Dyslexia: Do You Know the Signs?

October is National Dyslexia Awareness Month

By Denise Stacey November 4, 2016
Every night that involved writing, spelling and reading had become a battle. We would practice spelling words every night and when Friday came, words that had been spelled correctly the night before, were spelled incorrectly on the test. Reading aloud was slow and laborious. Words that could be read fine with no problem before, now couldn't be read. Words were omitted while reading or writing. Tears, tears and more tears. This went on for months until one night...

One night she voluntarily wanted to read. So I said ok, pick a book from your shelf. She picked a book and started to read. As she struggled to get through the page while guessing at and missing words as she read, a small voice said to me, "Dyslexia". After she was done reading and I tucked her into bed for the night, I hopped onto the iPad to do some research. As I read through article after article, the small voice became louder and louder. It was telling me the answer to our months of tears, frustration and total avoidance to all things school related. 

So after a meeting with the school and finding a psychologist who specializes in academic testing, we had confirmation of what I knew in my gut: Dyslexia (or Specified Learning Disorder in Reading and Writing). The thing about Dyslexia is that it is the most common learning disability that is often missed or misdiagnosed. Most times it isn't recognized until later elementary school or beyond. 

According to The Alberta Teacher's Association, some common signs of dyslexia are:
  • Child learns best through observation, demonstrations, diagrams, hands-on or experimentation
  • Child reverses letters (b for d or q for p)
  • Child makes quick and incorrect assumptions about a word's sound
  • Child has difficulty copying words or sentences 
  • Child's handwriting varies from legible to atrocious to unreadable 
  • Child is a poor or inconsistent speller
  • Child has difficulty reading and identifying the phonetic structure of a word and guesses at how the word should sound 
  • Child avoids reading and refuses to read orally in class
Like with all diagnoses, early intervention is always best. Thanks to "Mother's Instinct" and my persistence, our daughter has the supports that she needs and we have way less tears. We still have frustrating moments, but we are learning to work with the disability so that she is successful. If you think your child may have dyslexia, check out the following websites and speak with his/her school.

Understanding Dyslexia in Children
Test for Dyslexia: 37 Common Traits
Dyslexia Awareness Month
Dyslexia: Topic Overview
American Dyslexia Association