What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty which hinders the learning process in relation to reading, writing and spelling. When the ability to recognise and manage numbers is affected it is sometimes called dyscalculia. These difficulties are often called specific learning difficulties. These are lasting difficulties but do not affect all learning skills. In many cases children who have dyslexia can achieve at or above the average level in other areas.
Dyslexia may affect:
- the development of the ability to remember what is seen or heard in sequence
- the ability to identify sounds in words, e.g. rhymes, similar sounds and syllables
- speed of reading and understanding
- the ability to put things in order, e.g. letters, groups of letters, days, months, stories or information.
What are the learning implications?
Pupils with dyslexic-type difficulties make mistakes in reading and writing. For example, some letters and numbers are swapped or back-to-front. The connection between letter shape and sound is difficult to learn and remember. When they are learning to read, some of the usual ways of working out unknown words are harder for them than others. More able readers will recognise a word through its shape, or by looking at parts of the word, letter groups, syllables or the meaning of the sentence. Dyslexic pupils often have difficulty with one, or more, of these methods. And when they start to write, the letters are often drawn wrongly and writing may not flow.
In addition, pupils with dyslexia can also find problems with directions, map-reading, recognising left and right and reading music.
Dyslexia affects some pupils very little. Others find that they face real difficulties in learning, their confidence and self-esteem are affected and they lose motivation.
Pupils may find that they need help in recording what they know – for example, with the use of dictaphones, charts, diagrams or models.
How might the TA give support?
A TA can:
- encourage effort
- ensure success as far as possible in all subjects
- amend worksheets to make them understandable
- provide key words
- act as scribe
- read out questions
- enable self correction
- look through materials in advance of the lesson
- practise memory games
- encourage use of information technology, such as word processor, dictaphone
- plan and evaluate with the teacher and/or SENCO.
- The LEA is likely to have specialist teachers or educational psychologists who can provide information and advice
- The British Dyslexia Association, 98 London Road, Reading, RG1 5AU; www.bda-dyslexia.org.uk
- The Dyslexia Institute, Park House, Wick Road, Egham, Surrey TW20 0HH; www.dyslexia-inst.org.uk