The latest studies are slowly proving that Dyslexia cannot only be managed, but can actually be entirely overcome through early childhood intervention. Schools across the country, however, are slow to do screening that can ultimately affect the 20% of Americans that have a reading disorder, according to the International Dyslexia Association in Baltimore. In almost all cases of early detection it’s a parent, not a teacher who notices a problem.
What is Dyslexia? Simply put, Dyslexia is a disorder that affects the way your child perceives reading and language. According to research, faulty wiring in the brain causes this disorder. A dyslexic person hears a word as having only one sound instead of hearing it as a combination of sounds. They hear the word car as “car” while others hear it as “c-aa-rr.” Because of this, when your child is first learning to read and trying to distinguish the sounds that letters make and combining those letters to make simple words, they’re fighting a battle that’s almost impossible for them to win alone.
How dyslexia slips by unnoticed
If your child is really struggling with schoolwork, there might be a good reason why. Many children can simply get by guessing and memorizing their way thru the first years of reading. This may work at first, but the more complex the reading; the more you and your child will begin to realize that this approach is coming to a dead end…fast. Early intervention can actually change the way your child reads and hears sounds. According to a new study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), early intervention can actually alter the pathways of the brain. Simply put, with the right professional help and at a young enough age, dyslexia can be correctable!
I Spy a Red Flag: What a problem looks like
Preschool-Age Warning Signs:
- Trouble remembering the letters of the alphabet.
- Inability to learn simple rhymes.
- Trouble remembering what word to use in a sentence.
- Mispronounces words (like busgetti for spaghetti).
- Spelling their name with the letters switched a different way every time.
Kindergarten thru Fourth Grade Warning Signs:
- Unable to associate sounds with letters.
- Skipping over and confusing small words (like at, to, and in).
- Mispronouncing long, unfamiliar words.
- Having a great fear of reading aloud.
- Confusion over right and left.
- Some write numbers or letters backwards.
- Difficulty following two or three step directions.
If your child has some or all of these reading problems it doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily dyslexic. It just means that you should keep an eye on them, learn more about the disorder by looking into our Dyslexia Resources, talk with their pediatrician, and maybe even consider getting them evaluated for dyslexia.
So Now What?
Early intervention is the key. If you feel like your child may have dyslexia, actions speak louder than words. The first step is to get your child evaluated. You can talk to your local school district about professionals in your area that offer testing or you can look into the alternative at-home testing offered by many professionals online. According to the Individuals with Disabilities Act, a public school is required to provide free testing upon a parent’s written request. Does this include homeschoolers? Considering that the private in person evaluations can cost anywhere up to $2000, I would do my best to convince your local school’s principle that it does. I had my own son tested for a learning disability at a preschool age, because at three he was not talking and was becoming more and more aggressive. I contacted my local preschool and they informed me that the school district is required to test if I feel it’s necessary and give good cause for it. I was provided with some phone numbers and before the month was done, my son was sitting in front of a group of professionals employed by the public school system. They were under the impression that my son would be attending their school for kindergarten and I never corrected the assumption.
Shoot for the Moon
No matter what challenge you and your child face, just remember to keep your head up high and lead by example. Explain dyslexia to your child and help them to understand that although they’re different, there’s nothing wrong with that. They just think differently than most people do and although there may be some drawbacks they’re also a step ahead of many people. They’re born with the natural ability to look at things in a whole new way. The possibilities and potential of their achievements is endless. Many wonderful and extremely talented people were and are dyslexic. Here is just a small example of many Famous People Born with Dyslexia:
- Leonardo DaVinci (artist, inventor)
- Sir Winston Churchill (statesman, prime minister or Britain)
- Albert Einstein (physicist, inventor)
- Thomas Edison (inventor)
- Pablo Picasso (artist)
- Charles Schwab (founder and chairman of Charles Schwab Corporation)
- Tom Cruise (actor)
- Cher (singer, actor)
- Jay Leno (comedian)