Reading and writing have never been Jack's strong points at school. He keeps up just fine but he works quite slowly compared to other types of work, like math. It's never been much of a concern because he's still toward the top of his class, the quality of his work is near perfect it's just notably slowly produced. The teachers, as well as us, have always just put it down to Jack's tendency toward perfectionism.
Earlier this week Helen stated that Jack had some news on the reading and writing subject. Jack informed me that he'd been given something to help him with his reading, a couple small coloured overlays, red and yellow.
Jack is thrilled. He says it's making reading much easier, the letters are much clearer and he can read much quicker. Since having received these he's seems to have soared to the top of the class. He's now reporting that he keeps finishing first, or is the only one who finished. He told me that read a 32 page book yesterday.
So, it's looking like Jack is possibly dyslexic. It's still a tad early to say for certain. With him being so young it could just be mistaking a lack of focus as Irlen Syndrome. The problem is that if you ask a six year old child if the letters are hard to see they'll pretty much just say yes. If out put coloured paper in front of them and ask if that's better they'll just say yes. So the diagnostic process can be somewhat challenging. But being that dyslexia is hereditary and I'm dyslexic, two of my brothers and my father are as well, so the odds are against him.
There isn't a problem with him possibly being dyslexic, my only concern is that from now on we'll have to deal with endless teaching enabling plans and teachers that treat him like he's a little slow. Dyslexia is largely considered a learning disability and as soon as you label a child as having a learning disability, the safety scissors and circles of paper come out. It can be a frustrating world to find yourself in especially when you're every bit as clever, if not cleverer, that everyone else in the class and you know it, yet the teachers still declare you lazy, or vacant, or thick headed.
Irlen Syndrome is easiest described as an eye problem. Due to the way the brain processes visual information coming in from the eyes, distortions can appear making reading difficult, or impossible. Irlen Syndrome is not exclusive to dyslexics, in fact the association between them is not accepted by many. I don't suffer to much from Irlen Syndrom myself, only with certain colour schemes or when I'm tired I see shadows or bars over the text. I just have virtually no reading comprehension at all and reading just wears me out.
So we'll keep an eye on how Jack gets on over the next few months and try to get better idea of what's really going on. Until then I'm happy that his enthusiasm for reading and writing seems to have been renewed. He'll be be allowed to bring his overlays home shortly, which he's also excited about, and we've ordered some of our own overlays, I'm also going to install iOverlay on his iPod. I really hope that we can help him learn to enjoy reading rather than letting him grow to dread it like I did, we're going to do everything that we can.
You can find out more about Dyslexia and Irlen Syndrome on those links.