October is Dyslexia Awareness Month

  • What are the signs of Dyslexia?

    Dyslexia is a common condition that affects the way the brain processes written and spoken language. It can be associated with trouble reading, but it also can affect writing, spelling and even speaking. Many children have one or two of these issues on occasion. But kids with dyslexia have several of these issues, and they don’t go away. 

    Here are some signs to look for:

    Preschool, Kindergarten, & First Grade:

    Difficulties:

      • Difficulty learning (and remembering) the names of letters in the alphabet

      • Seems unable to recognize letters in his/her own name

      • Mispronounces familiar words; persistent “baby talk”

      • Trouble learning common nursery rhymes

      • Doesn’t recognize rhyming patterns like cat, bat, rat

      • A family history of reading and/or spelling difficulties (dyslexia often runs in families)

      • Reading errors that show no connection to the sounds of the letters on the page—will say “puppy” instead of the written word “dog” on a page with a picture of a dog

      • Does not understand that words come apart

      • Cannot sound out even simple words like cat, map, nap

    • Does not associate letters with sounds, such as the letter b with the “b” sound

    • Complains about how hard reading is; “disappears” when it is time to read

    • A history of reading problems in parents or siblings

    Strengths

    • Curiosity

    • Great imagination

    • Ability to figure things out; gets the gist of things

    • Eager embrace of new ideas

    • A good understanding of new concepts

    • Surprising maturity

    • A larger vocabulary than typical for age group

    • Enjoys solving puzzles

    • Talent for building models

    • Excellent comprehension of stories read or told to him

    Second Grade through High School:

    Reading

    • Very slow in acquiring reading skills. Reading is slow and awkward

    • Trouble reading unfamiliar words, often making wild guesses because cannot sound out the word

    • Has a tough time sounding out unfamiliar words 

    • Avoids reading out loud

    • Gets tripped up by word problems in math

     School and Life

    • Trouble remembering dates, names, telephone numbers, random lists

    • Struggles to finish tests on time

    • Extreme difficulty learning a foreign language

    • Poor spelling

    • Messy handwriting

    • Low self-esteem that may not be immediately visible

    Speaking

    • Searches for a specific word and ends up using vague language, such as “stuff” or “thing,” without naming the object

    • Pauses, hesitates, and/or uses lots of “um’s” when speaking

    • Confuses words that sound alike, such as saying “tornado” for “volcano,” substituting “lotion” for “ocean”

    • Mispronunciation of long, unfamiliar or complicated words

    • Seems to need extra time to respond to questions

    Strengths

    • Excellent thinking skills: conceptualization, reasoning, imagination, abstraction

    • Learning that is accomplished best through meaning rather than rote memorization

    • Ability to get the “big picture”

    • A high level of understanding of what is read to him/her/they

    • The ability to read and to understand at a high level overlearned (or highly practiced) words in a special area of interest

    • Improvement as an area of interest becomes more specialized and focused—and a miniature vocabulary is developed that allows for reading in that subject area

    • A surprisingly sophisticated listening vocabulary

    • Excels in areas not dependent on reading, such as math, computers and visual arts, or in more conceptual (versus fact-driven) subjects, including philosophy, biology, social studies, neuroscience and creative writing

    If you have questions or concerns regarding your child’s learning, please contact the school principal and/or literacy specialist. Another great parent resource would be to contact your school’s Student Services Parent Advisory Committee (SSPAC) representative.  Please see here to learn how to contact your school representative.