Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty which makes it hard for some people to learn to read, write and spell correctly. The Report of the Task Force on Dyslexia -2001 (available to download below) provides the following definition:
|"Dyslexia is manifested in a continuum of specific learning difficulties related to the acquisition of basic skills in reading, spelling and/or writing, such difficulties being unexplained in relation to an individual's other abilities and educational experiences.
Dyslexia can be described at the neurological, cognitive and behavioural levels. It is typically characterised by inefficient information processing, including difficulties in phonological processing, working memory, rapid naming and automaticity of basic skills. Difficulties in organisation, sequencing and motor skills may also be present. (p.31)"
Dyslexia can only be properly diagnosed by an Educational Psychologist who can identify the extent of the problem and offer specific advice on remedial work.
However the video to the right may help you as a parent to identify whether your child may have problems for which you should seek professional help.
If you feel your child may have Dyslexia, you should speak with the child's teacher to see if they have also identified problems and to enquire about having an assessment carried out through the Department of Education and Science's Psychological Service, the National Educational Psychological Service (NEPS) . Unfortunately, while such free assessments are available, we hear anecdotely that individual schools can only avail of a limited number of assessments for individual children per year so if a school has identified problems with a few children, there may be a considerable waiting period. In the event that you have to arrange a private assessment you can expect to pay around €400 however tax relief on the assessment fee of a dependent child is allowable via the MED1 Form. A list of registered psychologists can be obtained from the Psychological Society of Ireland's website. There are also some listed on our learning resources/tutors page on schooldays.ie.
On receiving your child's assessment report, it is important to ask for an explanation of the results of the tests in order to identify the child's strengths/weaknesses. The reports can contain a lot of 'jargon'. Your child's school may be able to assist with understanding the results or you may wish to seek help from the Dyslexia Association of Ireland in interpreting the report.
Children with dyslexia can avail of learning support (this is known as the general allocation - read Dept of Educ C/L above) either on an in-class basis or small group withdrawal from class. The school might be able to offer more than this, but this is down to what ever resources and demands on those resources that the school have.
There are four designated 'reading' schools for students with specific learning disabilities nationwide. The Dyslexia Association of Ireland (DAI) offers out-of-school workshops for students with dyslexia in 28 locations around the country and several branches also run summer schools. For more information, see the DAI website.
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