Dyslexia in children. Dyslexia is a disorder in which someone has difficulty with (learning to) read and often also with writing. This information leaflet focuses in particular on dyslexia in children. Dyslexia is characterized by persistent problems with the automation of reading and spelling words. Automation means that a process (such as reading or spelling):
- without conscious control
- requires little attention
- is not affected by the difficulty of a task
The reading and spelling skills of children with dyslexia are insufficiently automated. As a result, these children often read slowly and make mistakes when reading and/or spelling. Children with dyslexia experience problems in particular when:
- a task becomes more difficult (for example when spelling long or unknown words)
- time pressure plays a role
- attention must be paid to another task at the same time (for example, listening and writing at the same time)
Dyslexia can be diagnosed after extensive research. One only speaks of dyslexia if there is not sufficient improvement in reading and/or spelling, despite extra help from, for example, a teacher or remedial teacher. At least five percent of children in primary school age have dyslexia. Because children with dyslexia are often slower in school, they are sometimes assessed as less intelligent than their peers. However, there is no connection between dyslexia and intelligence: children with dyslexia have no lower intelligence than children without dyslexia.
Symptoms of dyslexia
Kindergarten age During the kindergarten period there are sometimes indications that your child is dyslexic. You can recognize dyslexia for example by:
- can hardly remember songs
- difficulty with rhymes
- difficulty remembering names (for example, classmates’ names, street names, difficult words)
This does not mean that your child is by definition dyslexia if you recognize him in the examples above. An extensive examination is required to determine the disorder. School-age In group three, reading with dyslexic children often gets a little difficult to get started. They often have difficulty converting sounds into letters and vice versa. They also often have difficulty with equal sounds, language rules, and foreign words.
Children with dyslexia are sometimes divided into the following two types:
- The spelling reader This child reads very slowly, but fairly accurately. Slow reading takes time and leads to faltering and repetitive reading
- The guessing reader This child reads quickly, ‘guessing’ and with many errors. Words or letters are skipped or added correctly, letters or words are reversed or words are replaced by other words that fit in the sentence Some children read both spelling and guessing and are a combination of both types.
Problems with writing
To give an idea of the type of writing errors seen in children with dyslexia, here are a few examples: gur (smell), meew (gull), walking (walking), fishing (fish), tavel (table), slow (faithful), weizen (wise), mating (horse), he rides (he rides), licorice (village).
Problems with talking, listening and remembering
A child with dyslexia has difficulty processing language sounds through the brain. This not only has consequences for reading and spelling, but also for other language activities such as talking, listening and remembering. For example, you may notice that your child has difficulty remembering certain tasks or seems to forget them, especially longer and more complex ones.
Problems with other skills
In children with dyslexia, there is often difficult and inadequate automation of learning certain skills. For example, they have difficulty naming what is left and right, what is above and below, and naming colors is not that fast.
How does dyslexia arise?
When reading, letters must be converted into sounds, and then the word image must be recognized. The idea is that in children with dyslexia, in particular, the automation of reading does not come about properly. This is probably because a small area of the brain functions differently. The child must always consciously consider which sound belongs to a letter and how the word must be spoken in its entirety. And when spelling, a child with dyslexia has difficulty automatically converting a sound into the correct letter and letter order.
A child with dyslexia has no difficulty understanding language in itself, but the difficult processing of sounds does influence language understanding. As a result, children with dyslexia often find it difficult to remember a lot of language information in a short time. As a result, a complex assignment can sometimes not be carried out because too much information is given in one go. Many dyslexics, therefore, have difficulty processing language information quickly and correctly. It is now also thought that children with dyslexia, information processing, and automation, in general, will be a bit more difficult, not just the reading process. It is particularly evident in the reading process because it is so complicated. If serious reading and play problems occur in the immediate family of a child, it is more likely that he too is dyslexic.
Is it serious and what can you expect?
For some people, dyslexia means a significant restriction on their daily lives; nowadays people can hardly do without reading and writing. It is therefore important to recognize dyslexia on time and possibly seek help. Recognition of the disorder alone is important for children; their bad grades are then viewed in a different way. Once dyslexia is known, this can be taken into account at school.
Some children also have problems that have arisen as a result of dyslexia. Because the child has difficulty reading and writing, uncertainty or fear of failure may arise. He then becomes afraid of making mistakes and still dares to do so, because he feels it fails anyway.
Some children with dyslexia also experience feelings of anger or sadness because reading and writing are not easy or because they are afraid of making mistakes.
Some children with dyslexia are being bullied by their classmates because they find it strange that they make many mistakes. This may decrease the motivation of the child to go to school. It is possible that a child will reluctantly go to school or even skip school. Dyslexia never passes, it cannot ‘heal’. But a child can learn to handle it as well as possible. Some children can overcome their reading and spelling problems or limit them as much as possible with the right help. It is important that children with dyslexia receive extra attention when it comes to reading and writing. This helps them to gain self-confidence, among other things and is motivating them to continue learning.
When to the doctor?
Dyslexia is often observed in children at school. If you suspect that your child is dyslexic, it is not necessary to consult your doctor for this. It is better to report it to your child’s school. If the school thinks it is necessary, an investigation into the nature and severity of reading problems can be requested. If necessary, your child can get extra help with reading and writing. It is also possible to contact a psychologist or remedial educationalist yourself, who can do an examination for your child.
What can you do about it yourself?
It is important that your child gains confidence. Your child needs to know that his parents realize how much effort it takes to read and write. And therefore also that it is not laziness or that your child does not do his best, but still makes many mistakes.
It is important that you never penalize reading and writing errors, but emphasize the things that go well. It is also important to maintain good contact with the school; after all, they monitor your child’s progress there. You can help your child at home, but make sure it stays fun and playful; your child already works hard at school. At school the teacher can pay extra attention to your child by, for example, giving extra time for tasks or giving up less work. It is also good to pay attention to the strengths of your child and to let him practice extra, for example with a remedial teacher.
General advice and precautions
It is important to signal dyslexia early. For more information about dyslexia and how to deal with this disorder, please contact your doctor.
Source: Dr. AA Vendrig (consultant)