As parents watch their child struggle with dyslexia-related learning challenges, it’s common for them to ask; “will my child outgrow dyslexia — or can it get worse?”

While dyslexia has nothing to do with a child’s intelligence or interest in learning, children do not outgrow it. If left untreated, the condition can lead to lifelong difficulties with reading, spelling and writing. 

We explore how untreated dyslexia impacts children. We then look at how specialised learning centres help children overcome their dyslexia-related learning challenges. 

How untreated dyslexia impacts childhood learning

Children with dyslexia struggle to decode words, leading to language-based learning issues. But dyslexia affects everyone differently. Some children with undiagnosed dyslexia, for instance, may excel in their early school careers by putting in more effort than their peers. But the older children get, the more they’re expected to read and write fluently. 

Without support, students with dyslexia are likely to fall behind academically. This becomes evident as these students continue reading below their expected level and find writing to be a difficult and labour-intensive process. As children with dyslexia begin associating learning with struggle, they may lose interest in education.  

Another issue relates to how dyslexia is viewed in Singapore. Dyslexia is widely misunderstood and many educators and parents feel that dyslexia-related difficulties are a result of laziness — or that a child’s learning challenges are a passing phase. This line of thinking prevents children and parents from getting the help that they need.                   

Can dyslexia get worse with age? 

Dyslexia symptoms don’t ‘get worse’ with age. That said, the longer children go without support, the more challenging it is for them to overcome their learning difficulties. A key reason for this is that a child’s brain plasticity decreases as they mature. This impacts how quickly children adapt to change. When helping children overcome dyslexia-related challenges, it takes four times as long to intervene in Primary 4 as it does in late kindergarten.

Alongside decreasing brain plasticity, children face greater strain as academic demands intensify. By Primary 3, for example, children with undiagnosed dyslexia know 10,000 fewer words than their peers. As children see themselves fall behind their peers, they may experience social and emotional difficulties like anxiety — as reported in this article by The Strait Times

Unfortunately, these problems aren’t restricted to school. Young adults with undiagnosed dyslexia frequently enter university or the workforce at a disadvantage. While untreated dyslexia doesn’t get worse with age, the effects of dyslexia have a lifelong impact that affect performance across many environments.  

How to help your child overcome dyslexia-related learning challenges

If you suspect your child might have dyslexia, consider seeking a professional diagnosis. Many learning centres have the expertise and experience to help children overcome their learning challenges. Along with dyslexia assessments, these centres utilise proven dyslexia-specific teaching methods and materials that are unavailable in mainstream schools.

While dyslexia presents a struggle for many learners, specialised learning centres provide the support needed to see your child overcome their challenges and blossom into a confident and competent young adult.

Want to learn more about dyslexia?

We’ve written a guide to help parents understand dyslexia and how early learning interventions impact the educational journey of children with dyslexia. In the Singaporean Parent’s Guide to Early Dyslexia Learning Interventions, we unpack:

  • The signs of dyslexia
  • How dyslexia diagnosis impacts early learning 
  • Where to test your child for dyslexia
  • How specialised schools help children with dyslexia
  • Tips on talking to your child about dyslexia
Read our guide here.   
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