For others children, there may be that quick note from the teacher to parents about their child's attention, behaviour, mood, headaches, nausea, not completing homework or other concerns.
When this happens, parents can get upset, because the situation from last year appears to be repeating itself.
Sometimes parents begin to think that this year’s teacher is the problem. Some may even consider changing schools. And some start thinking that perhaps the child should have repeated a year. Parents begin to work harder- spending more time reading to their child, asking the child to read to them, doing homework with their child, cajoling, bribing or punishing, in order to get work completed and on time.
The Warning signs
There are warning signs to look out for, the child who is very quiet or the child who is often in "trouble".
In both situations, the child who is very, very quiet, or the child who is in "trouble" the behaviours are warning signs.
That's when it's time to take a step back and decide to find out what is really going on, get to the crux of the matter. Before any real change can happen, there needs to be some clarity about what is the real problem. Something different needs to happen, carrying on doing the same things won't improve the situation.
Now is the time to have an assessment. The assessment should do more than check out reading levels. It should also consider what are the underlying causes of difficulties, and how can they be dealt with speedily.
Finding out the cause
In our experience these underlying causes are usually to do with sensory sensitivities – difficulties with processing auditory and visual information. These show themselves up as difficulties separating the sounds of the language, or integrating what they hear (words) with what they see (letters on the page) and vice versa.
It’s the same as watching a television screen which is covered in “snow” over and over again an expecting to get the same information as a single clear picture – very difficult.
However, we now understand more about how the brain works for reading, how rapidly it can be retrained through specific, targeted, intensive treatment. Help can even begin before a child starts school, if they display certain symptoms which can be "warning signs".
It is never too late
Sometimes in the middle primary years, reading will begin to plateau. But it is never too late. Children beginning senior years of high school can sometimes no longer "mask" their difficulties, so they too can benefit from treatment.
Previously there has been a belief that improving reading takes many years. With the new understanding of brain plasticity and functioning, and the different causes of reading problems, we now know that this is not true. Depending on the problem, amazingly, some changes can be instantaneous.
So when you notice problems, don’t let them run on, taking up physical and emotional energy. The sooner they’re fixed, the sooner your child will have a better opportunity to reach their potential.
About the author:
Maria is based in Adelaide, South Australia began her career as a primary school teacher in the early 60’s (last century!) and is now at Dyslexia & Reading Solution. Maria, specialises working with individuals with reading difficulties. Along the way, her focus has been to provide approaches and opportunities for individuals to reach their goals – as a teacher librarian, student counsellor and careers adviser, Head of Student Services at the then Northern Territory University, and Psychologist in private practice. You can contact Maria de Ionna at 08 7127 4938 email@example.com www.dyslexiaclinic.com.au