Does My Child Have Dyslexia?

Part Four

This is a continuation of an article. For clarity, the introductory paragraphs have been repeated here.

If you are wondering about this, you are not alone. The first time your child identifies “b” for “d”, reads “was” for “saw”, that thought usually pops into mind. This article will try to separate fact from fiction and give some solid, though initial, information about dyslexia.

First of all, there are as many different manifestations of dyslexia as there are letters in the alphabet, so no two dyslexics present the same. There are many differing degrees of severity, also. Because it is a highly individualized disorder, individual analysis needs to be sought for each person.

Simply stated, “dyslexia” means difficulty with reading, writing and spelling, with average intelligence being present.

In more depth, it is a neurologically-based, often inherited, disorder that interferes with acquiring and processing language skills. Symptoms include difficulties in receptive (understanding what is said) and expressive (ability to verbally communicate) language. It covers phonological understanding and processing and is sometimes evident in math.

Depending on the age of the child, difficulties may manifest as a struggle with accurate and quick word recognition, poor spelling and difficulty decoding words. Older students may have difficulty with reading comprehension. This often leads to the secondary issues of poor vocabulary development and the growth of necessary background knowledge to support more complex learning.

Directionality and Sequencing Issues

  • Left-Right confusion (b/d)
  • Up-Down confusion (b/p, d/q, n/u)
  • First/last, before/after, next/previous, over/under, even yesterday/tomorrow
  • North, south, east, west confusion, leading to map reading diffuculty
  • Difficulty learning tasks that have a series of steps: tying shoes (this combines both sequential steps AND directionality)
  • Printing letters is difficulty because the steps involved
  • Math: long division, two-or-three digit multiplication, fractions all involve precise steps that need to be sequentially followed to be successful
  • Telling time. They may be successful with whole and half-hour time, but not smaller time units
  • Using time usefully. Understanding that this activity takes longer than another one, not taking into account travel time, inability to understand about how long 15 minutes is.

Ability to memorize: Relying on rote memory is difficult for most people with dyslexic and may manifest as struggles with:

  • Math facts
  • Sight words
  • Days of the week or months of the year
  • Life facts: 365 days in a year, water boils at 212, the sun is 93,000, 000 miles from earth
  • History facts

Organizational issues: People with dyslexia have difficulty with organization, whether it is in their written work, or their day-to-day life. As a result, they have a tendency to have messy bedrooms, desks, backpacks, cars, offices. Calendars and planners don’t tend to help. Additionally, if an object is out of sight, they have a hard time locating it.

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