Dyslexia Q&A: Answers to frequently asked questions about the condition

Today we’re looking at the dyslexia, particularly in relation to its affect on children, including under-fives. Following are the answers to a series of the most commonly asked questions about the condition.

Q: What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is categorised as a Specific Learning Difficulty ('SpLD')A: Dyslexia is categorised as a Specific Learning Difficulty (‘SpLD’) in the UK. Most notably, it adversely affects a person’s ability to read because of a general difficulty in learning or interpreting letters, words, and often other symbols. Indeed, it was originally referred to as word blindness. There are other ways dyslexia affects people, though, and we’ll come to those in more detail later.

Q: What Causes Dyslexia?

A: The exact cause of dyslexia is unknown, however it tends to run in families, so is most likely to be a genetic issue, i.e. passed down through parents’ genes. It affects the way the brain processes language and this can even be seen brain imaging tests.

Q: Can You Become Dyslexic, or Grow Out of It?

Most notably, dyslexia affects a person's ability to read or interpret letters, words, and often other symbols.A: As it’s a genetic issue, people are born with the condition. Symptoms may begin to show as a child matures during early learning and beyond. As it is something that’s inherent in their physiology, it is not something people can ‘grow out’ of. It is a lifelong issue. It can be managed, of course, with various approaches available to mitigate its effects as far as possible.

Q: Is Dyslexia Linked With Intelligence?

A: No. There is no recognised link between a person’s intelligence and dyslexia. Many dyslexic children are indeed highly intelligent, even gifted in some areas, but sufferers cover the whole range of the intelligence spectrum.

Q: What Are the Early Signs of Possible Dyslexia?

A: Early signs of possible dyslexia may include the following:

  • Someone with dyslexia may describe written letters and words as ‘jumbling up’ or even visibly moving so as to totally confuse their meaning.
  • This often extends to more than just reading, though; some dyslexic children also jumble up words when speaking out loud. This difficulty can impede the speed and depth of their overall speech development.
  • Dyslexic children may be great at answering questions verbally, but poor when asked to do so in writing.They may also have trouble remembering words.
  • Dyslexic children will find learning the alphabet tricky. Because of this, they will not seem interested in attempting to do so and will also have difficulty with writing and spelling.
  • Pronunciation may also be affected. Dyslexic people may switch around syllables without realising. For example, they might say ‘topato’ instead of ‘potato’ and so on.
  • The concept of words rhyming may be lost on dyslexic children. So, they may even have trouble learning simple nursery rhymes.
  • Dyslexia can even affect the speed that children develop fine motor skills. Interestingly, this can extend to difficulty tapping out a regular rhythm on a drum or other percussive instrument.
  • Dyslexic children may also have trouble remembering the order of things like days of the week, number facts (2 plus 2 equals 4 etc.).
  • Taking this a step further, dyslexic children may find following a string of multiple-step instructions tricky to remember. If given in separate instructions one at a time, however, there is no problem.
  • Dyslexic children may also be great at answering questions verbally in class, but poor when asked to do so in written form.

However, just because a child exhibits any of the above symptoms, it does not necessarily mean they are dyslexic. It should also be noted that symptoms of dyslexia vary enormously from person to person. Only a proper test, by a professional, will ensure a correct diagnosis. We’ll come to that later.

Q: How Else Will Dyslexia Affect My Child?

Dyslexia can cause difficulty in writing, spelling, with grammar and even with spoken communication.A: Being unable to easily read will hold children back. If they have trouble reading, they will have trouble reading text books for any of the topics at school. Some classroom and test situations will become more stressful for them as a result.

Difficulty writing, spelling and with grammar will also hold them back and may even make them stand out amongst their peers at school. This could make them feel inferior, even if they’re highly intelligent, and in turn lead to lower self-image and self-confidence.

Such impacts can sometimes also go on to affect whether a dyslexic person later goes on to study in further education. Possible lower grades and degraded communication skills could then go on to impact their life in the workplace once they become adults. As such, dyslexia can be a real vicious circle unless mitigated.

Q: Can Dyslexia Affect Mathematics?

