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Dyslexia explained

We take a closer look at what support is available for school-aged children with dyslexia from Learning Matters.

While at kindy, a four-year-old drew a freehand diagram of how he wished to organise the playground. The layout was specific and to scale. His teachers, suitably impressed, were very excited for his pending entry to school. Armed with a giant smile and supportive family, his school days began. Year One ended and (not for lack of trying) he hadn’t learned to read. This continued for the next four years. At ten years of age, he was diagnosed as a bright dyslexic. Finally, he and his family had some insight and understanding as to why he had such great difficulty learning to read, write and spell. But, ten years old is too late. Five whole years of schooling had conditioned him to believe he was dumb, unable to learn and that he would never learn to read.

This story is not unique by any means. With proper support, children with dyslexia can be empowered to understand how they learn best. Dyslexia affects around 1 in 10 New Zealanders. It is an often-misunderstood term for reading problems. The word dyslexia is made up of two different parts: dys meaning ‘not’ or ‘difficult’, and lexia meaning ‘words’, ‘reading’, or ‘language’. So quite literally, dyslexia means difficulty with words (Catts & Kamhi, 2005). Signs of dyslexia often show up when a child begins to learn and use written language. A child with dyslexia will have trouble learning to read, spell, and write. They may also have difficulty in other areas of language, mathematics, motor skills, concentration, and memory. It has a significant impact on a child’s schooling and self-esteem.

If your child has dyslexia, they need support from people who understand current research and evidence-based practices. At Learning Matters, our professional educators are all trained in multisensory structured literacy instruction. Learning Matters is also an accredited organisation with the New Zealand Teachers Council. We assess learners to identify their strengths and challenges. From there, an education plan is developed to support your child to maximise their learning. We work with children from age four through to adults. 


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