Dyslexia is a learning disability characterized by poor reading despite normal intelligence. This condition affects people differently. Some dyslexic patients have trouble acquiring and using written language while others struggle with spelling.
Health experts believe that dyslexia is caused by genetic and environmental factors. There is no cure for this learning disability. If you suspect that your child is dyslexic, watch out for these signs and symptoms:
Poor Phonological Awareness
Is your child unable to identify or incorporate individual phonemes in words? Although expectations of phonemic awareness will vary from child to child, dyslexic children will struggle to pronounce rhymes or recognize words that rhyme. The lack of phonological awareness is indicative of a reading disability. The good news is, phonological awareness can be taught. By teaching your child about phonemic awareness, he will develop better reading fluency, reading comprehension and proper spelling.
Slow Rapid Naming
Rapid naming – also known as word fluency – is the ability to name words, pictures or symbols rapidly. This ability is not based on accuracy but speed. Usually, those with a reading disability can name symbols, words and pictures accurately but at a much slower pace than those who do not have a learning disability. If your child is taking too long in naming certain words or symbols, it could be indicative of dyslexia.
Another sign of dyslexia is the difficulty of reading nonsential words. A dyslexic individual may be able to decode the words, but he will be unable to blend the sounds together to produce the nonsense word.
Poor Reading Fluency
Reading fluency is the ability to score accurate reading and speed of which an individual can read. It is the measure of the average number of words that are read correctly per 60 seconds.
For kids, reading fluency is measured by having them read short paragraphs or longer reading passages. A child that can read accurately and fluently does not have any reading disability. A child that can read accurately but is not fluent is dyslexic.
Poor Reading Comprehension
Reading comprehension is the understanding of the printed word. A dyslexic child reading short paragraphs can score well on reading comprehension. But as the paragraphs become longer, the child will struggle to understand the context of the content. Some dyslexic individuals are able to read fluently, but struggle to understand what they are reading about. Assessment for dyslexia includes oral and silent reading comprehension.
Poor spelling provides a wealth of diagnostic information about a person’s phonemic awareness and language in general. Poor spelling is usually indicative in weakness in the following linguistic elements:
- Phonemic awareness
- Orthographic knowledge
- Semantic knowledge
- Morphological knowledge
In some cases, poor spelling is a result of a hearing deficit or auditory processing disorder.
Difficulties in Writing
Writing is the most complex of all language forms. Spelling errors, syntactic and semantic errors, morphologic errors and word omission are usually present in a dyslexic child’s written assignment. However, analyzing writing becomes more complex depending on the severity of the reading disability. For older students, assessment through writing will include narrative writing, expository writing, and persuasive writing.