A: Yes it can. Indeed, estimates suggest that up to 90% of dyslexic children have some kind of problem with maths. Because numbers are characters just like letters, they too can get jumbled from the perspective of the dyslexic child. Memorising number facts can also be problematic. This can all make mathematical tasks extremely difficult for some, but by no means all, of those affected by the condition.

Q: How Can Children with Dyslexia be Helped?

A: There are many ways that early years, teaching and other professionals can help children with dyslexia; in fact there is a whole raft of possible measures available. A few examples include:

  • One-to-one help from a teacher, teaching assistant, parent or specialist can really help dyslexic children.One-to-one help from a teacher, teaching assistant or specialist;
  • Allowing extra time to take notes and complete tasks;
  • A system of teaching that might include multiple senses (e.g. sight, touch and hearing together);
  • A different structure to learning and lesson plans, with instant feedback from the supervising adult;
  • Modification of assignments to allow for the difficulties associated with dyslexia;
  • Simple measures like ensuring that a school child has correctly written down sufficient notes for an assignment, before they leave the lesson;
  • Breaking larger tasks down into a set of individual single tasks, to make them easier to follow;
  • Encouraging a child to verbalise is also sometimes fruitful, including for mathematical tasks.
  • Concentrating on phonic skills in a highly structured way, using small, methodical steps;
  • Repetition is also important;
  • Reading together, particularly when it’s fun rather than a chore;
  • Any external dyslexia therapist/professional should also try to work in tandem with nursery, pre-school or school setting professionals.
  • Other possible help can come in the form of audio recordings, audio books, computer text readers and word processing programmes.

These represent just a fraction of the ways in which adults can help children with dyslexia. Special Educational Needs (SEN) support at early years settings and schools, however, is key, particularly if introduced from a young age.

Q: How Can Nurseries Like Treetops Help Dyslexic Children?

A special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo) can recommend measures or interventions that may help a child with dyslexia.A: Childcare professionals will be on the look-out for any signs of possible dyslexia (see the list of possible signs earlier in this article). Parents can do the same and, because the condition is thought to be inherited, this is particularly important if one or more of the child’s parents is dyslexic. Signs can be hard to spot, but the earlier the condition is recognised, the sooner the child can be helped. If any signs of possible dyslexia are suspected, supervising adults and childcare professionals can initially monitor the child’s progress going forwards. They can also assess the child against benchmarks for the same age or peer group in case it’s just a temporary blip in their learning progress.

Individual support from childcare and teaching professionals at nursery, pre-school or school can be given where a child is thought to be struggling and dyslexia is suspected. A special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCo) at the setting can recommend any measures or interventions that may help the child. An alternative teaching approach can be a part of that if required for the individual. Often, however, the symptoms of dyslexia are not so obvious until children are older i.e. are attending school and reading/writing significantly more.

Q: How Can Dyslexia be Properly Diagnosed?

A: If the presence of dyslexia is unclear, parents can consult with a GP to ensure the problem is not caused by something else, e.g. poor eyesight, ADHD or some other condition. Once dyslexia is strongly suspected, an in-depth professional assessment can be arranged to discover whether dyslexia really is the issue. Learn more about how a professional dyslexia assessment can be arranged here.

An Outstanding Nursery in Willesden, Near Harlesden & Kensal Green

Treetops Nursery, Willesden, near Harlesden, Kensal Green and Willesden GreenIf you live or work in north west London and have any concerns about your under-five’s learning and development, Treetops Nursery School would be happy to discuss your child’s needs and possible attendance at this excellent nursery. We are one of the most popular nurseries/pre-schools in Willesden, near Willesden Green, Harlesden and Kensal Green. We certainly bring out the very best in children under our care and also have wonderful facilities. For these reasons, the nursery is in very high demand, so do express an interest at the earliest opportunity if you are thinking of applying for a childcare place here:

Preparing Your Child for Nursery or Pre-School

Parents & guardians can really help toddlers ready themselves for nurseryGoing from living a life at home with the family to suddenly being thrust into a new environment full of strangers would be daunting enough for anyone. It’s especially true, though, for under-fives starting at nursery or pre-school. So, the key is to prepare children for the change and, of course, for the nursery/pre-school to be very welcoming and accommodating. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the things that will help toddlers and preschoolers transition as smoothly as possible.

