Aug 022013

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Q: My child can sound out words, but she has to sound them out every single time even though she’s just read the word. She has some reversals of b’s and d’s too. Do you think she is showing signs of dyslexia?


What you describe could very well be a milder case of dyslexia.  Dyslexia varies in degree. There are also a number of signs of dyslexia.

We also have to be aware that there are learning difficulties that can cause signs of dyslexia, but they aren’t really the clinically diagnosable form of dyslexia.

Signs of Dyslexia : The Diagnosable, Neurological Learning Disability

True, diagnosable dyslexia it is mainly characterized by a lack of phonemic awareness. That is a difficulty with the ability to hear or segment individual sounds within a word. For example, the word “cat” has three phonemes in it– the sound of hard c, the sound of short a, and the sound of t.

The specific learning disability diagnosed as dyslexia also includes a deficit in short-term working memory. There are also other issues with vision and perception that appear like they may be dyslexia. However, those conditions require treatment of a very different type, so you don’t want to assume your child has true dyslexia without an evaluation.

You’ll want to reference our page providing information about the Symptoms of Dyslexia to become more aware of signs of dyslexia, what dyslexia is, and what it is not.

Other Reading Disabilities that May Not Signal Signs of Dyslexia

Whatever your child’s issue may be, children often have random reversals in their writing. However, a child usually outgrows the tendency by time he’s 7. If your child is older than 7 and still has reversals, he may have some visual perception difficulties. These often accompany true dyslexia, but the conditions aren’t quite the same thing. Visual perception difficulties are not the same thing as the neurological dyslexia because visual perception deficits are treated in a different way.

Again, check out the information about the Symptoms of Dyslexia to find out if your child’s problems are significant enough that you should seek help.  Should you “wait” for your child to “outgrow” his problems? DEFINITELY NOT! The Symptoms of Dyslexia page also discusses advice about seeking help too.

Signs of Dyslexia and Early Intervention

Early intervention is key to keeping your child on grade level across all subjects. Your child will fall further behind in ALL subject areas if he still can’t read past the third grade and isn’t given assistive technology to learn. 

A lack of reading help can set your child up for years of educational struggling and lower his self-esteem. Kids often start feeling “dumb” because they have difficulty with reading. It also affects your child’s access to the curriculum in all subjects. If your child doesn’t receive help, he will experience frustration with academics. He may learn to hate schooling. He may even develop a “couldn’t care LESS” attitude towards schoolwork. Many kids develop anxiety about learning.

Signs of Dyslexia – Where Do You Begin?

While NOT MEDICAL OR PROFESSIONAL advice, there are some simple things you can do when your child is showing signs of dyslexia. You’ll want to decide which direction you want to pursue in first. 

Why do I say you need to decide what to pursue first? Because symptoms can be caused by a wide variety of conditions. You MUST identify the RIGHT cause of your child’s signs of dyslexia in order to get the RIGHT treatment. Your child may need colored glasses, vision therapy, visual-perception training, phonemic awareness instruction, etc. OR.. He may even need more than one type of help!

As an example, my son had problems with reversals and his eyes hurting when he read. It turned out he needed vision therapy and visual-perception training. He also had the neurological lack of phonemic awareness and some attention deficits. Therefore, he had to have specialized reading instruction. Addressing ALL of those areas was required to get him reading on grade level.

SO, you’ll need to pursue all probable or possible problems through testing. Then you will need to get solutions for the specific problems your child has. You will find additional information about steps you can take to help figure out the root cause of your child’s reading problems on our page with additional information about true dyslexia.  You’ll find three basic steps to take on the second half of the page.

Where to Get Testing When Your Child Shows Signs of Dyslexia

Take steps to obtain a complete neuropsychological evaluation. Continue pursuing solutions for your child’s reading difficulties in each area that appears to be a problem. Keep in mind children often have multiple issues. Therefore, finding one problem may not be the complete solution to your child’s reading struggles.

A great place to ask questions about where to find a good evaluator is through the Council of Parent Advocates and Attorneys. Locate an advocate or attorney in your area. Then contact them. Ask for the name of a highly qualified independent evaluator near you. Most of the time they can refer you to one or more neuropsychologists who will provide a comprehensive evaluation for your child. The evaluator will evaluate the signs of dyslexia you see and pinpoint the causes of your child’s difficulties.

Hope the info helps !!
Best Wishes

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