Dyslexia in Children
Dyslexia in children is a relatively common learning disorder that makes it hard to read and understand written language. Dyslexia is classified as a condition that someone is born with, not a disease. Dyslexia and intelligence are not related, as those affected by this condition have a reading impairment. However, children with dyslexia have an IQ that is comparable to their peers.
Dyslexia is prevalent, affecting 20% of children. However, many of these children are undiagnosed or assumed to have low intelligence. Males have dyslexia at a higher rate than females, although many incorrectly believe dyslexia affects both sexes equally. Additionally, dyslexia affects the brains of males and females differently, as seen through MRI scans.
In short, dyslexia is a condition that makes it harder to read and understand written language. However, motivated individuals who are willing to push through can achieve what they desire in life. Several successful people have dyslexia, most notably Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Richard Branson and Jay Leno.
Signs of Dyslexia in Children
Parents often notice signs of dyslexia in children at a young age. Late talking is the first sign of dyslexia in children. In many cases, young children cannot learn basic rhymes and have a hard time learning new words. These children often have a delay in their speech and they cannot follow basic directions. Additionally, many dyslexic children aren’t able to tell the difference between left and right.
Children with dyslexia can remain on par with their peers in the first couple of grades before the curriculum focuses on writing and reading. If a child has difficulties reading and writing, get them tested for dyslexia to rule that out before anything else.
Dyslexic children are often unable to sound out new words. Many times, dyslexic children reverse the word order or number order and say it backward. Dyslexic children struggle with taking notes and copying down words from the board. Dyslexic children often go out of their way to avoid being called on in class if asked to read a passage to avoid embarrassment.
In many cases, children who are dyslexic spell out words phonetically instead of their correct spelling. Even common words are difficult to spell when suffering from dyslexia. Children with dyslexia memorize commonly used words but struggle to pronounce and write any new words they haven’t seen before.
Parents may notice that their child has dyslexia when they cannot learn the rules of simple games. For example, if a child is unable to pick up the rules to basic card games or board games, dyslexia may be to blame. In addition, telling time is often a difficult task for children with dyslexia, and learning any new language may be frustrating for them.
Dealing with dyslexia during childhood is a stressful experience, causing many children to become irritated and emotional. If a child avoids social interactions from friends and family, they may be looking to shut themselves into their world to avoid the embarrassment associated with dyslexia.
Evaluating a Child for Dyslexia
Parents often intuitively know that their child suffers from a learning disorder at a young age and search for a medical diagnosis. But, according to Dr. Matthew Krunker, Director of the Learning and Development Center at the Child Mind Institute, waiting until a child has begun reading is the best time to receive a professional analysis.
Reading Programs for Dyslexic Children
There are five notable reading programs for dyslexic children. These include RAVE-O, The Wilson Method, The Lindamood-Bell Program, Preventing Academic Failure and The Orton-Gillingham Approach. The key with any of these programs is to work with them often to help a child with dyslexia become better adjusted to written language.
There are potential changes in classroom management that may help dyslexic children. For example, simply giving children extra time to work on their homework or a test can assist dyslexic children. Other options include stopping forced out loud reading, mandatory foreign language classes and reducing written assignments. Instead, focus more on verbal communication. Additionally, audiobooks are a better way for dyslexic children to learn.
Parents who notice that their child learned to talk at a later age and struggle with the written language may want to get them tested for dyslexia. Dyslexia in children is quite common, as it affects 20% of the population. Unfortunately, even though it is common, it is still misunderstood and often misdiagnosed. The good news is that there are reading programs available to help dyslexic children improve their written language recognition.