Dyslexia is a disorder which causes learning disabilities related to reading and interpreting language and symbols.
The severity of dyslexia can vary from minor slowness with writing and spelling to significant difficulty reading and interpreting words. As with many other learning disabilities, this can make education and employment more challenging.
People with dyslexia can regularly jumble up words such as “par cark” rather than “car park” or confuse words such as up/down and in/out. Children with dyslexia are often slower at learning to write and spell compared to their peers. They may read more slowly, misunderstand words and take longer to learn their meaning. Dyslexia can also cause difficulty with seeing black letters on white backgrounds. A person with dyslexia may tell you that the words are moving around on the page or phasing in and out of the background.
Remembering and recalling information can be more difficult for someone with learning disabilities such as dyslexia. They may also struggle to understand and predict sequences such as numbers, the alphabet or days of the week.
Dyslexia doesn’t just cause learning difficulties, it can also cause problems with organising oneself – for example being ready on time and remembering where to be at what time, where something was left etc. People with dyslexia can therefore appear very disorganised and often lose things. If unsupported, dyslexia in children can cause problems with self-esteem and confidence as they grow older. They may believe that they are ‘stupid’ or less intelligent. However dyslexia does not affect general intelligence and, with the right support, someone with dyslexia can have the same potential as anyone else.
If you are concerned that someone you know has dyslexia:-
Dyslexia in children:-
Speak to the child’s teacher and SEN coordinator. Spend time with them to identify the child’s strengths as well as their difficulties as this can be helpful when looking at the “whole picture”. Identify whether the school are able to offer extra support for children with learning disabilities – for instance they may need some extra sessions to help with their understanding of language etc.
If the child continues to have difficulties then the school may request a more in-depth assessment from appropriate professionals such as a specialist teacher or educational psychologist.
Adults can also be assessed for dyslexia although this is less common. Ask your GP whether there are any organisations in your local area who offer assessments for adults.
How can Kate Meads Associates help?
Occupational Therapists are unable to diagnose dyslexia. However, we can identify characteristics of it which would benefit from further formal assessment. Our KMA Occupational Therapists are also able to support a child or an adult following an assessment and/or diagnosis.
An occupational therapy assessment focusses on how learning disabilities affect a person’s day-to day-life. It will look at how the dyslexia prevents them from doing activities that they either want or need to do. This may include a range of things from how to be more independent with daily activities such as washing, dressing or food preparation, to improving handwriting, sequencing skills and attention in class.
During assessment our Occupational Therapist will have a detailed conversation with either the parent or guardian of a child with dyslexia or the adult themselves if they are the ones with the diagnosis about any strengths and difficulties.
The Occupational Therapist may want to talk with the child’s school (with your consent) as this will help them to understand how the child is managing at school and what support has already been provided.
Our KMA Occupational Therapists may want to see the child or adult doing some of the activities that they find hard in order to understand the nature of their difficulty and enable them to develop ideas that will help increase their function and confidence.
Our Occupational Therapist will produce a detailed, yet accessible report of the assessment. The report will provide a summary of the barriers that get in the way of the person doing what they need to do and make a number of recommendations (including a treatment plan where appropriate) that might help. We aim to get the report back to you within 10 working days of the assessment.
Therapies and treatment for people with dyslexia
All Kate Meads Associates’ Occupational Therapists are highly trained, experienced and passionate about providing evidence-based interventions to improve functional performance. Each treatment plan will be individual, underpinned by occupational therapy philosophy, taking a person-centred and strengths-based approach. Our ultimate aim is to help those with learning disabilities to achieve their goals and improve their functional performance.
The Occupational Therapist will work with the person to understand the demands of their day and what they need to be able to do better or what they need to feel more confident in. Treatment will vary depending on the specific needs of that person and may include:-
- Handwriting and spelling support
Postural management assessment and strategies
Working with the school to develop strategies and appropriate adaptations
Focused work on improving independence in daily tasks such as washing and dressing
Do you or someone you know have difficulty…
Writing down ideas?