When Your Child Has Difficulty Reading

Updated: Apr 10, 2020

“Your child is dyslexic.” A parent’s worst nightmare may be to hear these words. This October, known as Dyslexia Awareness Month, parents are encouraged to find out more about the reading and learning problems their children may have, so that they are better equipped to help them read, learn and achieve their highest educational potential.

“A severe reading problem may be described as dyslexia; however, what’s more important is knowing how these problems can be solved and that there is hope,” says Susan du Plessis, Edublox Director of Educational Programmes. Switching the letters ‘b’ and ‘d’ or reading the word ‘bog’ instead of ‘dog’ are well-known as typical signs of dyslexia. When children are labelled dyslexic their failure at school is often excused because their problem is considered incurable. People may say that their brain is “wired” in a certain way and it cannot be changed. Du Plessis encourages parents not to give up on their children.

“Dyslexia is just a label for a cluster of symptoms of reading and spelling problems. The science of neuroplasticity proves that the brain can change. Often what appears to be dyslexia is a lack of certain cognitive skills, which, if practised, a reading problem may become a thing of the past,” say du Plessis.

These cognitive skill include:

  1. Laterality

  2. Form discrimination

  3. Auditory sequencing

  4. Phonemic awareness.

Research And Potential

Even if a child is performing above average at school, compared to international education standards their relative ability is somewhat deceiving. The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) comparing the reading abilities of Grade 4 children in 40 countries ranked South Africa worst in 2006. A follow-up study in 2011, which found Hong Kong to achieve the best standard globally, revealed that our Grade 4 learners were “still performing at a low level overall on an easier assessment compared to their counterparts internationally.”*

Research conducted by Edublox in Singapore last year confirmed this concerning situation. “A child whose reading level is considered acceptable for their age in South Africa may be diagnosed as dyslexic in Singapore,” says du Plessis. “A diagnosis of dyslexia is therefore relative to the specific country and environment. Instead of limiting academic performance with a loosely-defined label we should focus on developing potential.”

Parents are often told that their children with severe dyslexia have no hope for academic success. According to du Plessis, an intensive programme in cognitive development, can improve a child’s self-confidence and as their cognitive skills are further strengthened with exercises that ‘build’ their brain, they will be able to beat their reading difficulties.

Helping Parents And Children

This October 2015, during Dyslexia Awareness Month, Edublox franchisees registered with the International Association for Cognitive Education in South Africa (IACESA) will offer at least 44 free information sessions for parents and teachers across the country and in Namibia. As educational practitioners, they work daily with children who have reading and learning difficulties and can provide hands-on advice.

Visit www.edublox.co.za or call 0861-EDUBLOX to find your nearest branch and register to attend an information session. Edublox are leading specialists in cognitive development with 22 reading and learning clinics across Southern Africa. For more information about Edublox, visit www.edublox.co.za or contact 0861-EDUBLOX / 0861 338 256.

Research: *http://www.up.ac.za/media/shared/Legacy/sitefiles/file/publications/2013/pirls_2011_report_12_dec.pdf


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