I think my child is dyslexic. What do I do next?

Read as much as you can about dyslexia. Good books to start off with are:-

Contact a local organisation. The following should be able to put you in touch with one.

Try to get specialist teaching help. Speak to your child’s teacher and try to get an assessment through your school. Arrange for your child to be assessed by a psychologist, or by a specialist practitioner of Specific Learning Difficulties (dyslexia).

Consider the ‘Nessy‘ programme. You can teach your child at home with it, or you could encourage your child’s school to use the programme for teaching all their dyslexic children, or you could call in a teacher to use it with a small group (no more than 3) of dyslexic children.

How do I get tested for dyslexia?

Go to an independent psychologist or specialist assessor. Make sure that the assessor is used to identifying dyslexia. You should be able to get the names of assessors from your local dyslexia association, or through the Association of Child Psychologists in Private Practice or the British Psychological Society.

Private assessments usually start at around £500+, but they give an understanding of the way the individual’s learning style and this can not only identify specific areas of difficulty, but can also be useful for later career choices.

Bristol Dyslexia Centre can provide assessments for dyslexia go to assessments for more information.

If you are a parent, ask your child’s school teacher, SENCo or Headteacher If he/she can be assessed by the local authority educational psychology service. You may have to wait a long time for this to happen, or the school may feel that it is not appropriate so you will need to discuss this with school.

If you are an adult in work, you could approach your HR or occupational health department to see if a referral for an assessment is possible.

If you are a student at College or University contact your Student Disability Services Department.

My child's teacher doesn't believe in dyslexia. What can I say?

Dyslexia is officially recognised in this country as a disability. Make an official complaint to the Headteacher. If this does not have the desired effect, write an official letter of complaint to your Local Education Authority (LEA).

If this still does not ensure a change of attitude, change your child’s school to a more enlightened one.

If you are living abroad or in a country where dyslexia is not recognised, try to encourage teachers to learn about it by offering books, articles and websites which highlight the need for understanding.

Can I be cured of dyslexia?

There is no ‘cure’ because dyslexia is not an illness. It is a different way of thinking and using the brain. However, the effects of dyslexia can be minimised when students are taught in ways that suit their style of learning. Most students can learn to overcome their dyslexic difficulties if they are properly taught. Severe dyslexics may always have difficulty when reading and spelling, despite specialist teaching, but they can learn to read and write – albeit slowly. Most dyslexics can overcome their difficulties.

Is it my right to have my child assessed by the school?

Schools may be able to provide a dyslexia screener. Speak to the SENDCo. In some cases the school can refer your child for assessment to an educational psychologist from the local authority.

However, this may take a long time and in the meantime, your child is falling further and further behind. While waiting it is best to take action and get specialist help, or use the Nessy programme to help your child to learn more effectively. Even if your child is not dyslexic, he/she would benefit from the structured, incremental programme.

Where can I get more information on dyslexia?