Why Early Intervention is Important
By Blessing Ingyape, Int. Certified Sp.L.D Educator, founder of Dyslexia Help Africa.
When Shola (real name withheld) was turning 5, his mom started looking for help. Why? She was concerned that her little boy was still struggling with the alphabet and their phonemes and was practically functioning below the literacy milestone for his age.
We (Dyslexia Help e-academy) observed him for a while and noticed some signs of dyslexia. We didn’t do anything extraordinary; we simply started an online structured reading intervention, an hour after school as we worked hand in hand with his school. This month makes it exactly a year since he started the reading intervention and I am excited to share that he has caught up with his peers. He is no longer below the reading milestones for his age.
I have another beautiful student who started intervention with us at age 12, the parent noticed her reading struggles when she was about the same age as Shola but they didn’t know how to get help. She kept managing through school until they finally found an expert and she was diagnosed with dyslexia at 12. When the mom finally met with us for a dyslexia intervention she expressed how she was not only concerned about her reading struggles but also about her low self esteem issues. School wasn’t a thing she looked forward to.
We started intervention for both Shola and the 12 year old at the same time. They have both made progress, however while shola has caught up with the work for his current class our 12 year old hasn’t. Aside from the fact that intervention takes longer when the child is older, a lot of time is also spent on working on the child’s self esteem that was destroyed all those years of not getting help.
As an educator who has been teaching kids with dyslexia for years now, I have seen similar stories play out over and over again. These true life stories constantly remind me that early intervention is very important. Kicking against early intervention for dyslexics is like waiting for someone who can’t swim in a pool to drown before you offer them a life jacket.
Screening/offering reading intervention at an early stage is not a death sentence or labelling, it’s simply acknowledging that a child struggling with learning needs all the help they can. So what is it going to be? Are you going to let that kid drown? Or you are going to offer them a life jacket?
By Blessing Ingyape