So, what is dyslexia? “Dys” means difficulty and “lexia” means “with words.” A child with dyslexia has difficulty reading words accurately and fluently.
But it also can create difficulty with other skills including reading comprehension, spelling, math and writing.
Raising a child with dyslexia is, at times, an overwhelming life-long journey. As you travel through life with a child with dyslexia, your heart breaks because learning to read, spell and write are so difficult. As a parent, you often feel alone because of those who just don’t understand how hard your daughter or son must work just to read a list of 10 words.
10 Signs that may suggest your child has dyslexia:
- Difficulty producing speech sounds as a preschooler and throughout early grades.
- Trouble with rhyming and may mis-sequence syllables when speaking (i.e., cakecup for cupcake).
- Difficulty recalling names and sounds of letters and learning phonics.
- Avoids reading activities.
- Poor spelling and writing skills.
- Can’t recall words even with practice.
- Slow laborious reading and inaccurate reading of real words.
- Overwhelmed by multiple tasks.
- Can’t work fast enough to keep up with the pace in the classroom.
- May show frustration with school or become the class clown to avoid others finding out he/she cannot read well.
5 things I wish others knew about my child who has Dyslexia:
- My child is just as bright as others; having dyslexia has nothing to do with a person’s intelligence.
- Dyslexia is not a visual problem. It is a myth that individuals with dyslexia see letters backwards. Reversing letters is common in children until age 7.
- My child is not lazy; he must work twice as hard as others to accomplish the same tasks.
- Just because my child struggles with reading, it doesn’t mean he isn’t capable in other areas, such as sports, art or math.
- Don’t tell me that my child will grow out of it or that he is a late bloomer. Early intervention for dyslexia is crucial.
7 Tips to help your child:
- Get a formal evaluation that will identify your child’s learning difference.
- At home, use multi-sensory activities (using multiple senses) to practice learning letter names, sounds
and spelling. This could include writing in sand or shaving cream; the website www.understood.com has many suggestions.
- Play with sounds by swapping out sounds in words. For example, “Say sand, now say sand again without the /s/.
- Continue to read stories again and again.
- When reading with your child, point out how there are spaces between words and point out written words and letters in the world (i.e., signs on road and in grocery).
- Select books for your child to read that are at the right reading level. You can use the five-finger rule. Open to the middle of the book and have him/her read a page of about 100 words. If he misses five or more words, the book is too difficult for him/her to read alone.
- Use Assistive Technology, such as Learning Ally or Audible, which offers many recorded books so your child can continue to enjoy grade-level text; text to speech apps; and apps such as PRIZMO GO to take a picture of text and then have it read it back to you.
- Because learning to read is a complex process, there is no magic pill or quick x. Sometimes, it may take years for a student with dyslexia to learn to read. However, we do know that a student can improve reading skills with the right intervention that is sustained over a sufficient time period.
(By Dr. Jane Hannah, Assistant Head of School for Academics and Programs.)