What is Dyslexia?
According to the International Dyslexia Association,
“Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities… Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.” (Adopted by the IDA Board of Directors, Nov. 12, 2002).
Simply put, dyslexia is a learning disability that affects a person’s ability to read accurately and fluently. They will also struggle with writing, spelling, reading comprehension, and verbal memory.
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How Do I Know if my Child has Dyslexia?
Finding out your child has dyslexia can be overwhelming, and you probably have many questions.
You’re not alone, and neither is your child.
Thankfully, dyslexia is the focus of many research studies in early development and education, and there are a wealth of resources and support available to you and your child.
Keep reading to learn about early signs of dyslexia and what you can do as a parent.
Signs of Dyslexia: Kindergarten to Primary 2
If you or your child’s teacher suspect your child may have dyslexia, look for these characteristic dyslexia symptoms:
- Confuses letters that look similar (b, d, p, q) and letters that have similar sounds (d/t; b/p; f/v).
- Skips over or confuses small words like to and as when reading aloud.
- Substitutes words when reading aloud (house when the story uses the word home).
- Uncertain about how to approach unfamiliar words.
- Omits the end of a word when reading and writing (for example, leaving off the s in cats or the ed in jumped).
Your child may also be struggling to:
- Learn letter names and remember their sounds.
- Read familiar words (cat or the), especially in the absence of pictures or other clues.
- Understand how vowels function and change in different words, depending on how they’re combined.
- Hear the individual sounds in words and/or blending sounds to make a word.
- Remember how words are spelled and apply spelling rules in writing.
- Generate lists of words (for example, 10 colors or fruits) or retrieve the name of an object.
What Can I Do?
Intervention is the first step in dyslexia treatment.
Dyslexia intervention is important because it’s a lifelong condition. Natural development won’t reverse it (your child won’t simply grow out of it), and regular tutoring isn’t enough to address your child’s learning needs.
Your child is struggling to access the school curriculum the way children without dyslexia can. He or she requires a specialized educational approach to read, write, and succeed in school.
The sooner the intervention begins, the better chance your child has to acquire the learning strategies that will help him or her throughout life.
Do I Need a Dyslexia Diagnosis?
In many cases, schools will only provide support if the child has a diagnosis of dyslexia documented in a formal psycho-educational report from a certified psychologist.
To learn more about how to obtain an informal assessment or a formal diagnosis for dyslexia, see my Services.