How to Know If Your Child Has One of These Reading Disorders

Especially after the last few years, kids’ academic skill levels are all over the place. Depending on how well your child has done with online learning (or whatever else has happened in their life), your child’s reading level may not be at grade level. You may be wondering if this is “normal” or if something else is going on. When someone has problems with reading that cannot be attributed to a lack of skill or time spent practicing, they may have a reading processing disorder . Here are the signs and types of reading disorders and how you can help your child if they have them.

What are reading disorders?

Dyslexia is the reading disorder we hear about most often and is most commonly diagnosed in children who have difficulty reading. It is characterized by poor spelling and inaccurate reading fluency. However, there are other reading disorders that are being investigated and diagnosed more frequently. This includes:

  • Hyperlexia , impaired reading comprehension. People with this disorder have difficulty understanding what they are reading, even though they can decipher the letters and sounds.
  • Dysgraphia , associated with writing. People with dysgraphia may have trouble writing, spelling, or writing organization.
  • Dysorphography , a spelling disorder in which a person fails to put together sounds and their corresponding patterns despite instructions.
  • Oral language disorder , where someone has trouble saying words or reading aloud despite being able to read when not speaking.

Occasionally, a child will have more than one reading disorder, or a reading disorder, as well as ADHD or another diagnosis.

Signs of impaired reading processing

It is important to note that children do not all learn the same way at the same time. If your child has difficulty reading, don’t be too quick to assume that he has a reading disorder. They may need a different approach or more time. However, some signs that your child has a reading disorder include:

  • Dirty handwriting
  • Bad spelling
  • upside down letters
  • Difficulties in learning to read or understand a language compared to peers of the same age and ability
  • Difficulty organizing or figuring out what to write
  • Lagging behind peers from year to year in reading or writing
  • Ability to read words but not understand or explain their meaning
  • Problems with pronunciation of words

While letter flipping is a normal developmental stage in learning to write, and messy handwriting can often be learned from a child, if you notice that these types of characters don’t improve with time and with the help of teachers, it might be time to seek help in assessing that. whether it is a processing violation.

How do you know if your child has a reading disorder?

Your child’s teacher may be the one to voice their concerns, or you may be the one to let them know your concerns. In any case, it is best to check the records with your school. Paulette Selman, a school psychologist who frequently tests students for information processing disorders and also works as an advocate for special education in Oregon and Washington , says the data you want to compare includes teacher reviews, grades, test scores, and how homework is done. as if your teacher is noticing any trends in your child’s skill level. “If they fall into the bottom 20% or so of the achievement level, you can start hoisting a red flag,” she says. However, you don’t need to panic; instead, “be sure and contact the teacher after a few months to see if your child has made progress compared to the rest of the children, or if he continues to hang below the average range.”

If they are still having difficulty, the next step is an assessment by the school, which will look for reading processing disorders, but also rule out working memory problems, language comprehension problems, or other causes of language problems.

If you notice problems and the school does not agree that there is a problem, or if you decide to get tested on your own, you can invite your child to see a psychologist for evaluation. If they diagnose something, you can bring that information to the school and make a plan from there.

How can the school help your child?

“Schools today have reading activities for general education kids (no IEP required) who are at the very bottom of the classroom,” says Selman. But “you’ll want to actively monitor their progress to know if additional services or training are needed to help them catch up.”

Your child may also be eligible for special education services. “It used to be thought that to be eligible for special education with a specific learning disability, some kind of processing disorder was required. This is no longer the case in most states,” Selman says.

How else can you support your child?

If you have the opportunity, it is a great idea to hire a private tutor who is experienced and trained in working with your child’s disorder and age. They can form a one-on-one relationship with your child to help meet their individual needs.

“For speech processing disorders, it may be appropriate to visit a speech therapist outside of school. Some SLPs have additional training or experience in assessing and treating reading problems – ask your community,” says Selman.

With dysgraphia, a writing disorder, an ergotherapist can help. “For visual memory or spelling, occupational therapists can teach students how to mentally associate gross motor movements with letters,” says Caitlin Sunshagreen, occupational therapist and owner of Bright SpOT Pediatric Therapy . She says OT can also help you decide which appliances are best for your child because “writing requires a lot more effort from these people as their focus is more on writing than on other learning tasks.” Since “dysgraphia also manifests itself differently in different people” and “treatment is as different as people and their age”, they will need accommodations for learning.

Selman’s warning when seeking help outside the public school system: “Beware of quackery. There are a number of companies and clinics that market treatments and drugs for various processing disorders.” She suggests parents “be sure to look for independent studies that support the company’s claims. If it’s hard to understand (and company websites can certainly make their programs amazing), ask your local school psychologist or special education teacher for their opinion and take that into account before making a big investment.”

Help identifying and treating your child’s information processing disorder now will ease stress and self-esteem issues while he navigates school. Many students with reading disabilities receive support and learn how to adjust to their disability so that they can become excellent readers and learners as they grow up.


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