How to Help The Transition to Nursery/Pre-School

Firstly, and most obviously, it’s a great idea to talk to your little one so they get used to the idea of going to nursery or pre-school. Although they may not initially grasp what to expect, the more you talk to them about it and give regular reminders, the more they will be mentally prepared when the time comes. Describe it to them, focus on the positives like making new friends, taking part in new activities and games, having access to exciting equipment, and so on. Maybe even role-play some of the things they should expect, perhaps as part of a game (make it fun!).

Arrange a Visit

A familiar face will help to make them feel more at home right away.Once you’ve selected the best nursery or pre-school for your child, arrange a visit. At Treetops Nursery we’re always happy to show both parent and child around the setting, so they can see what’s what, meet the staff and children, and ask any questions. Both child and parent can even sit in on activities during an arranged visit to see if they feel at home, before committing. It may even turn out that they know some children already there and that also helps to break the ice and to hit the ground running once they enrol. If not, perhaps encourage interaction with one or more children that’ll be in their cohort during the visit. They’ll naturally then gravitate towards them once they start properly. Another tip during your visit is to make a note of whether any of the books, toys or games at the nursery are the same as you have at home. Anything familiar to the child will always help to make them feel more at home once they’re at the nursery.

Encourage Independence

Helping children become a little more independent will really help with their self-confidence once they start nursery or pre-school.Helping toddlers with toilet training, personal hygiene, speaking, communicating, following rules, tidying up after themselves, hanging up their coat, fastening shoes, packing their backpack and suchlike will also help them with their self-confidence once they start nursery. If they are a little more independent and able when they start, they will naturally also be a little more self-confident and relaxed at the new setting.

Listen & Reassure

Giving your child a voice is also important. Encourage them to ask you questions and take time to properly answer them, so they know what to expect. Find suitable responses to reassure them if they have any concerns and always be sure not to reflect any concerns you have onto them.

Set a Routine

A week or two before their start date, try to get them used to a daytime routine that mimics the timings at the nursery. For example, snack times, meal times, times for a daytime nap and so on. In tandem with this, get them used to a suitable routine for getting up in the morning, getting dressed (as independently as possible) and going to bed. Their body clocks will soon adjust to this in readiness for a similar pattern once they’ve started at the nursery. Sufficient high quality sleep will be essential, of course.

Keep preparations relaxed, soothing and feeling as natural as possible for your child.

On the First Day of Nursery/Pre-SchoolEnsure you and your child are fully prepared, on time, and stay positive on the first day.

When the first day of nursery arrives, ensure you and your child are fully prepared with everything you need, on time too. You don’t want to cause your child stress by being late or disorganised. Also ensure that each of your mindsets is positive. Focus on the positives and reassure your child by reminding them what fun they’re going to have and how exciting it is to now be going to nursery. Your child will only get one chance to get a good first impression of going to nursery! It’s also helpful to hide any negative feelings or anxieties you have about leaving them at the nursery (your child may pick up on these if not), so keep it relaxed, natural, free of fuss — and positive. Also remind them, of course, that you’ll see them later (N.B. be on time!) and can’t wait for them to tell you all about their exciting first day at the nursery. In any case, though, you may find they can’t wait to get through the door and don’t give you so much as a second glance, particularly if they spot a friend or staff member they met at the earlier nursery visit.

Consider putting your child’s favourite teddy bear or comforter into their backpack, so they don’t feel alone.

Consider putting your child's favourite cuddly toy or comforter into their backpack, so they always have a friend with them.Our childcare professionals have many years of childcare experience, so helping children settle in is second nature to us. Rest assured, we will ensure that your child has fun, feels relaxed and is safe at all times. We will ensure that this milestone in their lives goes as smoothly as possible and that their time at the nursery/pre-school is a resounding success.

