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Last week, we discussed that dyslexia is the most common learning disability at both Springer and in schools, in general, and as previously noted on the blog, early intervention for reading difficulties is key. So what should parents look for if they suspect dyslexia in their children?

Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability in which the person has difficulty with reading words, spelling, writing, and pronouncing words. Dyslexia does not mean that someone reads backwards. Some warning signs in early childhood that a child may have dyslexia include difficulty with:

  • Learning to talk
  • Learning the alphabet, nursery rhymes, or songs
  • Identifying or generating rhyming words
  • Naming colors, objects, and letters rapidly
  • Remembering names and shapes of letters
  • Learning the sounds of letters

Later in school, a child may show the following difficulties, as well:

  • Acquiring vocabulary
  • Understanding concepts and directions, such as left/right and before/after
  • Word retrieval
  • Hearing and manipulating sounds
  • Transposing the order of letters when reading or spelling
  • Misreading or omitting common short words
  • Difficulty with sounding out longer words
  • Slow, arduous oral reading
  • Many spelling mistakes
  • Needing constant repetition to learn concepts
  • Inconsistent schoolwork

Many children have a few of the listed characteristics, but a child with dyslexia will have several of them that persist over time and interfere with learning. If you see that your child struggles with any of these skills, ask your child’s teacher about his reading. How does she compare with other students her same age? Do you do assessments to measure his reading skills? Are there interventions available to help her develop these skills? Next week we will discuss the research-based instructional strategies that can help develop literacy skills in children with dyslexia.

Blogger Stephanie Dunne, Ed.S., is the Center Director at Springer School and Center. Prior to coming to Springer, Stephanie practiced as a school psychologist in public and private schools for ten years. If you have questions, please contact Stephanie at sdunne@springer-ld.org.

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