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Children’s Dyslexia: What Parents Should Do

  • Dyslexia is a common disorder that affects reading skills.
  • There are three primary types of dyslexia: phonological, surface, and double-deficit.
  • Parents must recognize signs of dyslexia early to seek proper diagnosis and intervention.
  • With the appropriate guidance and assistance, many children with dyslexia can succeed in school and achieve great things.

Dyslexia is a common disorder, with an estimated 10-15% of people worldwide having some form of it. It is most commonly seen in children between the ages of 5 and 17, with anywhere from 5-20% of students in that age range being identified as dyslexic. Dyslexia can be classified into three primary types.

Phonological dyslexia is the most common type, involving difficulty recognizing and manipulating the sounds within words. On the other hand, surface dyslexia occurs when reading becomes difficult due to an inability to identify words by their look or written form alone. Both phonological and surface dyslexia, unfortunately, can manifest. This condition is called double-deficit dyslexia.

Parents must recognize these signs early to help their child receive proper diagnosis and intervention. With appropriate guidance, support, and intervention strategies, many children with dyslexia can learn to become successful readers despite their disorder. Here are a few tips to help parents assist children with dyslexia.

Watch Out for Signs

It can be difficult for parents to check for dyslexia in their children as dyslexia is not a one-size-fits-all disorder. Every child is different and may manifest symptoms differently, meaning diagnosing can take time and effort. Even certified doctors will have difficulties at first. However, there are a few symptoms dyslexic people share that can help parents look out for signs.

These include the following:

Difficulty pronouncing words correctly

Parents must take notice if their child struggles to pronounce words correctly or has difficulty recognizing or recalling the correct spelling of terms they already know how to say.

The trouble with word recall

If your child often has trouble retrieving a specific word when speaking and can’t seem to find it even though they understand what it means, this could indicate dyslexia.

Reading comprehension issues

Dyslexic children may have difficulty fully understanding the written text they are reading due to poor fluency and word decoding skills. They usually need more time than average readers to make sense of complex texts.

Short-term memory problems

Dyslexic children often have difficulty retaining information in their short-term memory, which can cause issues with learning new words and concepts.

Difficulty organizing thoughts and sequencing events

Dyslexic children typically have difficulty organizing their thoughts and sequencing activities. They might also have trouble with cognitive tasks such as problem-solving, following directions, and understanding abstract concepts.

Those symptoms do not automatically mean your child has dyslexia. However, the likelihood should concern you, making it necessary to record evidence and bring your child to the doctor.

Receive Professional Diagnosis

Diagnosing kid with dyslexia

Once you’ve noticed the above signs in your child, it is essential to seek professional help. A certified psychologist or another qualified professional should be able to assess your child’s reading and writing skills as well as conduct other tests that measure memory, language processing speed, and more. This diagnosis will clarify what areas need to be addressed for your child to overcome dyslexia.

Psychologists will perform more tests to determine the type of dyslexia and verify whether it is mild, moderate, or severe. With this information, parents can create an intervention plan that best suits their child’s needs.

Pursue Intervention Strategies

Parent helping child with dyslexia learn

The best way to help a child with dyslexia is to intervene early and provide them with the tools and resources they need to overcome their disability. Once you’ve received your child’s diagnosis, it is essential to seek intervention strategies that focus on strengthening weak areas.

Some interventions that work for children with dyslexia include:

  • Multi-sensory instruction – This approach uses all learning channels, such as auditory, visual, tactile, and more. It helps strengthen phonemic awareness, which is essential in developing reading and writing skills.
  • Structured literacy instruction – This instruction focuses on teaching students the language structure to better comprehend written words by breaking down syllables or letter groups.
  • Compensatory instruction – Compensatory instruction involves helping children use alternative strategies to compensate for their learning challenges and show academic progress even when they struggle with reading or writing.

Parents must take the initiative to seek early help so their child can receive the proper intervention needed to succeed in school and beyond. You can also pursue reliable treatment for visual processing disorder, which may be a comorbidity of dyslexia.

Stay Involved and Encouraged

Parents must stay involved throughout their child’s treatment process, providing the necessary support and encouragement to help them cope with any challenges they face. Parents should have open conversations about the disorder and allow their kids to express themselves freely without judgment or criticism.

It is also beneficial for parents to take an active role in learning more about dyslexia and other reading disabilities such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and autism spectrum disorder. Understanding these disorders will help you know your child better and ensure they receive the best possible care.

Final Thoughts

Having a child with dyslexia can be challenging, but it is also an opportunity to teach them resilience and the importance of pushing through difficult times. Parents must ensure their children receive the help they need to improve their literacy skills and reach their full potential. With the proper guidance and assistance, many dyslexic kids can succeed in school and achieve great things.

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