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Getting the right support for children with dyslexia

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Your guide to the signs of dyslexia and step-by-step advice on how to get your child the appropriate educational support.

How can you tell if your child is dyslexic?

Signs of dyslexia can appear in children as young as four years old when they’re attending pre-school. Your child may find it difficult to learn nursery rhymes. They may also struggle to remember the names of familiar objects and substitute words for objects, such as ‘lampshade’ for ‘lamppost’.

Non-language indicators of dyslexia could be that as a baby your child may have walked early but did not crawl. You may also notice that your child finds physical activities, such as skipping, hopping or catching, throwing and kicking a ball difficult. They may possibly have trouble getting dressed efficiently and placing their shoes on the correct feet.

As your child reaches primary school their dyslexia will become more evident in their school work. They will have difficulty reading and spelling, either not understanding what they have just read or putting letters the wrong way round when writing.

For information and tips on dyslexia from parents and children, download the free booklet, Understanding Dyslexia, from the Parent Champions website of the Dyslexia-SpLD Trust.

Finding the right support for your child

Speak to your child’s teacher and explain why you think your child might be dyslexic so that they can provide the relevant support.

If you still have concerns after speaking with them then you should make an appointment to see the school's Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). They should implement SEN support for your child. This should set out the steps which the school needs to take in order to ensure your child receives the appropriate support. This is all done in line with the SEN Code of Practice which requires schools to provide 'appropriate support so that all children have the opportunity to benefit from an inclusive education'.

You could also ask for an educational psychologist at the Local Education Authority (LEA) to conduct an informal assessment. If for some reason the school is unwilling to refer your child, you can apply directly yourself.

Applying for an assessment through the LEA is free but there is a chance of a long waiting list. So there is also the option of having a private assessment carried out either by a suitable qualified teacher or a Chartered Educational Psychologist who specialises in Specific Learning Difficulties. For help finding out where you can go for a private assessment contact your local Dyslexia Association.

What happens next?

If SEN support is required for your child, the next step will be to implement it. Once this is done you should expect regular meetings with the school in order to monitor your child’s progress.

If you opted to carry out an independent assessment, the second step will be to meet with the SENCO and discuss the outcomes of the report. This should provide the SENCO with a basis to build the action plan in order to help your child.

In some cases the school may reject the findings from an independent assessment. If this happens you should contact the Chief Education Officer for your LEA and ask that the school implements an action plan. If the school still doesn’t provide adequate support for your child then you should request the help of the school governor in charge of Special Needs. If your child has a diagnosed disability then they are entitled to support under the Disability Discrimination Act at school.

Other resources:

British Dyslexia Association
Parent Champions
The Dyslexia-SpLD Trust

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