reading new material. Often they will mispronounce or misread words and when they are reading they read at a slow pace. These children are unlikely to read for pleasure and when they do read they often do not understand the material. This is often due to the amount of effort required for the “technical” aspect of reading.
With writing children will often find it difficult to put their ideas down on paper, and then will have difficulty in recognising the mistakes that they have made. They will often find it easier to express their thoughts and ideas verbally rather than on paper. Often their hand writing is not neat. The above can easily lead to underachievement in school.
Some children tend to be uncoordinated or clumsy and often confuse left from right.
What is Dyslexia?
A simple definition is that it is a learning difficulty which makes it difficult for some people to learn to read, write and spell correctly.
A Report of the Task Force on Dyslexia (2001) states that it is a continuum of specific learning difficulties related to basic skills in reading, spelling and or writing, where such difficulties are unexplained in relation to other abilities and educational experiences. Dyslexia can be described at the neurological, cognitive and behavioural levels. It is typically characterised by inefficient information processing, including difficulties in phonological processing, working memory, rapid naming and fluency of basic skills. Difficulties in organisation, sequencing and motor skills may also be present.
International Studies suggest that approximately 8-10% of the population are likely to be affected by Dyslexia. While there is no comprehensive research carried out in Ireland to determine how prevalent it is, we can assume that more than 50,000 children under 14 have Dyslexia or 2-3 children in every class in primary school.
Conditions that can frequently occur with it are Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia; Dyscalculia is where there can be significant difficulty learning and comprehending mathematics and Dysgraphia is where a child’s ability to write is affected, which can be due to fine motor muscle control in the hands and also processing difficulties.
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Michael had difficulty reading and writing
Michael’s parents became concerned when his teacher mentioned that Michael was having difficulties with reading and writing. His teacher has said that he often mixes up letters, writing a “d” when it should be a “b”. Although Michael has learned to read, he does not understand or comprehend what he is reading. His reading age was below that of his peers.
He often appears to lose attention and is unable to concentrate on what his teacher is saying. His teacher said that she often finds Michael in a daydream; this is especially true when the class as a whole are getting giddy, or there are other children talking, during art for example.
At home Michael finds it very difficult to follow instructions that his parents give him. He is liable to follow the first or last part of an instruction but never the complete instruction.
Michael also often mispronounces words, and his older brother gets frustrated with him when he can’t understand what Michael is trying to say. His mother has often thought that it is as if Michael does not hear the words correctly.
His few friends describe him as being shy, but the reality is that Michael does not say a lot because he is not sure what they were talking about. He can’t work it out quickly enough.
Michael’s parents brought him to Cluas for an assessment. When there, we completed a Listening Test and Standardised Auditory Processing Tests. The results of these tests and anecdotal information from discussion with his parents showed that Michael has Auditory Processing Difficulties. That is, despite having perfect hearing, Michael does not process auditory information (what is said to him) in the same way as his brother.
Michael’s parents indicated that he had very frequent ear infections or Otitis Media. These ear infections have contributed to his Auditory Processing Difficulties, as during the early stages of development, Michael was processing auditory information through the filter of the ear infection. It is also possible that the ear infections impeded the development of his Auditory Processing abilities.
Michael’s parents decided that a Cluas Listening Programme would be beneficial in helping him to develop his Auditory Processing Abilities. The Cluas Programme retrained his ear so that it could firstly receive auditory information correctly and secondly so that it could be processed more efficiently.
The Cluas listening programmes use specialized sound equipment and classical music. Michael’s individual programme was tailored and designed to specifically address his difficulties. This retrained his ability to analyze sounds, and generally retrained his listening and auditory processing abilities.
Michael completed the his Cluas Programme six months ago and now his Mother reports that he is more interested in reading, it is no longer a chore, and that he has taken up his book spontaneously to read, which never happened before. She also reports that his concentration is better and that he is more ‘with it’. He is able to follow the teacher’s instructions and come home with the correct homework. At times, Michael can still reverse words and letters, however he is now doing it less frequently.
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