Imagine if you were able to give you child some sort of answer to why he can’t seem to get stuff the way other kids can?
What if you were able to tell your child, “The reason you struggle so much at school is not because you are less clever than your classmates – it’s because you have dyslexia”?
There are so many reasons why it’s important to identify dyslexia in your child as early as possible. Perhaps the most important is the effect on your child’s self confidence. Feelings of frustration and failure can be extremely harmful to a child’s self esteem. Isn’t it better that your child knows there is a problem that is not their fault?
“When school or work is difficult, the best news to tell a parent, child or adult is “it’s because you have dyslexia”. This unlocks doors to self-understanding” Bernadette McLean, Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre
Why is early identification of dyslexia so important?
Early identification of dyslexia allows you to encourage your child’s brain plasticity
Although our brains never stop changing and adjusting, over the first few years of life, the brain grows rapidly. As children develop, learn new information and have different experiences, connections in their brains alter and change. This is known as brain plasticity (from the Greek word ‘plastos’ meaning molded). Brain plasticity is strongest during childhood. This is why children learn so fast!
The bad news is, recent research suggested that brain plasticity in children with dyslexia may well be less efficient. The dyslexic brain appears to show a decrease in the ability to adapt to the repetition of information.
In other words, when a dyslexic child is presented with information that he has seen before, he may well view and process the information as if it was completely new. Does that sound like your dyslexic child?
We all know that learning to read and write involves a lot of repetition! We also know that traditional learning strategies involving repetition (such as rote learning) to do not work well for children with dyslexia.
So you can see that it’s essential to get in there early and encourage your dyslexic child’s brain plasticity as much as possible. Which brings me to my next point…
Early identification of dyslexia allows you to help your child
With the best will in the world, dyslexia can’t be prevented or cured. Neither does it go away over time. Your child needs the right kind of support. This is where an early assessment is useful. If you, your child and his teacher are aware of his difficulties, he can begin to get help. Dyslexia throws a lot of learning challenges your child’s way. Early intervention has been shown to help forestall – or at least lessen – some of these challenges. And can also build up your dyslexic child’s self confidence.
Your child’s school can help by encouraging teachers to adopt a multi-sensory approach to their teaching. A skilled teacher can also guide your child towards learning methods that work for them. Short, intensive sessions with a knowledgeable teacher can make a big impact on your dyslexic child’s learning.
You, as a parent, can help by cultivating a solid relationship with your child’s teacher to support your child’s learning. Encourage your child at home. Try to abandon those traditional learning models from your own days at school and get active! Check out some of the ideas on this website. Harness your child’s creativity and sense of fun so that he owns his learning! And remember to read, read, read!
Early identification is important for the dyslexic child’s self confidence
It’s a fact that children with dyslexia are vulnerable to low self esteem. A child’s self-esteem is a strong determiner of their success and happiness throughout life. Parents often find it easier to give the right kind of support if their child’s difficulty has been properly assessed and understood. Contribute to your child’s long-term wellbeing by identifying their difficulties as soon as possible and creating an effective and meaningful support system for your child.
If you are concerned about a child who may be showing signs of dyslexia, check out these dyslexia pointers on the British Dyslexia Association website.
For more information on how and when to have your child tested, take a look at my assessment page.