How to recognise possible Dyslexia in children

How to recognise possible Dyslexia in children

Cathy Moore – ECD Coordinator May 2021 

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects 15 to 20 percent of the population, both children and adults. Its symptoms are different with age and severity. Generally, people with dyslexia have difficulty breaking down words into simple sounds. They often struggle to learn how sounds relate to written letters and words which leads to slow reading and trouble comprehending. Dyslexia is referred to as a reading disability, raising its head when reading issues become apparent. Dyslexia can go undiagnosed for years.

Dyslexia is not connected with IQ. It is a neurobiological disorder that affects the part of your brain that involves language processing. Dyslexia cannot be diagnosed with a blood test or brain scan Educational phycologists usually diagnose dyslexia using a series of diagnostic tests along with symptoms reported by parents or teachers.

The earliest signs of dyslexia emerge around 1 to 2 years of age when children learn to make sounds. Children who don’t say their first words before the age of 15 months of age or their first phrase until 2 years of age should be watched for speech delays. Not all people with speech delays have dyslexia and not all people with dyslexia have speech delays.

Other dyslexia warning signs to watch for before the age of 5 could include:

• Having problems learning and remembering the names and sounds of letters.

• Having problems remembering nursery rhymes.

• Not being able to recognise the letters in their own names.

• Using baby talk and mispronouncing familiar words, i.e., busgetti for spaghetti.

• Being unable to recognise rhyming patterns.

• May have trouble with learning the alphabet, numbers, colours and shapes.

• May have trouble interacting with their peers.

• Unable to follow multi-step directions or routines.

• Have difficulties with sequencing.

Around the age of 5 and 6, when children begin with focused reading readiness, dyslexia symptoms become more apparent.

Children often battle with skills that they need. These skills include:

• Decoding simple words.

• Slow to learn the connection between letters and sounds.

• May reverse letters.

• May confuse arithmetic signs.

• Slow to remember facts and learn new words.

• Could be impulsive and accident prone.

• May have poor fine motor coordination.

• Complaining about how difficult the work is.

• Emotional issues and not wanting to go to school.

• Showing problems with speaking and pronunciation.

• Using a lot of ‘umms’ in conversation.

• Sounding out phonetical words.
For children with problems, early intervention is essential.

“If the persistent achievement gap between dyslexic and typical readers is to be narrowed, or even closed, reading interventions must be implemented early, when children are still developing the basic foundation for reading acquisition,” said Emilio Ferrer, a UC Davis psychology professor.

The best practice for teaching children with dyslexia, is to use a multisensory approach, combining auditory, visual, and tactile learning strategies to teach skills and strategies.