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Lichfield education expert warns parents to check why school work is suffering

A Lichfield special needs expert has told parents that they should use half-term to try and find the reasons why their children may be struggling at school.

Dr Neville Brown

Dr Neville Brown

Dr Neville Brown, founder of Maple Hayes Dyslexia School, has also urged parents not to dismiss youngsters who are not settling at secondary school.

He explained:

“The change of school means that literacy difficulties that may have gone unnoticed in primary school can suddenly become apparent in the secondary school environment. In primary school, class teachers change every year, meaning the signs of something like dyslexia are not always spotted.

“At secondary school, a widening discrepancy between intellectual ability and a pupil’s attainment is a clear indication of problems and they can quickly start to fall behind their peer group. This can also present itself as behavioural problems – perhaps you’ve noticed that your son or daughter has started getting into trouble when they used to be well behaved?

“It’s better to be proactive and approach the school to try and identify what is causing the issue, rather than just hoping it will resolve itself.”

To help parents and teachers spot the signs of a leaning difficulty like dyslexia, Dr Brown has issued a set of guidelines called Underachieving Children – The Signs.

Dr Brown added:

“These signs don’t automatically mean your child is dyslexic, but they should not be ignored. If your child is displaying one or more then it is essential you get in touch with his or her school and raise your concerns.

“Don’t let the fear of your child being labelled as having a special educational need put you off – it’s far better to get the help he or she needs when there is still a chance to do something about it, rather than risk the situation getting worse. SEN interventions become less effective as secondary school progresses, because essentially the child is missing more and more of their education.”

Some of the signs highlighted by Dr Brown include:

  • Difficulty in learning letter sounds
  • Can’t easily ‘sound out’ syllables in long words
  • Can’t blend separate sounds into a word
  • Poor recognition of rhymes
  • Reads by sounding out each letter of a word
  • Slow and hesitant reading
  • Reads at a lower age level than others of the same age and ability
  • Spells incorrectly but can sometimes make a fair ‘phonic’ guess
  • Difficulty in organising work, homework, dates and sequences
  • Early hearing problems – high-frequency cut-off
  • Left-right confusion

For further information on the work Maple Hayes Dyslexia School undertakes visit their website or call 01543 264 387.

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