Childhood dyslexia: Expert help

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Child getting help from a teacher_photolibrary
We spoke to Professor John Stein, a professor in neuroscience from the Dyslexia Research Trust and he gave this expert advice for parents of children with dyslexia.

'There are lots of signs that could indicate your child is dyslexic:

  • Their reading and spelling far worse than you'd expect from the child's general intelligence.
  • If they have a close relative with reading and spelling difficulties it could be an indication as there is a genetic inheritance for dyslexia.
  • They might mistake order of sounds, or mispronunce things. Even at age 8 it could be an indication - eg. capatolt for catapault, sojisses for sausages.
  • They can't hear fine differences in words, eg, writes 'pin' for 'pen', dog for dodge etc.
  • Difficulties learning the alphabet
  • Letters appear to move around
  • Glare, eye strain, headaches when reading
  • Confuses the order of letters in words
  • Still writes letters and numbers backwards at age 8
  • Spells the same word differently even within one paragraph.
  • Poor short term memory eg. remembering phone numbers
  • Problems carrying out actions or giving thoughts in logical order.
  • They have difficulty carrying out a sequence of directions.
  • A tendency to be clumsy, poor balance.
  • Can't tell left from right.
  • Problems with sequencing: alphabet, days of week, months of the year
  • Problems learning multiplication tables

Other tips for parents...

'Make sure that teachers know what dyslexia is. They're taught very little about it at Training Colleges. The simple things like being always encouraging, not accusing the child of being stupid and lazy, speaking clearly, repeating instructions slowly, avoiding glare in classrooms can make a big difference.'

Research into dyslexia

The Dyslexia Research Trust has carried out a large amount of the research into new methods to assist dyslexia including how coloured lenses and taking fish oil supplements could help. Here's what Professor John Stein had to say about this:

'All children with reading difficulties should be assessed to see whether either deep yellow or deep blue coloured overlays help - very simple. They help about 50% of such children. Most will benefit from additional phonics.

Omega-3 EPA and DHA supplements have been shown to help many children too.'

Improving standard of care in schools

'10% of the population is dyslexic so there are likely to be children who are dyslexic or who have other specific learning difficulties in every classroom. If children are diagnosed early and given the right support they can reach their potential in whatever way they choose. Teaching methods that are good for dyslexic children are also effective for all children.

DCSF. Comments from teachers and parents are very welcome and emails should be sent directly to Sir Jim Rose at This is a wonderful opportunity to find a long term solutions to recognising and supporting children who are dyslexic or who other specific learning difficulties.

Continued below...

More help and information

- Dyslexia in children
- Your story: 'Sally's dyslexia doesn't stop her achieving'
- How much homework should they be getting?

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