How do I know if my child has dyslexia?
Thanks to years of brain research, we now know many of the early warning signs for dyslexia. Many of these symptoms can be detected as early as preschool. You can check our Dyslexia Warning Signs Checklist below to see if your child may be dyslexic. If he or she shows 3 or more symptoms, get tested as soon as possible.
Why can’t I just take an online dyslexia test to find out?
Testing for dyslexia is not as simple as filling out a brief questionnaire, or checking off a set of personality traits. Dyslexia is pattern of neurological strengths and weaknesses that needs to be looked at using a very comprehensive set of testing tools.
A combination of standardized tests, work samples and a detailed family, educational and developmental history has to be established to help determine whether a child or teen fits the profile of a dyslexic student. Dyslexia can range from mild, to moderate, to severe, to profound.
Dyslexia Warning Signs Checklist
If someone you know has 3 or more of the following signs, he or she should be tested for dyslexia as soon as possible. Note that one of the most significant risk factors can be a close relative who has significant difficulty reading. For more information on warning signs, watch this “Could it Be Dyslexia?” video.
- delayed speech
- mixing up the sounds or syllables
- chronic ear infections
- severe reactions to childhood illnesses
- constant confusion of left versus right
- late establishing a dominant hand
- difficulty learning to tie shoes
- trouble memorizing his address, phone number, or the alphabet
- can’t create words that rhyme
In Elementary School
- Any Preschool symptom
- difficult to read handwriting
- letter or number reversals past 1st grade
- extreme difficulty learning cursive
- slow, choppy, inaccurate reading
- guesses based on shape or context, skips or misreads prepositions (at, to)
- ignores suffixes
- can’t sound out unknown words
- poor spelling
- often can’t remember sight words (they, were, does) or homonyms (their, they’re, there)
- difficulty telling time on a clock with hands
- trouble with math: memorizing multiplication tables, a sequence of steps, directionality
- extremely messy bedroom, backpack and desk
- dreads going to school, complains of stomach aches or headaches, nightmares about school
In High School
- Any Preschool or Elementary School symptom
- limited vocabulary
- extremely poor written expression
- large discrepancy between verbal and written communication
- unable to master a foreign language
- difficulty reading printed music
- poor grades in many classes
- may drop out of high school
- Any symptom from school age
- slow reader
- may have to read a page 2 of 3 times to understand it
- extremely poor spelling
- difficulty putting thoughts onto paper, dreads writing memos or letters
- still has difficulty with right versus left
- often gets lost, even in a familiar city
- sometimes confuses b and d, especially when tired or sick
Do not assume your child will grow out of it.
Dyslexia is an inherited condition that makes it extremely difficult to read, write and spell in a person’s native language despite at least average intelligence. Approximately 10-20% of the population has some form of dyslexia. Most forms are never diagnosed. Dyslexia has NOTHING to do with overall intelligence, but with the ability to process individual sounds in words.
Dyslexia comes with many challenges as well as many gifts. It is important that your child is taught in a way that plays to his or her strengths so they understand they are highly capable and talented in many areas.
- Trouble memorizing by repetition
- Poor spelling
- Confusion of right and left
- Slow, choppy and inarticulate reading
- Highly creative and artistic
- Excellent problem solvers
- Very empathetic and intuitive
- Superior visual-spacial skills
How can I help my child learn to read and write?
There is no magic pill that “cures” dyslexia. However, any child CAN learn to read and write using an Orton-Gillingham based approach. Research by the National Institutes of Health show 95% of poor readers can be brought up to grade level if they receive help as early as 1st grade. It is never too late to teach a child with reading difficulties, but the longer you wait, the harder it will be for your child to catch up. Save your child years of pain and frustration and get your child the help he needs today.