Children who have good speech and language skills are at an advantage when they learn to read and spell as the development of both spoken and written language skills are closely linked. Conversely, children who are having difficulties with speech and language development are at risk of having associated literacy needs.
Learning to read, write and spell is an essential part of every child’s early education.
A child may be considered to have dyslexia if in spite of adequate teaching the child has specific persistent needs with reading and writing in comparison with his abilities in other spheres to a degree sufficient to prevent school work reflecting his true ability and knowledge. Early identification of the child with dyslexia is essential if these children are to receive appropriate help. The earlier the difficulties are identified the greater the likelihood of successful remediation. The case history of a child with dyslexia may also reveal early previously undiagnosed language difficulties that only become of recognised significance in the light of emerging reading and writing difficulties.
A full multi-disciplinary assessment of a dyslexic child should include an educational psychologist, occupational therapist, teacher, audiologist, orthoptist and paediatrician in addition to a speech and language therapist.
In therapy given for dyslexia the speech and language therapist must be aware of the relationship between spoken and written language. Speech and Language Therapists’ knowledge and skills mean that they are ideally placed to contribute to the management of children with dyslexia. Their training in phonetics is essential to the successful management of a dyslexic child. Informed phonetics and linguistic techniques have been proven to be successful in intervention.
In addition, when providing therapy to children with a spoken language need, the Speech and Language Therapist will consider prerequisite written language skills and actual written language skills as part of the overall intervention programme.
The discharge of a child who is speaking but not reading or writing or showing prerequisite skills appropriate to age cannot be seen as a successful discharge.
When planning intervention the Speech and Language Therapist needs to be aware of the emotional reaction that the existence of a reading and writing difficulty provokes both in the child and carer. Frustration and evasion are understandable sequallae to the educational problems and daily ordeal of school work for these children.
Learning about dyslexia should be mandatory for all new teachers.
Dyslexia affects 10% of all school children.
Watch this video explaining what it’s like to be dyslexic http://bit.ly/ITT_Dys8