What to Do If You Think Your Child Has Dyslexia
There is a common misconception that dyslexia is associated with “reverse reading” or “reading in the mirror.” Upside down letters are not always a sign of dyslexia , and many young children who do not have this disorder write their letters in reverse as well.
According to the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity , dyslexia is “an unexpected difficulty in reading for someone with the intelligence to read better.” Dyslexic people find it difficult to match the letters they see on the page with the sounds they make. This is one of the most common language learning disabilities, but you may not be aware that your child has it. Dr. Megan L. Jorgenson , a clinical neuropsychologist at the Children’s Research Center at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at New York University’s Langon, tells us about some of the most common signs to look out for.
How do you get dyslexia?
Dyslexia can occur spontaneously, according to Dr. Jorgenson, but it’s not uncommon for a child with learning disabilities to have a family member who also has it. It’s important to know that dyslexia is not an indicator of intelligence or lack of intelligence – some of the brightest kids have difficulty reading. “It’s more of a specific weakness in a particular skill,” says Dr. Jorgenson.
Dr. Jorgenson explains that in people with this condition, the back of the brain between the occipital and temporal lobes is affected. Usually, a person without a disability processes information very quickly and efficiently. However, in children with dyslexia, this treatment does not work. “[This part of the brain] is not that active because they have hyperactivation of the frontal parts of the brain,” she says.
At what age does it appear?
Your child will be diagnosed in first or second grade.
What are the signs of dyslexia?
Here are some examples of the first signs:
- Fighting the alphabet
- Speak the words
- Recognizing rhymes
If you have any concerns, first make sure your child is giving adequate instruction on the matter. “We want to make sure they are given full formal instruction, but they still struggle to acquire these academic skills at the same rate as their peers,” says Dr. Jorgenson.
Children with learning difficulties may try to avoid tasks they cannot do — for example, they do not want to sit down and read. Often, children with dyslexic symptoms read more slowly if they cannot pick up certain sounds. While some children have milder dyslexia, others may have more severe symptoms.
What can you do to help your dyslexic child?
Get tested as early as possible based on symptoms. You can request it from your school district. Children with dyslexia need individualized support and must meet criteria for an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Dr. Jorgenson recommends that a child with dyslexia follow a multisensory learning approach , which is a technique for the relationship between letter and sound to improve reading skills. She stresses the importance of one-to-one support as it slows down learning to the learner’s level so that they receive the support they need.
How can you support?
It can be difficult to figure out how to deal with an unfamiliar situation, such as dyslexia. Dr. Jorgenson says if your kids are doing poorly in school, it’s important to be aware that it can affect their self-esteem. Give them the opportunity to do what they love — like art, music, or theater — by letting them develop their strengths.
In terms of books, give them the opportunity to read what they are interested in (including comics!) In a zero pressure environment. Also, talk to your child’s teacher or principal about any concerns you may have – they may provide additional services, such as extra time for tests. (And know that if your student is eligible for an IEP and an IEP recommends accommodations, the school must provide them.)
Will it improve over time?
Although there is no “cure”, people with dyslexia can do great things and do great things. Dr. Jorgenson notes that this does not mean the problems will go away.
She recommends seeking early intervention for this reason: the gap between children who are struggling in an area in which they do not reach the same pace as their peers may widen. But with the right support, they will be able to reach their full potential at a time that suits them.