There are many myths regarding development conditions like dyslexia and ADHD. When it comes to dyslexia, many people believe that it’s just mixing up letters when spelling. But dyslexia is much more complex than that.
Left untreated, dyslexia can profoundly affect your child’s success in school.
Dr. Eiman ElSayed and our team at Pediatric Care of Four Corners understand that early intervention is important. We also understand the complexities of developmental disorders and the many myths surrounding dyslexia.
In an effort to debunk the common myths, spread awareness about dyslexia, and highlight the importance of early intervention, we created this guide to highlight the various (and sometimes surprising) signs of dyslexia.
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects reading and reading comprehension. It can affect both children and adults, and it’s characterized by difficulty breaking words into separate sounds.
Dyslexia has nothing to do with intelligence. Having dyslexia doesn’t mean your child has a lower IQ. Rather, dyslexia is a neurobiological disorder. This means that the part of the brain that is involved with reading and processing is wired differently.
The good news is that with intervention, your child can learn skills and strategies to overcome reading struggles. Intervention can help your child succeed in school, boost their confidence, and help instill confidence with reading.
How do you know if your child has dyslexia?
While dyslexia is a neurobiological disorder, there isn’t a blood test or imaging scan that diagnoses dyslexia. Instead, dyslexia is confirmed through a series of reading tests and a thorough review of your child’s symptoms
Note that symptoms vary tremendously by age, but we cover symptoms and signs in the next section.
Common signs of dyslexia
Here we explore the most common signs of dyslexia, categorized by age. Remember, though, that all children develop on their own timeline. If you have concerns about your child’s development, don’t hesitate to address it during your appointment.
Preschool age and younger
You might suspect that your toddler or preschool-aged child has dyslexia if they:
- Have trouble remembering the alphabet
- Struggle to memorize nursery rhymes or singalongs
- Can’t recognize their own name
- Have problems learning colors
Children who don’t speak until 15 months old (or say full phrases by 24 months) may be at higher risk of having dyslexia. These milestones are always checked during well-checks.
Early elementary school
Once a child enters school, you might see more of the more common signs of dyslexia, such as:
- Not correlating sounds to letters (i.e. “d” makes the “duh” sound)
- Difficulty learning to read
- Difficulty sounding out common sight words like cat, sat, or and
- Difficulty spelling
Children with learning disabilities may complain about going to school, or they may say school is hard.
Second grade and up
Once your child learns to read, they may still demonstrate difficulties reading. The common signs of dyslexia in older elementary children include:
- Being a slow reader
- Avoiding reading out loud
- Struggling to sound out new words when reading
- Using “umm,” “things,” and “stuff” in conversations
- Doing math well but struggling with word problems
- Demonstrating poor spelling
- Having sloppy handwriting
Children may also demonstrate difficulty remembering facts (like names or numerical sequences), but have no problems with remembering experiences, faces, and even locations.
Regardless of age, children may also have headaches or nausea when reading, test well orally but struggle with written tests, and have trouble with telling time. Children with dyslexia may be prone to bedwetting even beyond the typical age range for bedwetting.
What to do if you suspect your child has dyslexia
First, remember that there’s nothing you did to cause dyslexia. But you can set your child up for success with early intervention. Early intervention and specific educational strategies can help your child master reading.
Treatment is designed to help your child master phonics, improve reading fluency, improve reading comprehension, and build a strong vocabulary.
If you have concerns about dyslexia or other developmental disorders, request an appointment with Dr. ElSayed by calling us at our Davensport, Florida, office. Or you can request an appointment here via our website.