Does my child have dyslexia?

Does my child have dyslexia?

i Jan 28th No Comments by

This week we had the opportunity to chat with Cathryn Kelshall, Chairman of the Dyslexia Association of Trinidad and Tobago. Cathryn provided answers to two of the most commonly asked questions by parents about dyslexia.

How can I tell if my child is dyslexic?

What we’re looking at is unexpected reading failure. Dyslexia is a specific difficulty with learning to read, write and spell. How it presents itself will depend on the severity of the dyslexia. So, if your child’s dyslexia is very severe, you’ll begin to see trouble early on; learning letter shapes, rhyming.

If it’s not that severe, then your child may be able to cope well with the Infant 1 and Infant 2 classes where they are just learning very phonetic words like bat and hat, but begin to fall apart when things get a little more difficult, like in Standard 1 where those horrible English words, like though and through and thorough begin to come into the curriculum.

Some dyslexics lag in speech development as well. You may notice near-miss words, like “wiv” for “with”, or “shovel” for “shuffle”.

Because dyslexics have difficulty with direction and sequencing, older children may continue to reverse letters and numbers, may have difficulty telling the time, tying their shoe laces, and learning sequences such as the alphabet, the months of the year, and tables.

Sometimes the difficulty is with oral sequencing, like, for instance:

  • saying “hostipal” instead of “hospital”, or “pasghetti” instead of “spaghetti;”
  • or for little ones sounding out words like, “t-o-p,” but saying “pot” because the children can’t hold on to the sequence of the sounds long enough to get the word out.

Dyslexics can also be very talented with the right brain skills like building puzzles or art. Very often they have extraordinary problem-solving skills and come up with creative or novel solutions for problems, so you may see a great disparity of ability. They may know the answers in the Science or Social Studies class, may be the first to raise their hand, but have enormous difficulty getting those thoughts on paper. Spelling can be quite bizarre!

What do you do?

It is important to get help early.

  • Don’t wait for a test. Do get hearing and vision screened to make sure that’s not part of the problem.
  • Contact the Dyslexia Association and let them put you in touch with a teacher who specifically trained to teach dyslexics.
  • If you need more information, you can go to The Dyslexia Association website,, to find out lots more.
  • Phone the Association at 281-7323 (READ) for a chat or referral to a tutor near you who can conduct a screening test, and tutor your child.
  • Finally, remove that blame! Your child isn’t dyslexic because they want to be, it’s as difficult for them as it is for you.

We thank Cathryn for providing us with this useful information about dyslexia and we hope that our readers were enlightened by it. Resources are just a call or click away.

The Dyslexia Association has been a valued partner since ALTA’s inception. Many dyslexic adults did not get the help they needed during their school years, and ALTA can fill this gap as we use methods designed for teaching dyslexics. To sign up for ALTA-V in your home, on your computer or smartphone call 341-8668.

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a tutor, joining a class, or becoming a sponsor, call 624-2582 or email

Keep up to date with ALTA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: ALTA TT

Simply amazing!

i Jan 21st No Comments by

The ALTA-V classroom allows our students to sign up and continue learning from the comfort of their own home. ALTA tutors and students have just concluded the first term and we have just started the second term of ALTA-V for the 2020-2021 academic year.

Level 1 ALTA student Deborah Wilson shared her ALTA-V experience with our tutors and our wider audience during a tutor talk episode last October.

During our web interview, Deborah stated that she joined ALTA knowing that she had a reading disorder stemming from a head trauma. During her early school days, she always found it challenging to perform to the level of her peers.

Over the years as her children were acquiring literacy skills at school, she’d try to learn a few things from them. There was even some reading intervention from a helpful teacher prior to finding out about ALTA.

Deborah has always had a desire to achieve more, so when one of her fellow church members reached out to her to tell her about ALTA classes, she was ecstatic. In her own words she “jumped for joy!”

Deborah started out quite nervous about classes, as many adult literacy students tend to be. That’s when her tutor stepped in to reassure her that everyone was there to “learn and grow” and there was nothing to be scared or nervous about. It was at that point that Debra said she became very eager to learn as much as possible.

Deborah praised her ALTA tutors – in her experience, they are “simply amazing!” She found them to be filled with knowledge, patience, understanding and motivation. They continue to help her to acquire the level of competence with reading and writing that she has always wanted.

Deborah enthusiastically assures other potential students who have ever wondered about the ALTA environment and interacting with tutors: “They give you the energy to continue to learn more.”

If you know someone who would like to improve their literacy skills, share our telephone numbers with them. Become an ALTA messenger today and like, comment and share our content on social media every time it appears in your feed. Together we can continue raising awareness of literacy as a skill and reducing the stigma attached to low literacy.

To sign up for ALTA-V in your home, on your computer or smartphone call 341-8668.

Stand Tall… We are ALTA.

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a tutor, joining a class, or becoming a sponsor, call 624-2582 or email

Keep up to date with ALTA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: ALTA TT

ALTA-V resumes this week!

i Jan 14th No Comments by

ALTA-V welcomes current students, new students and past students to term 2. Having successfully completed an entire term of virtual teaching using ALTA-V, this week we feature our tutor voices writing about our new ALTA-V option for adult literacy learners.

