Dyslexia affects an estimated 15-20% of people, to differing degrees, and is a learning disorder which is categorised by a difficulty with reading and spelling. Individuals, undiagnosed but suffering from dyslexia, generally struggle with a conflict between their actual ability and how much they achieve; they do learn, but the way in which their brains process information is different to the majority of people.
Often a person with dyslexia may have trouble pronouncing words correctly or breaking down sounds, either written or spoken. In essence, people with dyslexia generally struggle to convert their thoughts into logical language or vice versa. Unfortunately, in some cases this can lead to a sufferer being considered to be lacking in intelligence, which is far from the case.
Far too often children with dyslexia go undiagnosed which means that they will struggle throughout their education, employment and even their private life. Fortunately, there are clues which you can look for if you suspect there is a problem. Having that crucial diagnosis will help to get your child the help they need to find ways to circumnavigate the problem.
As with any indicators, not every dyslexic individual will have them all. In fact, most will only have perhaps a couple. Each person will experience dyslexia in a different way, but knowing the signs to look out for is paramount:
In younger children (Pre-school age)
- Apparent difficulties in talking and understanding.
- Delayed speech
- Difficulty pronouncing words
- Difficulty breaking words down into individual sounds
- Struggling to remember nursery rhymes and any rhyming sequences
- Slow build-up of their vocabulary
- Slow to recall simple sounds.
- Difficulty recognising letters, colours or numbers
- Not recognising their own name
- Difficulty remembering the content from an often watched favourite film
- Delay in development of fine motor skills – holding and using a pencil, spoon or any other item
- Inability to dance/move to a musical rhythm
In older children (school age)
- Transposes letters within words when writing/speaking*
- Obvious difficulty learning to read
- Confusion or inappropriate use of small words – to, at, an,
- Difficulty recalling sequences of commands
- Difficulty putting thoughts into words
- Wrong words or similar words substituted
- Trouble with writing or copying
- Postponing reading and writing tasks
Emotional or behavioural signs to look for
- A child expresses extreme frustration when trying to express themselves
- Experiences anxiety or low self-esteem
- Becomes withdrawn or depressed
- Pretending to be ill to get out of reading out loud
- Embarrassment when trying to explain their thoughts
The sooner we are able to recognise any signs the sooner the problem can be addressed. By knowing and understanding what the possible symptoms or signs of dyslexia are, we become more adept at recognising them. Once a diagnosis is achieved there is the opportunity to form a cohesive plan which can play to the strengths of the individual and help them to find fulfilment and achievement, utilising the appropriate learning methods.
Obviously, there are inherent difficulties which come with having dyslexia but these should never blight a young person’s life. Obtaining an early diagnosis can make all the difference to a child’s frustration and, critically, to their long-term confidence.
*Please note that not all writing errors are indicative of dyslexia in very young children. Many youngsters reverse their letters and numbers as they are just learning to write. However, this can be a sign of dyslexia in older children and if the reversal of letters and numbers in writing persists, it is a good idea for your child to be tested for dyslexia.