Creative Child

Could Your Child’s Reading Difficulty Actually Be Dyslexia? How to Get Evaluated and Find Help

by Deborah Song

Dyslexia is learning disability in reading. Kids with dyslexia might find it challenging to read accurately and fluently. But they could also have trouble with reading comprehension, spelling and math word problems. It’s important to understand that dyslexia is not an intellectual issue. Many of the world’s most accomplished people, like Albert Einstein, have been known to have dyslexia. While the inherent cause of dyslexia is not known, it seems to be genetically linked. About 40 percent of siblings with dyslexia have the same reading issues. And as many as 49 percent of parents who have kids with dyslexia have it too.

Signs and symptoms

A key sign of dyslexia in kids is something called phonemic awareness. Many kids who become diagnosed with dyslexia have trouble matching letters to sounds, preventing them from reading fluently. While this problem can be detected as early as preschool, in other kids, dyslexia isn’t picked up until later on when they have trouble with more complex skills like grammar, reading comprehension, reading fluency, sentence structure and more in-depth writing. Here are more specific signs and symptoms broken out by grade level:

Preschool: Trouble recognizing whether two words rhyme, taking away the beginning sound from a word, learning new words, trouble recognizing letters and matching them to sounds.

Grade school: Trouble taking away the middle sound from a word or blending several sounds to make a word, can’t recognize common sight words, quickly forgets how to spell many of the words she studies, gets tripped up by word problems in math.

Middle School: Makes many spelling errors, frequently has to re-read sentences, reads at a lower academic level.

High School: Often skips over small words when reading, doesn’t read at the expected grade level, prefers multiple-choice over fill in the blank.

How to get diagnosed

The only way to know if your child has dyslexia is to have her fully evaluated, either at school or privately. While the IEP teams at schools can “identify” learning and attention issues, only doctors and clinicians can “diagnose” dyslexia and other learning disabilities.

School evaluations are free. Clinical diagnosis often requires out-of-pocket payment, although health insurance may cover some of it.

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