Does My Child Have Dyslexia?

Part Three

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.

Also known as “dysgraphia”, people with dyslexia often struggle with legible handwriting. Symptoms of dysgraphia include:

  • Clumsy or unusual pencil grip
  • Tight pencil grip, making prolonged writing painful
  • Slow, laborious writing
  • Inefficient letter writing, with unusual starting and stopping points – making letters in a manner that doesn’t “flow.”
  • Difficulty understanding where on the lines the letters sit
  • Difficulty with spacing between letters and words
  • Copying is slow and prone to errors

Written Work
It is not surprising to understand that if handwriting is difficult, the tendency to avoid it whenever possible is paramount. As a result, people with dyslexia usually are able to development recitation verbally in much great detail than if it is written. They will avoid writing, if possible. Typically, their writing:

  • Consists of very simplistic, undeveloped ideas
  • Does not follow the conventions of writing: capital letters, ending punctuation
  • May be a sentence fragment rather than a complete sentence.
  • May be full of spelling errors
  • May be one long, run-on sentence
  • May not present sentences in a logical sequence

The next article will cover directionality issues and sequencing, both areas that are difficult for people with dyslexia.


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