Marcus [5 years 2 months]

Marcus has been in school for a little over six months. His parents were worried about him because there is dyslexia in the family and because he showed no interest in books or writing, despite ample opportunities both at home and at pre-school. At school he was struggling with the fundamentals of reading and could not yet reliably recognise all the letters of the alphabet and was confused about even simple words. Tested on Rapid, his results are shown in Figure 19.

Figure 19. Rapid results for Marcus

Rapid has rated the probability of dyslexia as ‘moderate’ for Marcus. Obviously, the family history of dyslexia would strengthen that conclusion. Closer inspection of his results indicates that he does not have any extreme deficiencies, but both his phonological awareness and visual-verbal sequential memory are weak. In particular, the latter result suggests why he was experiencing problems in basic word and letter recognition. However, his average score for auditory sequential memory is good news and implies that if the early literacy difficulties can be overcome the longer-term prospects for Marcus are much better and he is unlikely to struggle with learning to the extent that most dyslexics do throughout their schooling. Overall, Marcus’s results point to the following recommendations:

● Significantly increased input of phonological activities to improve his phonological processing skills. All activities involving word games, creating and learning rhymes, alliteration, and segmentation of words would be highly beneficial.

●Plenty of practice in memory activities, especially those requiring use of verbal labels to represent visual information (e.g. Kim’s game).

● A carefully structured multisensory approach to teaching phonics, with ample opportunity to practise each phonic rule as it is introduced, e.g. using a scheme such as Jolly Phonics or Letterland.

● Several computer programs are available that will provide help for Marcus, including: Talking Animated Alphabet (visual and aural letter recognition); Letterland (basic phonics); and Lexia Core5 Reading (phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension).

If a more detailed understanding of Marcus’s difficulties is required, it is recommended that he should be tested on CoPS, which should uncover any other significant cognitive weaknesses and thus enable a clearer diagnosis to be made.