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Does my child have Dyslexia?

I recently took a course on Dyslexia and its characteristics to better help my understanding of something that impacts close to 15% of the population.

As a teacher, I worked with many students who were diagnosed with dyslexia, but there is always more to learn on the subject. Here are some of the main signs to look for in your child that may be struggling in reading.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, Dyslexia is defined as follows: "a brain-based type of learning disability that specifically impairs a person's ability to read. This includes difficulty with phonological processing (manipulation of sounds), spelling, and/or rapid visual-verbal responding."

  1. Phonological Processing: This includes listening: "do CAT and CAR sound the same?"

Blending: b/a/t bat

Rhyming: do fox and box rhyme?

Segmentation: "what letters are in bat?" b/a/t

Identifying syllables: "how many syllables are in puppy?"

2. Normal or high intelligence

3. Potential impairments in attention, short-term memory, sequencing. Many students with dyslexia have also been diagnosed with ADHD or ADD.

4. Reading difficulties: word recognition, spelling, decoding

5. Lack of growth in reading

6. Difficulty with writing- sloppy or illegible handwriting, consistent and repeated spelling errors, poor note taking abilities.

7. Anxiety/nervousness- Many students develop anxiety around the idea of reading because they know how hard it is for them.

8. Difficulty saying the entire alphabet

9. Difficulties learning another language

10. Letter reversals- This seems to be the most common among students with dyslexia.

Dyslexia can also affect a child socially and emotionally. A few of the characteristics you might notice are:

  • dislike of school

  • dislike of reading

  • low self-esteem

  • peer isolation

  • low motivation

All of these are directly related to the child knowing that they learn differently from their peers and reading does not come as easily to them as it might to others. They realize at a very young age that reading takes a lot of work and repetition. This could be one of the reasons that a student might not raise their hand to read something out loud to the class, or why they might struggle to keep up on independent work.

It is definitely difficult, but students who put their mind to it and have people encouraging and helping them, will be just fine. If they aren't proficient readers by 3rd grade...IT'S OKAY!

Now let's get to a few strengths are individuals with dyslexia. A few famous people who grew up with dyslexia are: Tom Cruise, Cher, Steven Spielberg, Albert Einstein, Leonard Da Vinci and many, many more!

  • Individuals with dyslexia are usually able to restrict their focus on areas of interest and therefore become "experts" on the topic. This is also seen in children with Autism.

  • Excellent problem solving skills.

  • Arts and creativity, inventive and energetic

  • High intelligent, generally not visible via regular test scores.

One piece of advice the course that I took gave me was to have the child choose a topic that interests them when they are asked to read. This can make such a huge difference in their attitude towards reading. If a child can choose to read about cars or dinosaurs, they are more likely to try harder to read and understand the text.

I hope this was helpful!

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