The level of dyslexia from person to person ranges from mild to profound, and some dyslexics may also suffer from associated ailments including Attention Deficit Disorder and others. Also not every dyslexic displays all the following symptoms, instead professional testers usually look for clusters of symptoms when making their diagnosis.

If you suspect you, your child, or someone you know may be suffering from dyslexia, the first step is to have them visit a professional dyslexia tester. For more information regarding testers and where to find them, please contact the KC Dyslexic Learning Centre. Also the Bright Solutions organization offers a video that explains dyslexia, and it may be viewed on-line by clicking this link: www.dys-add.com/video/WhatIsDyslexia.mov

If your child or someone you know has three of more of the following warning signs, and has difficulty reading, please encourage that child´s parents or person to learn more about dyslexia.

Signs of Dyslexia in Pre-School and Kindergarten Children

  • Delayed speech (not speaking any words by the child's first birthday. Often, they don't start talking until they are two, two-and-a-half, three, or even older);
  • Mixing up sounds in multi-syllabic words (ex: aminal for animal, bisghetti for spaghetti, hekalopter for helicopter, hangaberg for hamburger, mazageen for magazine, etc.);
  • Early stuttering or cluttering;
  • Lots of ear infections;
  • Can't master tying shoes;
  • Confusion over left versus right, over versus under, before versus after, and other directionality words and concepts;
  • Late to establish a dominant hand-may switch from right hand to left hand while coloring, writing, or doing any other task. Eventually, the child will usually establish a preferred hand, but it may not be until they are 7 or 8. Even then, they may use one hand for writing, but the other hand for sports;
  • Inability to correctly complete phonemic awareness tasks;
  • Despite listening to stories that contain lots of rhyming words - such as Dr. Seuss – cannot recite words that rhyme with cat or seat by the age of four-and-a-half;
  • Difficulty learning the names of the letters or sounds in the alphabet;
  • Difficulty writing the alphabet in order;
  • Trouble correctly articulating R's and L's as well as M's and N's. They often have "immature" speech, saying "wed and gween" instead of "red and green" in second or third grade;

Reading and Spelling

People with dyslexia do not make random reading errors, instead, they make very specific types of errors, and their spelling reflects the same type of errors. Look for the following indicators.

Reading

  • Ability to read a word on one page, but won't recognize it on the next page;
  • The subject knows phonics, but can't — or won't — sound out an unknown word;
  • Slow, labored, inaccurate reading of single words in isolation (when there is no story line or pictures to provide clues);
  • When they misread, they often say a word that has the same first and last letters, and the same shape, such as form-from or trial-trail;
  • They may insert or leave out letters, such as could-cold or star-stair;
  • They may say a word that has the same letters, but in a different sequence, such as who-how, lots-lost, saw-was, or girl-grill;
  • When reading aloud, reads in a slow, choppy cadence (not in smooth phrases), and often ignores punctuation;
  • Becomes visibly tired after reading for only a short time;
  • Reading comprehension may be low due to spending so much energy trying to figure out the words. Listening comprehension is usually significantly higher than reading comprehension.
  • Directionality confusion shows up when reading and when writing: b-d confusion is a classic warning sign. One points to the left, the other points to the right, and they are left-right confused;
  • b-p, n-u, or m-w confusion. One points up, the other points down. That's also directionality confusion;
  • Substitutes similar-looking words, even if it changes the meaning of the sentence, such as sunrise for surprise, house for horse, while for white, wanting for walking;
  • When reading a story or a sentence, substitutes a word that means the same thing but doesn't look at all similar, such as trip for journey, fast for speed, or cry for weep;
  • Misreads, omits, or even adds small function words, such as an, a, from, the, to, were, are, of;
  • Omits or changes suffixes, saying need for needed, talks for talking, or late for lately;

Spelling

  • Their spelling is far worse than their reading. They sometimes flunk inventive spelling. They have extreme difficulty with vowel sounds, and often leave them out;
  • With enormous effort, they may be able to "memorize" Monday's spelling list long enough to pass Friday's spelling test, but they can't spell those very same words two hours later when writing t those words in sentences;
  • Continually misspells high frequency sight words (non-phonetic but very common words) such as they, what, where, does and because — despite extensive practice;
  • Misspells even when copying something from the board or from a book;
  • Written work shows signs of spelling uncertainty — numerous erasures, cross outs, etc.;

A very comprehensive list of the signs of dyslexia is available at Bright Solutions for Dyslexia, LLC

Excerpts used with permission from Susan Barton on behalf of Bright Solutions for Dyslexia, LLC.

Dyslexia Quick Facts

  • Researchers have found three genes that are associated with dyslexia;
  • Dyslexia does not favour any gender, race, intellectual or economic group;
  • Dyslexia is treatable;
  • People with dyslexia are not stupid or lazy, in fact many brilliant and prolific people including Mozart, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, W.B. Yeats, Winston Churchill and many, many others had dyslexia;
  • Brain scans show that people with dyslexia have a much lower level of activity in areas at the back of the brain thought to be responsible for quickly matching words, sounds and meaning, compared to normal readers;
  • Effective tests exist to detect dyslexia and effective learning methods are available to mitigate dyslexia´s effects;
  • Forcing children to read more does not cure dyslexia;
  • Many famous and successful people lead productive lives in spite of their dyslexia, including Tom Cruise, Cher, Danny Glover, Magic Johnson, and Whoopi Goldberg;
  • Dyslexia is not self-correcting and children do not "grow out of the condition";
  • Dyslexia often has very negative impacts on the sufferer´s self-esteem, and on the way people perceive that person´s abilities. In many ways dyslexics are discriminated against due to ignorance or misunderstanding;
  • Dyslexia is a language-based, cognitive disorder;
  • Children as young as five-years-old can be accurately tested for dyslexia;

Sources

  • International Dyslexia Association

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