IT IS important for children who might be dyslexic to be identified and offered help as soon as possible, according to Apedys, a national network of groups helping parents of dyslexic children.
The president of Apedys Rhône, Miss Labe, said: “Children learn to read at different speeds and yours may not really be un enfant dys (a dyslexic child). However if they are, the sooner they start remedial sessions the better they will cope.”
Often a school doctor will do tests at the start of CP (the first class of école élémentaire), to check on a child's ability to combine sounds, which might indicate that they will have difficulties in learning to read.
If necessary, sessions will be arranged with an orthophoniste (speech therapist), who are trained to deal with dyslexia.
Some schools will also offer sessions with an in-house RASED (special needs) teacher, however these are being cut back so staff focus more on ordinary teaching, Ms Labe said.
These do not replace sessions with an orthophoniste.
If parents notice a problem, they should ask their GP for a referral for a bilan orthophonique (speech therapy assessment), reimbursed by social security.
Sessions with a therapist may be one or more times a week and are usually out of school hours, for example on a Wednesday or Saturday or after school. If ones in school time are needed, this needs to be agreed with the school.
If problems persist for two years after the child has been learning to read then a formal dyslexia diagnosis can be made. This is never before the start of CE2, the third year of école élémentaire. If the dyslexia is slight, there are simple ways in which learning methods can be adapted.
However for more severe cases it is recognised as a trouble spécifique de l'apprentissage – learning disability – by the maison départementale des personnes handicapées and the child may need to attend a school which has a special section (called a CLIS at primary level or a UPI in secondary) to help with this.
The child will come out of ordinary lessons for those subjects where they have the most difficulties and work in a small group in this facility.
Help from a classroom assistant and computers with speech recognition software may be used. Special exam arrangements may also be put in place – extra time, a computer or even a “secretary” to write for the child.
To find the nearest Apedys visit www.apedys.org and click on nous contacter and then contactez votre Apedys locale.