One of my boys was in third grade when a developmental doctor ushered us into her office and told us he had some unique learning challenges.
I felt the relief of finally having a diagnosis for the struggles that we were witnessing. It wasn’t all in my head. What we saw was real.
I worried for his future, because it would take extra work. Hard work. Learning and academics would look different for him than it does for most kids. He would need to be diligent and persistent. We would need to be patient and understanding.
I worried about schoolwork and special help. I worried about being held back. I worried about his self-esteem. I worried about other kids treating him differently. I worried about what resources would be available to us. I worried about his future.
That’s what moms do — we worry.
He’s in seventh grade now, and he’s doing great, thanks to his efforts and some amazing teachers.
One question I’m often asked is how his dysgraphia struggles compares to kids with dyslexia, so let’s chat about it a bit today, shall we? 🙂 We’ll focus on dyslexia since it seems to raise the most questions.
Dyslexia is a learning disability that’s neurological in nature. It can vary in it’s severity, but you’ll tend to see difficulties in receptive and expressive language, including phonological processing in reading, writing, spelling, handwriting, and sometimes in arithmetic.
Simply put, it means a person with at least average intelligence has difficulty with reading and writing.
It can be overwhelming to find 40 to 50 different symptoms on ten different web sites. Soon you’ll wind up convinced that your child has dyslexia and twenty other disabilities.
Let’s take step back and focus on the most common signs that should encourage you to consider having your child tested.
7 Reasons to Suspect Dyslexia
The following signs are only a matter of concern if the signs are unexpected and do not match your child’s cognitive abilities or education level. For instance, if a child is on grade level in all subjects but is well below level in reading, than it is worth having the child tested with a professional.
1. Difficulty decoding words in a sentence.
A child may read with long pauses causing the flow the sentence to be disrupted and fluency to suffer.
2. May not connect letters to phonics.
It’s difficult to associate the letter to the phonetic sound of that letter.
3. Consistent letter or word reversals.
It is common for all children to reverse letters. In a child without dyslexia this will dissipate around the age of 8. A child may mix up “b” and “d” or in a word reversal my spell “pig” as “gip”.
4. Difficulty with sight words.
Sight words do not always follow spelling rules making them unable to decode as well as not having a visual element.
5. Difficulty rhyming or separating sounds within words.
Rhyming is part of phonological awareness and a lack of this awareness can indicate dyslexia.
6. Mixing up words or having trouble coming up with the correct word.
A child may say “syrup” instead of “ketchup” or “potato” instead of “tomato”.
7. May appear lazy, disinterested, or distracted during reading lessons.
While this may be true of non-dyslexic children, it is important to note that children who struggle with a learning disability often appear to be misbehaving or lazy. If you find this is isolated to a particular subject it may be something more beneath the surface.
What to Do if You Suspect Dyslexia
If you suspect your child has dyslexia, then it’s important to get your child screened. The sooner remediation begins the easier and shorter the process will be. Your child’s pediatrician or school district can point you in the right direction for testing.
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