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How do I know if my struggling reader shows signs of dyslexia?

Students with dyslexia need help.

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects a child's ability to read, write, and spell.

This learning difference can be identified in children as early as preschool. When parents know what to look for, they can get their children the help they need early on, thus minimizing the negative effects of the disorder as the child grows.

It is important to note that only a licensed and qualified professional who has completed a comprehensive evaluation of your child can diagnose dyslexia, often referred to as a Specific Learning Disability with an Impairment in Reading. Although schools can conduct comprehensive psychoeducational evaluations, they can only confirm indications of dyslexia.

Informed parents who pay attention to the signs of dyslexia often know that “something isn’t right”, even if they cannot diagnose it.

There are different signs of dyslexia that parents can notice at different ages. For example, at the toddler and preschool level, you may notice a speech delay. Children with dyslexia are often late talkers or have other speech difficulties. Read this article in Scientific American to learn more about the link between dyslexia, speech sounds, and reading abilities.

Signs of dyslexia in preschoolers

Some other common signs of dyslexia in young children are:

  • Difficulty learning the alphabet, numbers, days of the week, and colors

  • Difficulty recognizing rhyming words

  • Difficulty following simple directions

  • Difficulty learning to read and spell, including confusing similar-looking letters like "b" and "d"

  • Difficulty with word retrieval and expressing thoughts

As they enter the classroom the signs of dyslexia become more apparent. Teachers and parents begin to see some of the following difficulties:

  • Difficulty reading and comprehending grade-level text

  • Difficulty with spelling and grammar

  • Difficulty with writing, including organizing thoughts and expressing ideas coherently

  • Difficulty with math, particularly with word problems

  • Difficulty with time management and organization

The reading and spelling skills of individuals with dyslexia will lag behind their peers. Even if they study for a spelling test and pass the test, they will not be able to retain that newly learned word after the test. Sometimes students with dyslexia will sound like fluent readers because they memorize text and recite it rather than read it. By being able to sometimes pass spelling tests and sound fluent by memorizing, school teams often think that the child will be “fine” or “grow into their reading”.

Top 10 signs of dyslexia parents often miss

It is easy to explain away or miss some of the important, but lesser-known signs that your child has this most common learning disability. Parents want to believe school staff when they tell them "reading just hasn't clicked yet". We caution parents to continue their research to see if dyslexia could be the root of their child's struggles.

To help, we have compiled a free downloadable list of the Top 10 Signs of Dyslexia Parents Often Miss. This free download includes a list of many other easy-to-miss signs and examples so you know exactly what to look for.

Please share this resource to help parents of young children recognize the signs and get their child the support they need early on.

If you believe your child may have dyslexia, get help now!

Early remediation is key to ensuring your child can learn and thrive in school. We encourage parents to work with their school system to explore if special education services may be right for their child. Read our article, How Do Students Get Special Education Services? to learn more about what to do next. If you want to talk about your child's signs of dyslexia and what to do next, give us a call at 540-751-8487. We are here to help families of children with dyslexia.

Lorraine M. Hightower

As an educational advocate with over a decade of experience, Lorraine and her team are here to answer your tough questions and share the possibilities that exist when you hire a team of Certified Dyslexia Advocates to help your child.

Are you worried that your dyslexic child is falling behind in school?

Are you ready to see your child learn and thrive?

If so, let's start with a consultation where we will provide you with personalized and professional recommendations. Click the link below to schedule your consultation today!


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