Help and frequently asked questions

Does my child have dyslexia?


If your child is having difficulty reading and writing, there is a chance they may suffer dyslexia. This learning difficulty makes it hard for a person to decode words, which can hamper their development in school. Dyslexia can be challenging to diagnose at first because children are often unaware there is a problem and some parents may think reading and writing difficulties are related to eye issues such as farsightedness. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, however it is important to note there is no connection between dyslexia and a child's intelligence. The disorder affects people of all intelligence levels and reading ability is linked more closely to the severity of dyslexia than intelligence. This means a highly intelligent child with severe dyslexia is more likely to have trouble reading and writing than a peer with average intelligence and mild dyslexia.

How does dyslexia affect reading and writing?

Dyslexia is notable for creating problems across a number of areas that are important for reading and writing tasks, such as:Verbal processing speed: The speed at which people process verbal information, including letters and digits.This can affect tasks such as writing down phone numbers or being able to spell out unfamiliar words.

Phonological awareness: The ability to understand how words are formed and structured. This includes realising that words are made up of smaller units of sound during early stages of reading development. As such, children with dyslexia may find it more difficult to identify that replacing the 'd' in 'dog' with a 'c' makes the word 'cog'.

Verbal memory: Children with poor verbal memory often have problems remembering sequences of information over a short period of time.This may include simple sets of instructions or a shopping list.How does dyslexia affect the eyes?More than one-third of people who have dyslexia are thought to experience discomfort because of visual disturbances when reading print. Common symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred letters or difficulty focusing
  • Shimmering or shaking letters
  • Oversensitivity to glare
  • Difficulties tracking across the page
  • Double-vision when looking at letters
  • A preference for wide spacing and large fonts

Dyslexic people should seek the advice of an optometrist or specialist with expertise in this field to see if there are any suitable treatments that could ease these complaints.

Are there treatments for dyslexia?

There is currently no cure for dyslexia. However, educational programs and additional learning could help children to improve their writing and reading skills.The success level of these approaches is variable, with some children experiencing good progress, while others continue to struggle and may need further specialist tuition.

How can visual disturbances due to dyslexia be treated?

While there is no cure for dyslexia, the disorder does create visual disturbances and discomfort in some people that can be treated.For example, children who have problems reading and writing can also struggle with eye co-ordination and focusing abilities. These issues can be improved through eye exercises or by wearing glasses.People with dyslexia may also find it easier to read when the background of a page or screen is coloured. This is because they are sensitive to white glare.

Reading from cream- or pastel-coloured backgrounds can help prevent these problems, while tinted glasses are also sometimes prescribed. However, it is important to ensure that eye co-ordination issues are diagnosed and resolved before coloured filters are selected. An optometrist that specialises in this area should be able to perform tests to discover what filters are the best option for you.

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