There’s been something of a revolution in our understanding of dyslexia over the past few decades. Once written off by the education system, students with dyslexia now face a much better chance of getting the support they need to succeed in their academic careers. The list of celebrities who have been open about their dyslexia is huge and growing, from Richard Branson to Jamie Oliver. So if your child is dyslexic, you may wonder how much extra support they need.
The answer is that while the situation has improved for dyslexics, there’s still a long way to go. Diagnosis of dyslexia remains hit and miss to start with, with disagreements about what percentage of the population is dyslexic – estimates range from 5% to a remarkable 17%. Dyslexia doesn’t just give students difficulties with spelling that can be addressed by judicious use of a spell checker, but can also cause problems with reading, memory, organisation and time management.
To make things more complicated, a significant portion of students with dyslexia will also have ADHD, which can compound the challenges posed by dyslexia. It’s not surprising that dyslexics continue to drop out of school at high rates – estimated as being around 3 times higher than average.
Among these challenges, a dedicated tutor can make a world of difference. While some strategies for coping with dyslexia are valuable across the board, it’s worth remembering that every student experiences dyslexia differently. A tutor will reject a one-size-fits-all approach and work with you and your child to find out what’s most effective for them, tailoring lessons to your child’s learning style. A good tutor won’t just work on giving them support in their learning here and now, but will equip them with tools they can use long into the future, as well as helping them build the confidence they’ll need to advocate for themselves, for instance in a university setting.
On a practical note, a tutor may also be able to work with your child’s teachers to apply the strategies they and your child have developed to their time in school. They may even be able to help your child access accommodations that you may not have been aware of, such as extra time in exams, or being allowed to record lessons rather than making notes.
Studying with dyslexia is undoubtedly a challenge, but with the right support from a skilled and experienced tutor, it needn’t be insurmountable.