Ananya Pre-primary and Primary

Pre Primary Section-Early Intervention.

Madras Dyslexia Association (MDA) has for the last 25 years, been working in the areas of awareness, identification and remedial for children with Dyslexia and other Learning Difficulties. Our work has focused on children in primary school all the way up to high school.

In our silver jubilee year, we have taken on a new journey towards, the Lifelong Management of Dyslexia.

Towards this purpose we have launched a Pre Primary Intervention programme. This programme focuses on children between the ages of 3 to 5 years – children in pre primary section. It focuses on early identification of children at risk and providing guidance to children and parents towards necessary early intervention, including remediation.

The importance of early intervention

The first five years of a child’s life are very formative years. Their brain is developing rapidly and they display a range of abilities, needs and challenges.  The abilities that can be noticed in children this young include –

  • The intellectual development of the child is most rapid than at any other stage of life. The plasticity of the brain – the ability of the brain to change and expand is at a peak
  • The child is learning about himself and the world around him. He uses all his senses to experience the world
  • The child displays energetic use of large muscles
  • Thinking is concrete and ego-centric

The needs that children have at this stage include

  • Need strong one to one relationship
  • Need to develop social skills, emotional strength, vocabulary, listening skills and speech
  • Needs to develop confidence in self and adults

They face several challenges as well and those include

  • Eyes are not ready for close work
  • Find sitting for too long tiresome
  • Using small muscles is stressful such as three finger grip while writing
  • Attention span is 7 to 15 minutes

When there are difficulties in any of these areas, it hampers development of the child. Early intervention creates a recognition and response system to help children who may be at risk for learning difficulties as early as possible. Before they experience failure in school.

Child at Risk

The term ‘at risk’ is used to denote difficulties which children may experience in the formative years. If these difficulties are not addressed immediately they may lead to learning difficulties at a later stage.

Risk indicators*

  • Developmental milestones
  • Delay in cognitive skills
    • Not demonstrating object permanence
    • Limited understanding of means–ends relationships (e.g., using a stool to reach a cookie jar)
    • Lack of symbolic play behavior
  • Delay in comprehension and/or expression of spoken language
    • Limited receptive vocabulary
    • Reduced expressive vocabulary (“late talkers”)
    • Difficulty understanding simple (e.g., one-step) directions
    • Monotone or other unusual prosodic features of speech
    • Reduced intelligibility
    • Infrequent or inappropriate spontaneous communication (vocal, verbal, or nonverbal)
    • Immature syntax
  • Delay in emergent literacy skills
    • Slow speed for naming objects and colors
    • Limited phonological awareness (e.g., rhyming, syllable blending)
    • Minimal interest in print
    • Limited print awareness (e.g., book handling, recognizing environmental print)
  • Delay in perceptual-motor skills
    • Problems in gross or fine motor coordination (e.g., hopping, dressing, cutting, stringing beads)
    • Difficulty coloring, copying, and drawing
  • Attention and behavior
  • Distractibility/inattention
  • Impulsivity
  • Hyperactivity
  • Difficulty changing activities or handling disruptions to routines
  • Perseveration (i.e., constant repetition of an idea)

*(Source:  Learning Disabilities and Young Children: Identification and Intervention. By: National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities, USA.)

Referral process

If the class teacher or parent has observed a delay in any of the areas mentioned above and are convinced that the child has consistently displayed this behavior for some time, it may be wise to refer the child for assessment.

Considering the age of the child, the assessment process itself cannot be very long and tiresome. However we need as much information about the child as possible to make a correct diagnosis. To aid this process some background information and material used by the child becomes imperative. Given below is a list of material that needs to be sent by the school and parents when the child comes for assessment.

From school :

  • School progress reports
  • Notebooks
  • Workbooks
  • Worksheets
  • Art work done by the child
  • Referral letter (form link below)
  • Short note about the child written by the class teacher

From parents:

  • Medical records
  • Previous assessment reports if any
  • Records and resources from the school (as listed above)
  • A short description of the child (in the parents words)

How to use the referral letter

You will find a referral letter LINK  given below. It can be downloaded , filled out and  emailed to:

 Areas of concern have been categorized; kindly refer to ‘Risk Indicators’ on page 2 for details.

Click to download Referral Letter

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About MDA

A group of parents of children with dyslexia, educationists empathetic to the cause, and philanthropists founded MDA in 1992. Madras Dyslexia Association (MDA) is a non-profit service organization established to take a pragmatic approach to helping children with “Dyslexia”.

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