How to recognise dyslexia in children?
What is Dyslexia??
Dyslexia (say: dis-lek-see-uh) is a learning problem some kids have with
reading and writing. It can make words look jumbled. This makes it difficult
for a kid to read and remember what was read.
So what's going on inside the person's brain Well, it doesn't mean the person is dumb.
In fact, some very smart people have had dyslexia.
Well, some people say Albert Einstein was dyslexic.
The problem does occur in the brain, though. Sometimes the messages the
brain is sending get jumbled up or confused. A kid who has dyslexia might
get frustrated and find it hard to do schoolwork. But the good news is that
dyslexia doesn't need to keep a kid down.
How to recognise dyslexia in children?
Reading and learning are the two things that determine the success of a
child during his school career. First he learns to read. Then he reads to
learn. Reading is therefore of paramount importance in the educational
Unfortunately poor reading skills, and therefore poor learning skills, have
become a reality for an alarming number of children. The word "dyslexia" is
often used to refer to reading problems, while the symptoms below indicate
that a child has dyslexia and therefore needs help:
First of all, it is important to exclude a range of other reasons why a
child is having great difficulty in learning to read and write. These
include poor eyesight, hearing difficulties, absence from school through ill
health, inadequate or very interrupted schooling or emotional stress at
Hearing problems are particularly important. Many young children suffer ear
infections and for a minority this is followed by a condition called glue
ear. This can significantly reduce a child's hearing ability for a time.
Researchers have found that if children suffer from this condition around
the age of two (when they are acquiring spoken language very rapidly) or
around five (when they are beginning to learn the skills needed for
reading), they are more likely to experience difficulties in learning to
read. If they are dyslexic, these difficulties will certainly compound the
Once these reasons have been ruled out, most experts would agree that there
are signs even before children start school which indicate that they might
be dyslexic. However, young children develop at different rates and it is
important to remember this and allow for normal variation.
It is useful to question whether there is a history of reading or spelling
difficulties in the family, although a family history does not mean that
every child in the family will have dyslexia.
Parents who are concerned should also be aware of other problems that may
arise. Some dyslexic children have difficulties finding the appropriate
words to express themselves and may be slow to process information. Many
such children may become isolated socially and find friendships difficult.
Other children may have motor difficulties. If they are generally clumsy or
bad at sport they are often teased and excluded from playground games.
Bullying can then be a problem.
It's always worth remembering that suitable help from a young age may
prevent children from falling behind.
Other pointers are included in the checklists below.
Experts disagree about which are the most important. However, the following
are generally accepted as causes of concern.
Pre-school. Does your child:
- have a relatively short attention span?
- find it hard to remember nursery rhymes and rhyming words, like
'cat' and 'hat'?
- find it difficult to do 'odd one out' games with words?
- show little interest in words and letters even if he or she enjoys
- mix up directional words like 'up' and 'down', 'in' and 'out'?
- have difficulty putting objects into a sequence, such as coloured
- jumble up letters or whole words in speech, such as saying 'beddy
tear' for 'teddy bear'?
- have difficulties with physical skills like catching, throwing and
kicking a ball, skipping, hopping, jumping and balancing?
At primary school.
Watch out for a child who:
- is doing much less well than expected
- has marked and persistent difficulties with reading and spelling
- enjoys the content of stories and information read to him or her,
but when attempting to read, over-uses the content to 'guess' at words
- writes letters and/or numbers the wrong way round
- takes a long time to complete any written work
- leaves letters out of words or puts them in the wrong order
- has difficulty remembering times tables or the alphabet, or putting
things like the days of the week in order
- needs to use fingers or written marks to do simple calculations
when other children are easily able to do them in their heads
- confuses left and right
- appears careless and inattentive
- has unusual difficulties in dressing or tying shoe-laces.
At secondary school. Is he or she:
- still reading unusually slowly or inaccurately?
- still having marked difficulties with spelling and legible
- confusing places, times and dates?
- needing to have instructions and telephone numbers, etc, repeated?
- finding great difficulty in planning work and writing essays?
- taking much longer than other pupils over written assignments?
- having problems with note taking?
- producing disappointing results in exams?
- working inconsistently with marked 'on' and 'off' days?