I have spent the last twenty years retraining many dyslexics who have learned to overcome their dyslexia and excel in school. During my years I have seen the confusion and the definition of the disorder clarified. Even so, many parents still struggle to understand this diagnosis and struggle even more to find the specialized training that will deliver their child from the frustration they are experiencing. Many are still confused about the term “Dyslexia” which in the 60’s and 70’s was a catch all term that few truly understood. However due to much of the new brain research we have a better definition of this diagnosis. Dyslexia means “trouble with reading” and is a neurological disability characterized by the inability to accurately and fluently recognize words, spelling mistakes, and the inability to decode a word. This inability to decode the written language hinders comprehension, growth of vocabulary, speech, writing, and memorizing sequences and random facts. Some of the characteristics of these problems are:
- Mixing up sounds in multisyllable words like helicopter, cinnamon, hospital, and spaghetti.
- Problems memorizing the days of the week, months of the year, and sequence of the alphabet.
- Difficulty remembering spelling words from one week to the next.
- The more warning signs you see, the more confidence you can have that dyslexia is a cause of their academic problems. But, cognitive skills testing is the only way to pinpoint the real underlying difficulties.
The National Institute of Health states that 1 out of every 5 people are affected with dyslexia. That is 20 percent of the entire population. They also state that only10 percent of those children with dyslexia actually qualify for special education classes to correct their reading problems leaving 9 of every 10 children to struggle with their reading, spelling and writing. This means that 90 percent of dyslexics are undiagnosed and lacking the training of their skills that would allow them to excel in school.
Many think that dyslexia cannot be diagnosed until the 3rd grade but this is not true. At the center I use cognitive testing which can accurately diagnose reading problems as early as 4 or 5 years old. If we wait until they are in 3rd grade then the child is falling further and further behind. Also, the child”s self esteem is suffering. Parents can schedule a complete cognitive skills evaluation for any of the following risk factors:
Pre-K or Kindergarten– Difficulty:
- Recognizing rhymes
- Remembering names of friends, peers, etc.
- With normal language development
- Recognizing some letter shapes
End of 1st Grade – Difficulty:
- Learning the alphabet and corresponding letter sounds
- Applying “phonics” to reading and spelling
- Spelling common sight words
- Retelling stories in sequence and making predictions
- Reading aloud with some fluency and comprehension
End of 2nd Grade – Difficulty:
- Recalling facts and details
- Using phonics to sound out words including multi-syllable words
- Correctly spelling previously studied and commonly seen words
Ages 9 and up
- Training is available to help older students overcome life-long reading difficulties. Does your older child need help?
Warnings Signs to Watch in Your Older Child:
- The mispronunciation of the names of people and places
- Struggling to retrieve the right word to express a thought
- A hesitation to say or read words aloud that might be mispronounced
- A history of reading and spelling difficulties
- A lack of fluency in reading
- Embarrassment about or not wanting to read aloud
- Spending inordinate amounts of time doing homework
- A dislike of reading
- Showing a preference for books that have fewer words per page
- Persistent spelling difficulties or selecting easy-to-spell alternatives when writing
- The substitution of made-up words during reading for words that are too difficult for the reader to pronounce
Some believe that children will outgrow their reading and spelling problems. However, scientific research shows that those children who struggle with reading, spelling, and writing in the middle of the first grade will have a 90 percent chance of struggling with the same issues in the 8th grade and into adulthood if the problem is not corrected. This means that only 10 percent outgrow their difficulties. Waiting only can make the problem worst because it only allows the child to fall further and further behind. In my practice I have found that correcting the problem as soon as possible is the best plan. Many families have done the cognitive training at 4 years of age allowing the child to correct and skip the diagnosis all together. When the symptoms are immediately corrected then the child never suffers the struggle to learn or the pain of low self-esteem that accompanies his difficulties. My young clients quickly excel and soon forgot that they ever experienced these kinds of difficulties.