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Signs & Symptoms of Dyslexia

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Dyslexia—also referred to as language-learning disabilities or reading disabilities—accounts for approximately 80% of all diagnosed learning disabilities. Although some children with dyslexia have difficulty acquiring spoken language, more often the problem is in learning to read, write, spell or do math. Dyslexia is in part the result of inefficient phonological processing—the ability to sort out, analyze, and sequence sounds heard in spoken language.

 

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Is this your child?

  • 5-year-old Jamie has difficulty rhyming, repeating words with more than one syllable, and remembering the names of the letters of the alphabet.
  • 7-year-old Kristen has difficulty applying the sound-symbol associations to decode (sound out) words.
  • 10-year-old Sarah has wonderful comprehension when she’s read to but can’t understand what she reads herself because she’s struggling to identify words.
  • 11-year-old Juan is extremely articulate but he has trouble organizing his thoughts when he writes and expressing himself on paper.
  • 12-year-old Michael is a decent reader, but he’ll only read if forced to and his spelling is terrible.
  • 13-year-old Ahmed also reads well enough, but for years he has struggled in math.
 
     

 

People with dyslexia may also have problems with recalling specific words and word sequences (days of the week, months of the year, etc), organizing thoughts, memorizing information, understanding intended (rather than literal) meaning, and reversing letters and numbers.

 

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Strengths

Dyslexia is frequently accompanied by significant strengths in reasoning and problem-solving skills, as well as visual-spatial and motor skills necessary to excel in the fine arts, performing arts and athletics, engineering and science.

 
     

 

Suspect a language-learning disability if your child has difficulty in several of these areas over time:

Preschool

  • Learning numbers or the alphabet
  • Rhyming words
  • Remembering colors

Elementary

  • Sounding out words
  • Persistent reading or spelling errors
  • Reversing numbers or letters
  • Remembering facts (including math facts)
  • Misunderstanding arithmetic signs

Middle School

  • Reading comprehension
  • Written expression or spelling
  • Understanding word problems
  • Organizing, planning or managing time
  • Completing or handing in assignments
  • Concentrating or paying attention

High School

  • Reading fluency and comprehension
  • Organizing and expanding ideas in written expression
  • Remembering and retrieving detailed information
  • Comprehending more complex information

See also . . .

Evaluating Your Child for Dyslexia

Addressing Reading Issues: MSL Basics

Dyslexia: The Importance of Early Intervention

Help for an Older Child with Reading Problems

Treating Dyslexia

Does Your School Reading Program Make the Grade?

12 Ways to Help Preschoolers Develop Literacy Skills

Developing Literacy Skills in Young Readers

High-Tech Help for Reading and Writing