Dyslexia isn’t a term that I have recently come across. It’s not something I learnt about at university, had heard, or read about. Dyslexia has been an integral part of my life for as long as I can remember. My younger brother had always tried hard at school, a clever boy and well behaved. He could smash a Lego build before I had even started! His teacher just couldn’t understand why he still couldn’t read and write like the rest of the class- ‘he just couldn’t pick it up’. Thankfully, she stopped him from slipping through the system and it wasn’t too long after that we discovered the term dyslexia.

This is where the real journey began. I can remember my mum crying; not knowing what to do. He was extremely fortunate back then, due to my persistent grandmother to be the only child at our primary school receiving any form of intervention. He tried coloured lenses, had a patch on his ‘lazy’ eye and learnt the effect tongue placement had on sound production. Being invited to be a part of a trial for an ‘evolutionary’ new teaching method was the pinacol moment reality sank in. It was here, when my mum was being taught how to support my brother’s learning she realised all her struggles and low literacy levels were not the result of her being ‘dumb’, as she so frequently had been told but she too had dyslexia.

Having a close relative with reading problems is one of the strongest predictors of dyslexia. Research shows that up to 65% of children with dyslexia will also have a parent with literacy difficulties. For my son, it’s his uncle, grandmother and cousin. The best chance dyslexic children have for success in school is to be identified early and begin support. If help is delayed until age 9, as opposed to age 6, it takes four times as long to improve the same skills by the same amount. If there is a family history of dyslexia or a close relative who has poor literacy skills watch for the signs (which can be found on our website under dyslexia). If you suspect that something is not right- seek help early! Your child’s teacher and school should be your first point of call! I know that sometimes you hit wall, after wall, there seems to be no straight answer. A screener for dyslexia or seeing an MSL trained professional will provide you a clear picture on what’s going on and provide you with a starting point.

This should be universal for all children, however if there is a history of learning difficulties immersing your toddler in rich vocabulary through stories, rhymes and song is an easy precautionary step.