During the years of learning to read and write, it is common for kids to mix-up new words and letters. Young minds routinely twist a “b” into a “d” or a “g” into a “q”—it's a natural part of the learning process. But when could these innocent slip-ups signal a deeper issue, like dyslexia?
According to the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), 1 in 10 people show symptoms of this learning disability. Signs such as slow or inaccurate reading, poor spelling, difficulty writing and mixing up similar words can be common in tired, overworked adults, but what about our children? Here are some red flags that could signal your child is struggling.
- Difficulty learning to speak. The occasional swap of “aminal” for “animal” may sound cute, but consistent trouble communicating, after repeated practice, could signal a problem.
- Trouble learning letters and their sounds. Phonemic issues, or having trouble associating words with the sounds they make, is one of the most common indications of dyslexia.
- Difficulty organizing written and spoken language. Words and letters are often jumbled in the minds of dyslexic children, making it much harder to read and write.
- Trouble memorizing number facts. Phone numbers and addresses can be tricky to learn at first, but if repeated practice doesn't make the numbers stick, it could indicate a disability.
- Difficulty reading quickly enough to comprehend. If your little reader is reading too slowly to understand the material, that is a red flag.
- Trouble persisting with and comprehending longer reading assignments. Understanding what you read is crucial to classroom success, and a disability may be keeping your child from getting the information he needs.
- Difficulty spelling. Since dyslexic kids frequently confuse the letters in a word, such as reading “own” as “won,” they will have much more trouble spelling than their peers unaffected by the disability.
- Trouble learning a foreign language. It is much easier for a child to pick up the fundamentals of a new language, so if your little one struggles to become bilingual, it may be a sign of a deeper problem.
- Difficulty correctly doing math operations. Issues remembering basic number facts and sequences—referred to as dyscalculia—is sometimes brushed aside as common forgetfulness.
Not all children who suffer from these issues on occasion are dyslexic, but if your child is plagued by any of these problems, he should be tested for the condition. Reading, language, and writing tests, administered by a professional, is the only way to confirm a dyslexic diagnosis—and let you know it's time to work on solutions that will ease his frustration.