By Vanessa Rasmussen, © 2004, All rights reserved.
Dyslexia is a specific neurological learning disability. Children suffering from dyslexia have difficulties with accurate and / or fluent word recognition and have poor spelling and decoding abilities. They may also have problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can obstruct growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.
Children may have dyslexia or a learning disability if they have one or more of the following symptoms:
1. Late walking and talking. Children vary a great deal with regard to the age they begin to walk and talk. The normal range is considered anywhere between 12 months - 2 years for walking and anywhere up to three years for talking. There are chances that some dyslexic children may not learn to crawl at all, but shift on their bottoms or move about on their tummies.
2. Ineptness and poor co-ordination. Not all children are blessed with excellent motor skills and may struggle to co-ordinate their steps, feed themselves or hold and play with toys.
3. Difficulty with buttons, laces, learning to ride a bike, swim, or catch a ball. Again a very young child will have trouble acquiring these skills, but usually a non-dyslexic child gradually becomes more adapt. The child with specific learning difficulties however, makes very slow progress and often fails masters some of these skills.
4. Difficulty with speech. As children grow older their speech usually becomes clearer and more distinct and it becomes easier to understand them. The dyslexic child however, often has a speech problem that lasts longer than usual. You might be able to notice prolonged confusion of words such as pospiple for Popsicle and darbie boll for Barbie-doll. They may also substitute words.
5. Problems sequencing. All children love nursery rhymes and songs sung to them. They quickly learn to mimic their elders and start singing for themselves. The dyslexic child will have great difficulty with this. No matter how often they hear the rhyme they will be unable to remember the order of verses or even the lines within the verse. Clapping out a rhythm will also cause problems as will the construction of simple rhymes like cat, mat, sat. It might be difficult for the dyslexic child to remember days of the week, multiplication tables, orders of numbers, etc. when they start school and feel that they lag behind in class.
6. Ambiguity over left and right. It is intriguing that research shows that a large number of dyslexic children tend to be left handed and are often ambidextrous. When linked to other factors, this left handedness or ambidexterity could point towards a problem.
7. Poor listening abilities, limited concentration span and tiring easily. The dyslexic child has poor short term memory which means the child has to concentrate very hard to remember little facts and hence gets tired very easily or stops concentrating altogether. This kind of behavior is often mistaken for hyperactivity as the child seems incapable of sitting still and paying attention for any length of time.
8. Writing and drawing. If your child finds it difficult to hold pencils or crayons and cannot form alphabets and numbers in spite of being shown repeatedly how to write, there is a good chance that he / she is dyslexic. Also, look out for tendency to write or draw from right to left and for letters written backwards.
9. Telling the time. It might be difficult for a dyslexic child to learn how to use a clock to tell time. Slowly, most of them do acquire this skill, but it does take longer for him/her to learn than other children.
10. Family members having dyslexia. Causes for dyslexia are neurological as well as genetic. Individuals inherit the genetic links for dyslexia. If one of the child's parents, grandparents, aunts, or uncles is dyslexic, then there are chances of the child acquiring the disorder.
Copyright 2001, 2004. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this article in whole or in part without written or verbal permission is strictly prohibited. For information about reprinting this article, contact the copyright owner: Vanessa Rasmussen, Ph.D, Starting a Day Care Center, http://www.startingadaycarecenter.com.