Guest post by Crystal Pratt.
Is your child struggling to read, spell, or write? Is he or she having trouble with math as well? Such struggles could be early indicators that your child is suffering from dyslexia, one of the most common learning disorders in children.
Although this learning disability is often misunderstood- kids are perceived as ‘lazy’ or ‘slow’-research shows that this is far from the truth.
Most dyslexic patterns go unnoticed until about second or third grade, depending on reading level and learning difficulty. However, there are some general signs to look for in your child if you suspect a learning disability, which can be confirmed at later by a qualified professional (such as an educational psychologist). Here are the most common signs or patterns seen with dyslexia:
Reading difficulty. A reading level two years below his age or grade is a common indicator that your child may have dyslexia. This difficulty can usually be seen with reading simple single words: that, for, any, does, etc. They normally experience trouble decoding unfamiliar words as well as difficulty with reading comprehension. As a result, dyslexic children often read slower with laborious and flawed oral reading. This leads to a dislike of reading in general.
Poor spelling. Many dyslexic children have problems with spelling, especially short, simple words. They also produce ‘jumbled spellings’ in which words are written in the wrong order but with the correct letters – bule (blue) or siad (said). This jumbled spelling is a strong indication that visual memory is impaired.
Writing problems. Poor writing, as with spelling, is another sign that your child may be suffering from a learning disorder. Often dyslexic children write in mirrored images, writing words or numbers backwards. For instance, they commonly mix up the letters b and d or the letter p and number 9.
Difficulty with instructions. Dyslexic kids have trouble with 2-3 step instructions and following directions. In addition, they often have difficulty with planning and thinking ahead.
Poor sequencing skills. Many children with dyslexia have trouble with sequencing in reading (beginning, middle, end) and especially with math concepts (2, 4, 6, 8…), as well as confusion with left and right. They are often unable to process and store memory for sequencing, facts, or any information not yet experienced.
Be aware of these common signs. Having these symptoms does not necessarily mean your child has dyslexia, but you may want to follow up with a specialist to determine a successful educational plan for your child. Keep your options open and talk with other families for advice and support. Dyslexia doesn’t have to limit you or your child. With an appropriate teaching plan and in the right learning environment, children with dyslexia learning disorders can flourish.
For tips and ideas on how to encourage your child to read, common letter reversals, reading out loud, and the use of “spell check” tools, watch our video, Inspiring Struggling Students: Reading and the Reluctant or Dyslexic Reader.