What is a specific learning difficulty?
Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty; this means that alongside specific areas of difficulty there will be areas of strength in a person with dyslexia’s profile. Every individual is different, but, for example, an individual with dyslexia may be very confident and articulate verbally and have an excellent vocabulary, but may have difficulty with reading and spelling that is surprising. Someone else may have very strong practical ability or visual ability, being creative and good at art, but have problems with getting their ideas down on paper and with handwriting and organisation skills. Dyslexia is one of a family of Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs). It often co-occurs with related conditions, such as dyspraxia, dyscalculia and attention deficit disorder.
Can dyslexia be cured?
No there is no cure for dyslexia. But dyslexia is not an illness, so to talk about curing it is taking the wrong approach. Instead we should look at ways that people with dyslexia can learn about themselves and their areas of strength so that they can then compensate for their dyslexia, develop coping and management strategies, and emphasising the good aspects. Neither do people grow out of their dyslexia, but as they grow older become more self-aware and learn effective self-help strategies
My father has dyslexia. Does this mean I may be dyslexic too?
It is thought that dyslexia is genetically based and passed from parents to children. Often dyslexia affects many people in the same family and most people will generally have someone else in their wider family who also has dyslexia. However, people can also get “acquired dyslexia” from a bad head injury for example
I think my child may have dyslexia. What should I do?
You should talk to your child’s school about your concerns. It may be that they are already aware of the difficulties he or she is experiencing and are putting measures in place to support them at school. You may be thinking about having an assessment for your child and, if so, then discuss this too as it is very helpful if the school are aware and supportive of this and it would be good to get their feedback as they will know your child well.
I am planning to go to university next year and would like to know what support is available for students with dyslexia?
There is great support available at University and if you have dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties. When you go for visits to universities remember to check out their support for students with dyslexia and talk to their advisers about what is available for you. If you are undecided between two universities this might be the deciding factor for you. You may also be eligible for the Disabled Student’s Allowance (DSA). In order to apply you will need to have a diagnostic report completed after the age of 16 by an assessor with the Assessor Practising Certificate (APC). If you are not sure whether your report is suitable please contact us (enquiries@dyslexiaherts) and we will be happy to advise you, or request a call back. The DSA will fund a package of support for you at university. If you want the support to be available for you when you start university it is advisable to apply as early as possible. To find out more, including how to apply, click on the following links.
I have heard that coloured overlays can help people with dyslexia. Is this true?
Some people with dyslexia experience visual stress which can make reading difficult and uncomfortable. Coloured overlays or tinted lenses to a specific colour can make a big difference. Click on the links below for further information
We are able to offer Irlen® Screening by a qualified consultant. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org for further information
I think I may have dyslexia. Why do I need to have an assessment?
Of course, it is your decision whether to have an assessment and some people are concerned that they, or their child, will be ‘labelled’ as dyslexic.
An assessment may be a very important step in understanding how you learn best and explaining difficulties you are having, or have had in the past. It will help you to understand your strengths and the things that you find difficult and why.
It will suggest ways you can work or study more effectively. It would signpost you to books or resources that would be helpful and also recommend software or equipment that may be of benefit. The report will make detailed recommendations that are specially for you, whether you are at school, university or at work.
Understanding the different ways you process information can be the first step to overcoming those difficulties and using your strengths.
It is also easier to give the right kind of support if the difficulty has been properly assessed and understood. If the things that are stopping you from progressing can be identified, then support can be given to improve things or to find ways around your difficulties
If you would like to try our adult dyslexia screening, primary age dyslexia screening, secondary age dyslexia screening tools or request a call back in the quick form above and we can discuss and answer any questions you may have.
I am having a diagnostic assessment for dyslexia. What will it be like?
A dyslexia assessment can take around three hours of contact time with a specialist assessor. They will take a detailed background from you before the assessment and ask you to think about the things that you do well and the difficulties you are having, as well as your reasons for having the assessment.
The assessment is not a test where there are right and wrong answers. It is a mixture of different activities and will involve some short reading and writing tasks. We would be doing short activities that look at language, memory and processing skills associated with dyslexia.
There are also tasks involving visual problem solving and verbal reasoning. The assessor will be interested in how you approach the different tasks and activities as this can tell them a lot about the strategies that work well for you.
These may then confirm dyslexia and how it affects you in your daily life and the assessor will give you some feedback during the assessment, but will need to consider everything carefully before writing your report and making recommendations.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is dyslexia a disability?
The answer to this is yes and no. Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty and is considered as a disability under the Equality Act 2010 as it is life-long and can have a significant impact on education and work. The Act states that employers must prevent discrimination and make reasonable adjustments for people with disabilities. Many people prefer to think of dyslexia as a specific learning difference, as dyslexia can have just as many positive aspects as negative ones; it is a different way of processing information.