Nursery Childcare Places in Willesden, Harlesden & Kensal Green

Treetops Nursery, Willesden, near Harlesden, Kensal Green and Willesden GreenTreetops is a high quality nursery and pre-school in Willesden, near Willesden Green, Harlesden and Kensal Green. It is in very high demand in the Northwest area of London, so please get in touch as soon as possible if you would like to enrol your baby, toddler or preschooler, or to arrange a visit. Please choose an option:

Willesden’s Place in TV, Song & Modern Culture

It’s surprising how many times Willesden and Willesden Green have made it into modern culture. After a little research, we’ve found that they’ve featured countless times on TV and in several pop songs, they’ve helped to launch careers of a myriad music legends and even shaped the global music industry. Take a look …

Willesden: Regular Filming Location for ‘Jonathan Creek’

Actor and comedian Alan Davies links to Willesden Green via Jonathan CreekWillesden was a major filming location for ‘Jonathan Creek’Willesden and other north-west London areas close by feature regularly in the long-running BBC mystery crime drama Jonathan Creek. This popular series stars actor and comedian Alan Davies as the main protagonist. Other occasional stars who appeared in the series included Griff Rhys Jones, Rik Mayall, Jack Dee (who we’ll hear more about below), Bill Bailey, Nigel Planer and even Bob Monkhouse.

Jack Dee’s ‘Lead Balloon’: Also Filmed in Willesden

Jack Dee's ‘Lead Balloon’ series was filmed in WillesdenActor and dead-pan comedian Jack Dee co-wrote and starred in ‘Lead Balloon’, a BBC4 comedy series that first ran on British TV from 2006 to 2011. The first episode actually achieved the highest ever ratings for a comedy on the channel at the time and the series later aired on BBC2 and to audiences on BBC HD. There were three series in total, with the first two being filmed in and around Willesden. Indeed, the main characters Rick (played by Jack Dee) and his partner Mel (played by Raquel Cassidy) live in a house located in Willesden. A café called ‘Michael’s Café’ in series one and two is, in reality, ‘Gracelands Café’, which is located just a stone’s throw from Willesden in Kensal Green.

‘Minder’ Used Willesden as a Film Location

Minder used Willesden as a film location (photo shows Dennis Waterman)Willesden also features in the British TV comedy-drama ‘Minder’ that was extremely popular on ITV/Thames Television from late 1979 through to the mid-90s. One of the two key protagonists, Arthur Daley (played by George Cole), kept a lock-up garage in Willesden and this is where he kept all his merchandise. He also did many of his deals in and around the area. One episode of Minder was even called ‘Willesden Suite’. No less than 10 series aired in total, making George Cole and Dennis Waterman into household names.

‘The Last Detective’: Filmed in Willesden, Harlesden & North London

The Last Detective was filmed in Willesden, Harlesden & North London‘The Last Detective’ was another extremely popular British TV drama that ran for 4 series between 2003 and 2007. The main protagonist was ‘Dangerous Davies’, a Detective Constable played by Peter Davison. ‘Dangerous Davies’ was, in fact, the series of books upon which the TV drama was based. Filming of episodes often took place in Willesden, Harlesden and other parts of north/north-west London. Indeed, episode 4 (s.3) was called ‘Willesden Confidential’ and episode 3 (s.4) was called ‘A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Willesden’.

How Zomba Records links Willesden to Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Shania Twain & Many Other Pop Icons

Moving now to music, it’s incredible how big a part Willesden has quietly played in the history of modern music. Back in the 1970s, right in the middle of the British punk movement, Willesden became the birthplace of Zomba Records. The name is incredibly important within the music industry as it subsequently became the launchpad of many stellar careers and household names across the globe.Britney Spears is just one of many global artists discovered via the legacy of a Willesden record company Zomba was widely accepted to be the most successful independent music company (The Zomba Music Corporation sold for literally billions eventually). Along the way, Zomba bought legendary music company Rough Trade and itself eventually became owned by BMG, then later Sony Music Entertainment under the RCA/Jive Label Group umbrella and later still its artists moved across to Epic Records. One of the original founders of Zomba is a certain Mutt Lange, who became a legendary producer (later marrying Shania Twain) who has worked with Def Leppard, The Boomtown Rats, Huey Lewis and the News, Britney Spears, Nickelback, Maroon 5, Bryan Adams, Celine Dion, The Corrs, Billy Ocean, Lady Gaga, Muse, AC/DC, Foreigner, Tina Turner, Backstreet Boys, The Cars and many more. Music genres cover everything from rap and hip-hop to pop and rock. From humble beginnings, this Willesden company influenced music and culture around the entire world.

