Overcoming Dyslexia: A Plan for Parents

Updated: Aug 4, 2021

While dyslexia is now being more widely identified than it was for previous generations, the approaches for dealing with it are not keeping up with our latest understanding of neuroscience. As most of us are parents ourselves, we understand the frustration of having a label given to your child without any investigation or answers on the root causes of their symptoms. Swimming upstream to identify the underlying issues with reading and processing difficulties is what we are known for here at The Key Clinic.

There is so much we can do to ease things for the dyslexic brain, using evidence-based tools and treatments to target the underlying processing, memory and attention issues a child may have. Today, we will take you through some of the vital information we share with parents who come to us looking to help make life significantly easier for their child.

Identifying Dyslexia early will help to overcome it

Dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by difficulties with word decoding, or the ability to understand how a word’s appearance relates to what it sounds like. Regardless of their vision or intellect, those who are given the label of dyslexia experience difficulty reading, spelling, and speaking. We know that the earlier you can begin to manage the symptoms of dyslexia for a child the better, however despite this parents are usually left without a plan following diagnosis. Schools might offer support in the form of technology or help with written tasks, but what next steps are available to you as a parent?

A young girl reads from a book following help for her Dyslexia at The Key Clinic
A young girl reads from a book following help in overcoming her dyslexia at The Key Clinic

Using Neurodevelopmental Therapy to help overcome Dyslexia

It is no coincidence that over 90% of those diagnosed with dyslexia happen to have a ‘retained reflex’ called the Asymmetric Tonic Neck Reflex (ATNR). This retained reflex causes the eyes to ‘jump’ when trying to track across a line of writing and prevents the hands being able to cross the midline when writing. It also keeps the two hemispheres of the brain divided, which is why those with dyslexia so often show a pattern of mixed laterality - for example, writing with the left hand, but playing tennis with the right.

Reflexes, such as the ATNR, are important to our development in early life, but they should then disappear and become replaced with new stages of development as a child grows older. There are many different reflexes which may be retained and each one brings with it its own set of difficulties. Nothing happens automatically and schoolwork requires much additional effort in order to compensate for these ‘blockages’ in functioning.

Key Neurodevelopmental Therapy is a personalised, evidence-based, drug-free movement programme which identifies, targets and eliminates the ‘retained reflexes’ that hold many children back at school.

A comparison of handwriting before and after working with The Key Clinic
A comparison of handwriting before and after working with The Key Clinic

Fine Tuning the hearing to improve Auditory Processing

Another interesting neuroscientific discovery is that all those with dyslexia appear to have difficulties in the way in which they process auditory information. We are not talking about hearing loss, but rather factors which make it difficult to understand the sounds which are coming in the ears.

For example, it may be that your child hears different parts of words at different volumes. Perhaps they hear the consonant sounds really well, but they are missing the vowel sounds (a bit like speaking on a mobile phone in an area of poor reception). These are called auditory ‘distortions’ and they can make following what is being said tricky.

A boy in headphones completes his Auditory Therapy at home during his programme with The Key Clinic
A boy in headphones completes his Auditory Therapy at home during his programme with The Key Clinic

Another difficulty can be ‘dyslateral’ hearing. This means your child may be switching from one ear to the other in order to tune into different parts of words. This has a strange effect on language input to the brain, as it can actually muddle up the order of sounds within words, so that ‘CAT’ is received as ‘ACT’.

If you cannot hear a word easily or in the right order, how on earth can one learn to read? This requires seeing a pattern of symbols on a page (probably with the eyes jumping) and then associating these with a pattern of sounds (probably jumbled up).

We now begin to appreciate just how difficult school work can be for a perfectly intelligent, but dyslexic child.

The Key Clinic’s proprietary Auditory Therapy is designed to specifically tackle and correct these problems, rewiring the hearing so that any kinks and irregularities are ironed out.

Overcoming Dyslexia at home

Once the ears and the eyes are functioning as they should be, we can then look to further help creating the pathways in the brain needed to be able to read with ease, using an evidence-based online learning program called Fast ForWord.

This is personalised and adaptive reading and language software that produces 1-2 years of gains in just 40-60 hours of use for any struggling learner. Fast ForWord uses over 20 years of research into retraining parts of the brain, which is why it is so effective in the long term. When reading challenges are turned into strengths your child can achieve better literacy and enduring results. The best news is that Fast ForWord is an online interactive program, so you can take the science-led approach at home, as well as in-clinic.

Fast ForWord helps young readers by tackling the root cause of their processing issue and rewiring the brain
Fast ForWord helps young readers by tackling the root cause of their processing issue and rewiring the brain

Overcoming Dyslexia is Possible

The results of one or a combination of these therapies can be game-changing and we have even had children completely lose their diagnosis as a result, as they no longer find difficult the things they once did.

We brought our eldest son to The Key Clinic at the start of his GCSE year, as he had recently flunked some really important exams. He had been previously diagnosed with Dyslexia and suffered from great anxiety and constant tummy aches/indigestion.

He has just completed his A levels with all 'A'* and 'A's. We brought his younger brother for treatment too and have just seen him win prizes on Speech day for the first time ever.

-The Phelps Family

Not enough parents know that Dyslexia doesn’t have to be a life sentence. Our brains are flexible and can be rewired to improve your child’s performance, confidence and happiness.

If you would like to book an initial screening consultation with one of The Key Clinic team, please visit https://bit.ly/TheKeyClinicRegister and complete the questionnaire to register.

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