Everything you need to know about Dyslexia

We sit down with an expert to answer questions about this common learning disability

While we often take our reading skills for granted, many Kiwi kids and adults struggle everyday with understanding the written word.

Commonly referred to as a learning disability, dyslexia is a reading disorder which can make it very difficult for a student to succeed academically.

Now To Love sat down with neuroscientist Karen Waldie to shine a light on dyslexia and answer some common questions.

What are some common misconceptions about dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a severe reading disorder that individuals are born with, but is often incorrectly used as a general term to explain a range of learning difficulties.

Is dyslexia preventable?

Dyslexia runs in the family, so if your child is at risk for reading difficulties, while it may not prevent dyslexia, exposing your child to as much language, songs, rhymes and books is possible in the early years can often help.

How can dyslexia be managed?

With the help of family support, teach awareness and resources such as SPELD NZ.

How does dyslexia affect a child’s learning?

Reading plays a pivotal role in all aspects of education. So having difficulty reading will affect everything in a child’s life that relies on the printed word. This has roll-on effects in terms of poor self-esteem and potential behavioural problems.

How common is dyslexia in New Zealand?

5-10% of the school age population suffer from dyslexia. About 30% may struggle to read but, for many of these individuals, there are reasons why they are having trouble (e.g., problems with their vision or hearing, poor reading education).

What are the signs that your child could be dyslexic?

Phonemic awareness (the ability to distinguish different sounds in a word) is one of the strongest predictors of dyslexia and can be assessed as young as 5 years.

How is dyslexia tested?

Generally an educational psychologist is consulted and the child will take a series of tests to determine the child’s abilities.

Cellfield is a dyslexia treatment intervention programme which works to improve reading skills in children over the age of seven and adults.

The Cellfield programme is computer based and provides dyslexia help for children and adults throughout New Zealand.

It uses a ten day intervention programme that targets visual, auditory and motor functions all at the same time through a series of computer-based exercises.

For more information on Cellfield, click here.

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