Elaine Balliram
I’m a first-time tutor and found that the students were very responsive and engaged in all the sessions. I felt the students understood the lessons taught and were not shy in asking for further explanation. I truly enjoyed the experience.

June Marcano
I believe that the students felt more comfortable in their home environment without the hassle of getting to the physical classroom (despite the distractions and challenges) and were able to give of their best given the circumstances. I too embraced the convenience.

I was able to see great improvement with my students in reading individually and in applying the particular skills taught.

When it came to challenges, we took on whatever came on the day and worked around it. Overall I was pleased with the efforts.

Chela Bhimull
ALTA-V was an overall good experience. Students were coached as to how to use Zoom in term 3 of the last academic year and new students were also on-boarded. Returning students seemed happy to be back at ALTA – though the environment was new and different.

ALTA-V offered convenience to both students and tutors. Two students were able to work around their work schedules to attend class. Our Tobago student comes off a shift and attends class an hour late, but he is there trying his best.

The class has a good camaraderie. Sometimes the home environment was helpful. One new student who was unsettled in the classroom, with the help of his mother, calmed down and now pays attention to do his work.

There were a few challenges. We immediately address background noise. Though noise still filters through, it is manageable. Faulty internet during rain and connectivity interruptions do pose a problem, but because tutors work in a team this does not interfere with lesson delivery. I am grateful to have two other tutors who ably and smoothly jump in when my connection falters.

Virtual teaching has its pros and cons. It requires patience, creativity and dedication. It’s a labour of love. I personally prefer virtual to physical because of its convenience and time management.

Sharon Diptee
While I like the idea of being able to work from home, I much prefer face-to-face teaching because I feel that I’ll get more out of the students and be better able to evaluate them.

That said, the students are attentive and we have very interactive sessions. There were severe challenges with poor internet access and audio. There were times when we were unable to hear the students. As a first attempt at the virtual teaching/learning, I think the experience was wonderful, despite the challenges. And I learned to use Zoom! Congratulations to Alta for a job well done.

To our students, volunteer tutors, Regional Coordinators – thanks for making ALTA-V term 1 a success. Feedback from our Regional Coordinator Meeting last week confirms that ALTA-V classes have overcome any initial problems, have protocols in place and are managing the teaching environment well with smooth transitions from screen sharing and using breakout rooms to meet individual needs. ALTA-V is all set for term 2 and inviting new and past adult learners back to improve their literacy.

Stand Tall… We are ALTA.

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a tutor, joining a class, or becoming a sponsor, call 624-2582 or email

Keep up to date with ALTA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: ALTA TT

Our ALTA-V Classroom

i Jan 8th No Comments by

This first article of 2021 is a landmark for ALTA as it is the 400th article in our regular Thursday column! It is thus fitting that we feature our tutor voices and our new ALTA-V option for adult literacy learners.

Our ALTA-V classroom enables students to sign up and learn from the comfort of home. During the month of January, ALTA-V is welcoming new students and we invite you to tell others of this opportunity, especially if you know any adults (16 and over) who may need to improve their reading, writing and spelling skills.

Some may be hesitant to try a virtual class, and these fears may be allayed by sharing some of the ALTA-V feedback from our tutors. ALTA tutors and students have concluded the first ALTA-V term and we are happy to say that tutors and students worked together to resolve any issues and reported a positive experience.

Monica Richards
I find the online tutoring really worked out very well. The students were attentive and co-operative. This form of distance learning is effective.

Earl Providence
As a first-time ALTA teacher, the experience was great. We encountered the challenges that were expected with persons being unable to comfortably use the Zoom system along with sometimes poor internet and a lot of background noise. Gradually however, there was some improvement, and I look forward to the new term.

Sherma Riley-Springer
The ALTA-V experience was new but a fulfilling one despite the challenges of internet connectivity and students encountering problems to log back in. By the end, most of them became quite technologically comfortable in the environment.

It was clear at the end of the term that those who stayed the course were showing improvement, and were more confident in themselves and their application of what was taught.

At first in some instances, family members wanted to do the work for students and give the answers to them when doing the exercises, with some even quarrelling with them if they got it wrong. With guidance, we sorted it out and the students were able to become relaxed in the environment.

Tutors worked together to counteract connectivity inconsistencies by picking up and inputting as needed when any tutor’s connection became unstable. As a tutor one had to be creative and very patient – as always in teaching and helping students.

Although it was my first time doing the virtual style of teaching, I absolutely loved it and found the convenience of operating from home made it more manageable. The students who stayed the course have mentioned their excitement to return in the new term.

Pauline Dowlath
The virtual ALTA experience was a good one although lessons took more prep time in order to improve learning via visuals. Students were involved and generally understood what was taught. Some returning students’ really improved attendance in the virtual class, though there were others who continued to be unable to attend regularly. New students showed keen interest and attendance!

To our students, volunteer tutors, Regional Coordinators – welcome back to ALTA-V!

Stand Tall… We are ALTA.

If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a tutor, joining a class, or becoming a sponsor, call 624-2582 or email

Keep up to date with ALTA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram: ALTA TT