2013-05-17 / Schools

How to recognize dyslexia early

One in five people in the U.S. has some sort of learning disability like dyslexia, yet experts say that for many children, the problem remains undiagnosed longer than it should.

Recognizing the early signals of such learning differences can be important for a child’s success in school and life.

Pediatric neuropsychologist Nichole Dawson, PhD, has a son with dyslexia, and has teamed up with Learning Ally, a national nonprofit, to inform the public about dyslexia’s early warning signs and to advise parents on what to look for.

Dawson recommends watching children to see if they have difficulty with:

Learning the alphabet, identifying letters or processing letter-sound relationships

Learning nursery rhymes, preschool songs, the days of the week or the months of the year

Learning to count and recognize numbers

Reading out loud: slow, choppy and error-prone

Learning vocabulary or names of people and places

If a child is exhibiting some of these symptoms, an evaluation by an expert in dyslexia and reading impairments may be helpful.

School psychologists, pediatric neuropsychologists, educational therapists and speech language pathologists are among the professionals who are qualified to provide a diagnosis.

Dawson advises parents not to delay testing.

“Studies show that a child’s reading skill level at the end of kindergarten is predictive of where his or her reading skills will be in third grade,” she says. “After diagnosis, supports and accommodations can help children with learning differences succeed academically.”

Happily, successful intervention can reduce academic frustration and minimize the negative impact of dyslexia on a child’s learning success. All it takes is the right tools.

Courtesy North American Precis Syndicate Inc.

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