Are you worried that your child might have dyslexia? There is so much information available online and in the community about dyslexia, that it can be tricky to know what to believe and when to seek help. Here is a quick look at just a few of the common myths about dyslexia and some guidance for seeking help if your child is struggling with reading or pre reading skills.
MYTHS ABOUT DYSLEXIA
MYTH- If a child reverses letters such as “p,b,d, and/or q”, they have dyslexia.
FACT- Letter reversals may be an indication that your child has dyslexia if they persist beyond the end of first grade or past the age of seven. Prior to this, letter reversals are common and do not indicate the need for evaluation or intervention when occurring in isolation.
MYTH- Dyslexia is only a concern for school age children.
FACT- Dyslexia does not suddenly appear when children begin school. Many children who are later diagnosed with dyslexia were late talkers and/or struggled with non-developmental phonological processing disorders (patterns of speech sound errors). Children with language and speech sound disorders in preschool should be closely monitored for pre reading and early reading skills prior to beginning school.
MYTH-You can cure or outgrown dyslexia.
FACT- Individuals do not outgrown dyslexia. Dyslexia is a language based, neurological disorder that can be treated. Individuals with dyslexia learn to decode and spell through systematic, explicit instruction that may be multisensory based.
MYTH- Dyslexia is a vision problem.
FACT- Dyslexia is not a problem with vision, although individuals with dyslexia can also have vision issues. It is important to screen and evaluate for vision deficits to rule out any effects of poor vision.
MYTH- Non-English speakers or English Language Learners cannot have dyslexia.
FACT- Dyslexia is not specific to English. It affects all cultures and languages; and individuals who have difficulty reading and writing in their native language will also have difficulty reading and writing in English.
MYTH- Only individuals with a high or low IQ can have dyslexia.
FACT- There is no correlation between cognition and dyslexia. Dyslexia is present across the continuum of cognitive functioning. Difficulty with reading can be present in those with a high IQ as well as those with lower IQs. Low IQ no longer disqualifies individuals from receiving intervention to address reading disorders.
MYTH- Reading to your child will cure dyslexia.
FACT- Reading to your child is key for building speech, language, and literacy awareness. It is also a tremendous way to encourage bonding, closeness, and shared attention. Shared reading will not, however, cure dyslexia. Intervention for dyslexia must include systematic, explicit teaching of the rules and patterns for decoding and spelling.
You should speak to your child’s SLP about dyslexia/written language disorder:
Any time you have a concern about written language including reading or spelling.
If your preschool age child was a late talker or has been diagnosed with a phonological disorder.
If your 4-year-old does not appear to enjoy rhymes and cannot identify rhyme (mat, cat, bat).
If your 5-year-old cannot generate rhyming words (mat, cat, bat).
If your 4-5 year old cannot clap, tap, or count out syllables in words (bas-ket-ball).
If your 5-year-old cannot recognize which words begin with the same sound (ball, bat vs. ball, cup), cannot blend words given the onset and rhyme (/d/ + /og/ = “dog”), or cannot count sounds in words (“dog” – three sounds /d/ + /o/ + /g/).
If your 5-6 year old cannot recognize a word that does not rhyme in group (dog, hog, bat), cannot identify the first or last sound in word, cannot blend or segment sounds in words (/b/ + /a/ + /t/ = “bat), or cannot tell which word is different (cup, cup, cat).
If your 6-7-year-old cannot delete and substitute syllables in a word (say airplane, now say airplane without plane) or delete and substitute sounds in a word (say cup, now say cup without /k/).
Your school age child is struggling with reading (decoding) and spelling age appropriate words.