Signs of Dyslexia

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*Intelligent but has problems with reading, Writing or spelling
*Intelligent but does not test well or has severe anxiety about testing
*Seems to daydream or zone out in the classroom or meeting scenario
*Learns best by “hands on” training rather than verbal or written instruction
*See movement of letters on page whether reading or writing
*Reads and rereads without much comprehension
*Has difficulty with spelling
*Has challenges putting thoughts into words
*Difficulty with writing or copying
*Tends to hold pen or pencil different and very tightly
*Handwriting is hard to read
*Has difficulty with large or fine motor skills
*Has difficulty reading time on a traditional clock
*Has time management problems
*Tends to be a procrastinator
*Tends to be good at math calculations but word problems are very difficult
*Tends to be disorderly or extremely orderly

SIGNS NOT “SYMPTOMS” OF DYSLEXIA

Research studies have proven that environment can either exacerbate or mitigate a genetic predisposition for disease.  This is also true for dyslexia and most learning disabilities.

Although genetics play a role in how we process information, multisensory, structured, explicit reading instruction can minimize the effects of a genetic predisposition for dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities.  Just like proper immune function can prevent the development of disease, the right instruction can immunize students from reading failure.  Even though dyslexia cannot be “cured,” a structured literacy approach from the start can allow students with this genetic influence to learn how to read, write, and spell adequately.

When parents ask me whether or not I think their child is dyslexic, I can’t help but think of the immune system analogy.  Are there red flags that point to a language-based disability? Yes. Do I think the child might have fallen through the cracks because the reading instruction offered has not matched how their child learns? Yes.

Environment plays a major role in learning outcomes.  If we can recognize and attack the problem early while building up the prerequisite skills for reading and spelling, such as phonemic awareness (identifying and manipulating individual sounds in language) and alphabet recognition, we can stop a growth in its tracks. Ignoring scientific research about how the brain learns to read is educational malpractice.

Faith Borkowsky, Owner and Lead Educational Consultant of High Five Literacy and Academic Coaching, is a Certified Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner, is Orton-Gillingham trained, and has extensive training and experience in a number of other research-based, peer-reviewed programs that have produced positive gains for students with dyslexia/auditory processing issues.