Children learn to read and write by acquiring a series of skills that lead to awareness and manipulation of the sounds in words. They develop an understanding that letters are associated with sounds and must be able to recall these sounds automatically. Children also learn that words are made up of sounds and must be able to identify and manipulate these sounds to form new words. Finally, children must learn that writing these letters and words in a different order can mean different things.
There are many reasons why children may have difficulties with literacy development however it is not uncommon. About 10% of school children in Australia will have difficulty learning to read and write. This may be due to circumstances such as learning English as a second language, interrupted schooling, chronic ear infections or hearing problems, learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities or underlying speech and language difficulties.
Literacy difficulties do not only affect academic achievement. A child's social interaction and self-esteem can also be affected by difficulties with reading and writing. It is vital to intervene early and provide support for children with literacy difficulties to ensure they can develop academically, emotionally, and socially throughout their school years.
Speech Pathologists are experts in supporting those with communication difficulties and are therefore, an important part of a literacy team.
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Research has shown that getting help for literacy problems early can prevent those problems becoming more severe. Some children may show signs of potential difficulties before they reach school. Seeking help before your child starts school may reduce or eliminate those problems.
If your child is showing any of these potential problems, it would be useful to get some help from a speech pathologist.
Yes. Dyslexia means difficulties with learning to read. It is important that a speech pathologist is part of the team working with a child with dyslexia to help support their literacy development.
Reference: Speech Pathology Australia Literacy Factsheet
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