I am worried that my child may have Dyslexia and am unsure as to when might be the best time to request they be assessed, to see if this can be identified. Are you able to advise me on the best timing for this?
Generally the age that a child can have a formal diagnosis of Dyslexia is around 7 years; although it depends on the individual child. If there are other factors such as general developmental delay, a diagnosis of ADHD or Autistic Spectrum Conditions, this may alter the timing for the diagnosis. Diagnosis of dyslexia is a process which can take more than one meeting with an Educational Psychologist or suitably qualified Specialist teacher at such a young age.
Before arranging formal diagnosis a range of strategies should have been tried to improve reading, writing and spelling skills, such as making learning fun, use of computers and/or multi-sensory approaches to learning. If these strategies have not resulted in major improvements and you and your child are suffering due to worry about the pace of of progress, a formal diagnosis may then be appropriate.
Sometimes children display bad behaviour as an avoidance strategy and can be bullied because of their difficulty with Literacy. This can sometimes lead to their becoming depressed. A diagnosis can give a reason as to why learning to read, write and spell has been so difficult. Parent, teachers and child can then use this to put in place support measures to help build self-esteem, as well as lead to informed appropriate additional support with learning and a greater understanding of the struggle the child is having.
Is Dyslexia just about difficulties with reading, writing and spelling?
Dyslexia is not just about reading, writing and spelling difficulties, it can also make organisation, co-ordination and remembering both information and instructions a struggle. It can also lead to under motivation and low mood or frustration.
Children with un-diagnosed Dyslexia can sometimes be perceived as being lazy. Dyslexia is not an excuse for lack of motivation, but it does explain why children who have it can become disengaged from education. This is usually as they can often be frustrated with striving to overcome their difficulties with learning, whilst not “showing themselves up” in front of their peers and teachers.
It can be worrying and frustrating to try as hard as you can, but still not remember your spelling or to know you will have to read out loud and be worried about mis-reading words or struggling in front of your friends and classmates. This can lead to a lack of confidence and a reticence to participate in class activities or ask questions.