Dyslexia is a very common learning disorder that affects 1 out of 10 people – almost 780 million people worldwide have dyslexia. Affecting reading skills, dyslexia can be challenging for children starting at an early age. However, early detection and intervention can make a significant difference. This is why learning how to recognize common symptoms of dyslexia is important for teachers and parents alike. Here’s what to look out for.
1. Struggles with Rhyming
For young children with dyslexia, learning nursery rhymes and identifying the rhyming patterns in words can be challenging. This difficulty goes beyond just memory; recognizing and predicting sound patterns is crucial in learning to read.
2. Difficulty Learning New Words
Another common telltale of dyslexia is difficulty remembering and using new words. This struggle can manifest in many ways, including frequently forgetting common words they’ve just learned or having trouble using new words when talking. This difficulty directly impacts children’s reading progress and affects their ability to express themselves.
3. Trouble Recognizing Letters and Matching Them to Sounds
In the early stages of learning to read, children with dyslexia often have difficulty recognizing letters of the alphabet and associating them with their corresponding sounds. This struggle can make the process of decoding words incredibly challenging, leading to frustration and avoidance of reading activities.
4. Difficulty with Reading and Understanding Words
As children start to read, dyslexia may cause them to read slowly, stumble over unfamiliar words, or avoid reading altogether. They might also need help understanding what they’ve read, even if they can pronounce the words correctly. This struggle often stems from the difficulty of phonological processing, an essential aspect of reading.
5. Struggles with Spelling and Writing
Dyslexia can make spelling and writing a daunting task. Children may frequently misspell words, even familiar ones, or write letters or words backward. Their writing might appear disorganized, and they may need help getting their thoughts down on paper, which can affect their ability to express themselves effectively.
6. Problems with Reading Comprehension
Reading comprehension can be a significant hurdle for children with dyslexia. They might need help to follow a story or understand complex sentences, even when they can read the words. This difficulty often results from the extra effort they put into reading the words, leaving less cognitive capacity for understanding the content.
7. Difficulty with Math Problems
While dyslexia primarily affects reading and writing, it can also impact a child’s understanding of math problems. They may find word problems challenging or have difficulty remembering math formulas or sequences. This struggle is often due to the language-based aspects of math problems.
8. Difficulty with Note-Taking
As students progress in their academic journey, dyslexia can make note-taking a significant challenge. They might need help copying information from the board or organizing notes effectively. This difficulty can affect their ability to study and retain information, impacting their academic performance.
What to Do If You Notice These Signs
If you notice any of these signs in your child or student, it’s important to take action. Here are some steps you can take:
- Open Communication: Start by having an open and supportive conversation with the child about the difficulties they’re experiencing. This conversation can help them feel understood and less alone in their struggles.
- Seek Professional Help: Reach out to a professional specializing in learning disorders for an evaluation. This could be a school psychologist, a private psychologist, or a learning specialist. They can provide a formal diagnosis and recommend a course of action.
- Collaborate with School: If you’re a parent, communicate your concerns with your child’s teachers and school administrators. If you’re a teacher, discuss your observations with the school’s special education team. Schools often have resources and accommodations that can support students with dyslexia.
- Create a Supportive Learning Environment: Provide a quiet, distraction-free space for homework and studying at home. Consider accommodations like extra time on tests or using assistive technology at school.
- Explore Tutoring and Therapeutic Options: Specialized tutoring or therapy focusing on improving reading and writing skills can be incredibly beneficial for children with dyslexia. At The Learning Lab, we offer programs to help these children. Our approach is tailored to each child’s unique needs, helping them build on their strengths, boost their confidence, and develop effective strategies for overcoming challenges.
Students with dyslexia can benefit from accommodations such as extra time on tests, assistive technology like text-to-speech tools, and modified assignments that reduce the amount of reading and writing required. Providing clear, written instructions and using multi-sensory teaching methods can also be helpful.
Remember, dyslexia is a lifelong condition, but with the right support, children with dyslexia can become successful students. At The Learning Lab, we work closely with students to identify the most effective accommodations for their unique needs.