The First Step

As published in Ribble Valley Magazine

Katie Nelson of Dyslexia Centre North West helps both children and adults deal with the condition and explains how they can overcome the frustrations it brings.

Dyslexia is a specific learning difficult mainly affecting literacy and language related skills.

First of all how can I tell if my child or teenager may be dyslexic?

You may have noticed that your child had unexpected difficulties when learning to read or spell, despite them trying really hard. Your child may be really articulate when speaking, but then find writing down answers extremely frustrating. Older children may avoid reading and writing, or regularly run out of time in exams and assessments or take ages doing homework. All of these things may indicate dyslexia, but a full diagnostic assessment is required to confirm this.

Do you offer assessments at the Centre?

Yes, we offer screenings and full diagnostic assessments for Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome.

My child is reluctant to attend extra tuition or lessons to help her, how can I persuade that you will be able make a difference?

It may be best to do this on a small scale at first. Why not suggest five sessions initially and then review how things are going. When a child finds a tutor who understands the way they think and learn, uses games and puzzles to teach, celebrates their strengths, and helps them tackle their weaknesses – they will usually be very keen to continue!

You run Saturday morning sessions for children aged seven to 14 years old – can you tell me about the sessions, what they involve and what the children are likely to get out of it?

The Saturday morning sessions will be running from September. They include small group multi-sensory tuition using cumulative, structured Literacy Programmes. It’s also highly beneficial for individuals to meet other dyslexics, share ideas and strategies, enjoy games, build skills and develop confidence and friendships. The Saturday morning sessions include a touch typing workshop, which is a structured programme that ensures your child learns to touch type correctly, focusing on accuracy rather than speed (as this will come naturally). Touch typing can be beneficial to all, however, children with specific learning difficulties can benefit from learning to touch type, through the physical aspect of learning letter patterns.

Are your services only for individuals with dyslexia?

No – here at the centre, we offer tuition in literacy and maths for primary and secondary pupils. We also offer study skills, revision tuition for any age group.

My daughter does get some support from her school, what additional support can you give her and how would it differ to the support children get in mainstream school?

I’m delighted that your child is getting extra support at school! However not all schools have teachers who have undertaken specialist training in specific learning difficulties (dyslexia and dyspraxia). So this is an opportunity for these children to access this level of professional expertise, experience and insights. Sessions are individually tailored to support each child’s strengths and to find ways to help overcome barriers to learning. Our aim is to enable children to demonstrate their true underlying potential.