I think my child is dyslexic

| 09/06/2016

My otherwise bright 9-year-old son is still struggling to read and I think he might be dyslexic. What do I do?

I asked a local special needs teacher and she recommended that your first stop should be with one of the child’s teachers at school or the principal to talk about your concerns. Ask them if your son is performing at their age-expected level in reading and spelling, and if there does indeed seem to be a problem, request that he is seen by the school’s special education needs coordinator (SENCO), which all government schools have and who are trained to evaluate students’ learning difficulties.

If your son attends a private school and it does not have a staff member qualified to do this, there is a non-profit organisation called the Special Needs Foundation Cayman — see the website here or go straight to the page on dyslexia and reading difficulties here. The site has lots of useful information and also links to where you can find professional help on-island.

While this does not replace an evaluation by a trained professional, there is an online test — see here — that you and your son can go through initially to see if he might have dyslexia (the site has similar tests for dyspraxia and ADHD as well).

According to the British Dyslexia Association, 10% of the population are dyslexic, 4% severely so. However, there are many dedicated SEN teachers on island, government and private, who can both assess your son’s reading problem and give him the help he needs if he is, in fact, found to be dyslexic or has some other reading disability.

Category: Ask Auntie, Education Questions

Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Dyslexia is treatable. Have NeuroVisual Evaluation for binocular vision dysfunction ( eye misalignment). Visit this site, there are online tests for kids and adults http://vision-specialists.com/
    Have your child tested at Arrowsmith School Toronto for dyslexia and other learning disabilities caused by treatable conditions.

    CNS, please help to distribute this flyer to to every primary
    care optometrist,ophthalmologist, teacher,
    public health specialist and therapist you know. The Binocular Vision Dysfunction Pandemic.


  2. RightsaidFred says:

    As a parent to 1 and a relative to 2 dyslexics the sad reality is that teachers do not know how to recognize dyslexia – even in 2016 – and when a specialist confirms that they are dyslexic the teachers have a frustrating attitude that they will “grow out of it. Just have them read more”.

    Dyslexia is more than just issues of reading words differently and swapping letters around when writing. Other indications of dyslexia – having issues with rhyme, having direction confusion and switching sayings around and numbers around.

    Reading is highly frustrating for a dyslexic. Like wanting to run a marathon but having acute asthma.

    They don’t grow out of it. They are not being lazy.

    Their IQ’s are often very high which is even more frustrating because the education system is so centered around reading and assessing people based on their reading standards that difficulting in reading seems to override everything else.

    As a Cayman resident I strongly suggest going to an educational specialist off island for testing.
    Proper testing takes about a week and a variety of tests are completed. They should provide you with suggested in-class and at-home accommodations to aide coping with dyslexia. Or they may identify another issue.

    If your child is confirmed dyslexic (or whatever their case may be) then it is imperative to meet with the school and have them put in place an IEP (educational plan) which formally allows for some in class modifications. Then as a parent remember to follow up 1x quarter to check the IEP is being used. And at the start of each year meet with the teachers and explain your child’s strengths and needs all over again. And reset the IEP.

    Usually with dyslexics all other grades are fine but English (reading/writing/spelling/reading comprehension) grades are poor. An example of an accommodation to consider would be for the teacher to let your child take their spelling tests verbally. We found a marked difference between the written spelling tests and verbal spelling tests. We had my son do both each week because he knew how to spell but when it comes to writing it, it comes out wrong. He wrote the test with the other kids and stayed back at the end of class to do the verbal test. Or would go in a bit earlier in the morning to do the verbal tests. His teachers were quite willing to help.
    For comprehension see the variance between someone reading to the child and allowing verbal responses compared to the child reading and then writing responses. Again we saw a marked difference. The spelling was being tested. The comprehension was being tested. Just with slight accommodations.
    Being allowed to type assignments / having a scribe are also accommodations that can be put in place.

    Dyslexics are usually fantastic “audio learners”.

    If your child is dyslexic your support as a parent will be fundamental during the school / uni years.

    To improve reading speed and accuracy, Audio books help but make sure your child is reading along with the book. Most online book sellers offer the audio version.

    The lessons I have learnt are
    1. Don’t let teachers fob you off. Dyslexia is real.
    2. Every child is different and accommodations can be made with A a little effort.
    3. Dyslexia is a way of life for life. You don’t outgrow it.
    4. Don’t see dyslexia as negative.

    Steps to help your child-
    Get your child tested during the summer holidays by an educational psychologist. The school will use this as a basis for the IEP; schedule meetings with the guidance counsellor for the first week of the new school year; meet with the teachers; get an I.E.P in place.

    If the school is unsupportive consider another school. It is refreshing to see how a supportive school can have such an impact on the child and family unit.

    “It takes a village to raise a child”

  3. Anonymous says:

    Maybe he needs glasses. You would be surprised to know how many parents fail to pickup something as simple as that.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree! This can also be a small possibility!

      Because I myself had the same issue, my parents was in the same situation with me, and once I got my glasses, I improved a lot, although thinking back to it, I’m pretty sure I caused a lot of grief for my parents due to me destroying my glasses from the constant teasing and bullying I endured..

      Anyways that’s just a small thing to look out for. If your child does end up needing glasses, might I suggest to have a few extra pairs on hand just in case.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It’s very important that the parent assure her son that he is not “dumb”. On the contrary, dyslexics tend to be highly intelligent; they have to be, in order to compensate for their handicap. My son grew up in the days before dyslexia was a recognised problem in Cayman. His classmates called him dumb, and his teachers always complained that he wasn’t paying attention in class. He was finally diagnosed at his boarding school in England at the age of 18. He has told me of the utter relief of being able to put a name to his problem.

    Today, he reads and writes English almost perfectly (almost: he tends to spell long words accurately, but sometimes slips up with short words), and also reads and writes two foreign languages very well.

    • Sarah Bsrnett says:

      Look on YouTube for Walesby Vision Center. You will be surprised at the way vision problems can mimick dyslexia and ADD etc.