If you’re a parent struggling to understand why your child has trouble in school, or with simple tasks that their siblings and friends do just fine, you may want to learn to recognize signs of dyslexia. Now, we’re not going to go so far as to say that all the symptoms of dyslexia on their own warrant a parent diagnosis for your own child.
In fact, when you read about dyslexia, you may get a little confused. Sometimes the symptoms of the neurological disorder overlap with what you may have heard as being associated with other school-age struggles, like ADHD, or Autism. So taking any list of symptoms on its own without further doctor intervention is not recommended.
And also, sometimes the signs of dyslexia seem ‘normal’ for a kid who’s still learning. For example, don’t all kids mix up “chicken” and “kitchen” at one point in their lives? English is hard! Or haven’t we all heard a kid say “aminal” instead of “animal” by accident? And isn’t that darn cute?
So read the following with precaution, and know that there are tests, as well as solutions and positive outcomes for the dyslexic mind.
How to understand dyslexia as more than a learning disability
To further understand dyslexia, we recommend these excellent videos below. They not only give insight into the world of the dyslexic, they help us understand, from a scientific perspective, what the disorder is. Be sure to watch on YouTube:
Based on those videos, and other resources we’ll reference, we can conclude that you can recognize the signs of dyslexia by any of the following (though this is by no means a comprehensive list!).
Do other people in the family have dyslexia?
Dyslexia can be hereditary, or inherited by your family’s DNA. While this may cause more reason for concern and motivation to get tested early by parents who already know of the dyslexic family members, it’s not always that simple. According to Reading Rockets, often times, dyslexia is misunderstood and people may have not been diagnosed properly.
So instead of only considering whether or not you know any family diagnosed with dyslexia, instead consider the signs of the disorder. Was anyone else in your family struggling with school in a significant way? This is just one example.
Does your child struggle with more than ‘flipped’ words and letters?
A misconception about dyslexic students is that they see words or letters backwards. The truth is that dyslexia exhibits itself by more than this confusion. It is more about the way in which whole words, and their meanings, are absorbed or come together.
Here is a resource that explains the other struggles that are involved with dyslexia:
Other dyslexic symptoms can be:
- Using the wrong words, but words that sound similar to what they meant
- Difficulty with word problems when tested
- Unable to remember instructions, especially in a larger set of things to grasp
Is your child more skilled in other areas of life, not necessarily academics?
As you’ll find around the web, lots of entrepreneurs and creative geniuses (as well as ‘regular folks’) have been able to make something of themselves, despite their dyslexia. This may be because they created opportunity for themselves using the strengths of their dyslexic mind, rather than focusing on their academic weaknesses.
Here is a list by Yale on some successful dyslexics:
And, although not the most reliable source, here is a Wikipedia entry of even more successful dyslexic achievers:
As you’ll find, dyslexic students may be more skilled at creative areas of life. They may be idea-full and love to come up with stories, or have conversation. But just because they can’t get that all down on paper doesn’t mean they are ‘dumb.’
This also falls inline with the theory of multiple intelligences.
Does your child hate school, and make excuses for not going to school?
We’ve written about how to help kids who won’t come to school. In that article we stressed the importance of finding out the ‘why’ behind your child’s resistance to going to school.
Well, dyslexia may be one of those reasons, even if your child doesn’t know it yet. If your child is struggling with school work, they may not know they are dyslexic to do anything about it. They will only be able to see that they can’t keep up with the other kids. And even worse, they may feel like their teacher is disappointed in them, if the teacher is not well-enough attuned to recognize the signs of dyslexia.
All this put together can create a negative experience and sensation of going to school. No wonder the dyslexic would then make excuses for avoiding the classroom altogether!
To conclude: not all dyslexics are alike!
As we’ve stated above, dyslexia and its symptoms can span across a range of expressions. On top of that, dyslexic children can exhibit different symptoms, while all having the potential to be diagnosed with the disorder.
Our list above is by no means a final one, but a short starter that may spark an interest in doing more research on your own. If you do find out that your child has dyslexia, be sure to tell your tutor and teacher, so they can work with you on solutions.