National Dyslexia Awareness Week

Next week is National Dyslexia Awareness Week, and the question posed by Frewen College, the area's only specialist a school for dyslexics, is "Just how aware are you of dyslexia?"

Most people think of dyslexia as a problem with reading, spelling, and perhaps comprehension, so assume it cannot be diagnosed until a child is already behind at school. But there are many other symptoms that can alert parents to the possibility in plenty of time to intervene at a much earlier stage.

A spokesman for the school said: "Dyslexia has nothing to do with intelligence, and it can be found across all social and economic strata. Many dyslexics have considerable gifts, but if their difficulties are not identified and addressed early enough these strengths can be swamped by failure and self doubt."

Here are Frewen's top ten tell-tale signs of dyslexia that are not reading related. If you can 'tick' three or more, you need to start digging more deeply.

1 There is a strong genetic element to dyslexia, so if there is any family history of dyslexia or reading difficulties, be particularly alert to other warning signs.

2 Being slow to start talking, and then having trouble pronouncing some letters, especially M's and N's, R's and L's.

3 Reversing or mixing up sounds in multi-syllable words (favourites include aminal for animal, hekalopter for helicopter, bisgetti for spaghetti, or even nucular for nuclear!).

4 Trouble with tying shoe laces and getting dressed.

5 Co-ordination problems (excessive tripping, falling over, bumping into things, difficulty with catching or kicking a ball, or clapping a simple rhythm).

6 Difficulty undertaking any task that involves a sequence of actions, such as 'do this, then do that.'

7 Difficulty learning abstract facts, such as days of the week or months of the year.

8 Very slow to learn the names of letters or sounds, or learning the alphabet.

9 May have walked quite early but did not crawl.

10 An unusually high number of ear infections.