Willesden, Morgan Studios & Their Links to Countless Music Legends

Morgan Studios was a very influential and successful music company that started life in Willesden, working with music legends including Led Zeppelin and many more‘Morgan Studios’ was another very influential and successful music company that started life in Willesden, pre-dating Zomba, back in the 1960s. They went on to work with huge names like Free, Blind Faith, Led Zeppelin, Supertramp, Paul McCartney, Wings, Rod Stewart, Yes, Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Cat Stevens, Pink Floyd, Carly Simon, Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, The Who, The Jam, The Cure, The Stone Roses, Thin Lizzy, The Kinks (more about them below), Squeeze, Gary Moore, Peter Gabriel, Bonnie Tyler, Elton John, and many more household names. The recording studios were based at 169-171 High Road, Willesden, being owned originally by Barry Morgan, the drummer in successful bands like ‘Blue Mink’ and others. Interestingly, in 1980, Morgan Studios were sold half to Zomba (see above) and half to Robin Millar CBE who, four years later, produced the seminal album ‘Diamond Life’ by Sade. He is also a legendary music executive, who worked with many other huge names including Eric Clapton, Sting, Herbie Hancock, Elvis Costello, Bruce Hornsby, Malcolm McLaren and Alison Moyet to name just a few.

One of The Kinks' most famous songs ‘Lola’ was also recorded in Willesden, at Morgan Studios.

The Kinks’ Links to Willesden & Willesden Green

One of The Kinks’ most famous songs ‘Lola’ was also recorded at Morgan Studios, in Studio 1. Soon after, in 1971, a film came out starring Britt Ekland, Denholm Elliot and Elke Sommer. It was a British comedy called Percy and its soundtrack featured a slow, bluesy song penned by Ray Davies and, of course, performed by The Kinks. Called ‘Willesden Green’, it is apparently the only Kinks song sung by the band’s bass player (John Dalton a.k.a. ‘Nobby’). It’s lyrics showed a real fondness for Willesden Green and featured the following:

Well I tried to settle down Fulham Broadway
And I tried to make my home in Golders Green
But I gotta get that train
And go back home again
Oh how I miss the folks back home in Willesden Green

You know, I tried, I really tried to settle in this big city
And I always thought I could make it all on my very own
But there’s one thing that keeps calling me
To that little, that little semi-detached
That’s the folks, yeah, the folks back home
In Willesden Green.

Have a listen here (skip the ad’s):

 

It’s amazing how significant a part Willesden and nearby areas like Willesden Green, Harlesden and north-west London have played in modern culture. Yet we have only scratched the surface in this article! We hope that you found this article of interest. Please feel free to bookmark it and to share widely on social media if so.

Treetops Nursery — Another Legendary Place in Willesden!

This article was brought to you by the blogging team here at Treetops Nursery. We invite parents of babies, toddlers and under-five children in the area to consider the nursery for their childcare needs. If you are searching for an outstanding nursery or pre-school for weekday childcare in Willesden or near Willesden Green, Kensal Green or Harlesden, Treetops Nursery would make a great choice. Facilities are superb and the setting certainly ticks all the right boxes. Please contact us for more details or to arrange a visit by choosing from the following:

Call 020 8963 1259 Book a Visit Message/Email Us

Image credits: Jack Dee: photo by Ed g2s, CC BY-SA 4.0. The Kinks: photo by W. Veenman, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL. Britney Spears: photo by Glenn Francis, CC BY-SA 4.0. Led Zeppelin: main image and thumbnail photos both by p_a_h (flickr user), CC BY 2.0. Other photos shown are either in the public domain or used under Fair Use guidelines.