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How to Tell if Your Child is Dyslexic

Jul 2, 2008
If your child

* seems very frustrated when trying to read

* has started to avoid reading altogether,

* or has started to fight going to school

He or she may be dyslexic. And that is very good news.

It's good news, because dyslexia really is a talent, once you get past the reading challenge, and there are ways to do that -- in a relatively short period of time, for relatively little cash outlay.

The first step is the self-assessment test below, which is reliable if your child is at least seven years old. Most children age six and under do not have the brain development to read and write correctly. It is not unusual for them to reverse letters and numbers and to confuse words. Before they are seven, focus on such pre-reading skills as story telling, creative play and motor skill development, rather than on reading skills.

While reading through the questions, mark only those where the answer is "yes" to the question.

Does your child

1. Hesitate, stutter, omit words, insert words or replace abstract words with other words?

2. Intermittently and inconsistently skip abstract words when reading?

3. Inconsistently skip lines when reading?

4. Tend to guess wildly when a word is difficult to read?

5. Avoid reading and writing if at all possible?

6. Block read, meaning he/she sees a few familiar letters in a word and calls the word something other than what is written on the page?

7. Have difficulty sequencing numbers and letters while reading and writing?

8. Excel in such 3-dimensional activities as art, drama, music, inventing or sports?

9. Sometimes get accused of daydreaming or get labeled "lazy" by teachers?

10. Read below grade level (usually significantly below grade level)?

11. Avoid reading and homework if at all possible?

12. Have poor reading comprehension?

13. Use memorization to learn schoolwork; thinks memorizing is learning?

14. Spell creatively? (Often spelling is phonetically accurate but child is usually an extremely poor speller.)

15. Know the sound of each letter and yet cannot connect them to form the sound of the word, especially in early stages of learning?

16. Make up foreign pronunciations for a word and no one can understand them?

17. Have mood swings or seem hyperactive or compulsive?

18. Have difficulty staying focused and sitting still?

19. Exhibit creative, highly intuitive and environmentally aware behaviors?

20. Lose his/her train of thought an abnormal number of times throughout a conversation?

21. Have great coordination and balance or have the other extreme of very poor coordination and balance?

22. Feel dumb, have poor self esteem and not trust his/her own thoughts, insights or answers?

23. Not qualify for help because he/she isn't behind enough?

24. Have trouble with "left and right" or "over and under"?

25. Find arithmetic easy, and word problems hard?

26. In math, have trouble with time, sequencing of steps and maintaining order?

27. Display the answers to 1, 2, 3 and 4 inconsistently, especially when reading abstract words?

28. Have difficulty expressing thoughts in written form?

29. Get confused about directions in space or time?

30. Have difficulty with his/her handwriting?

31. Often forget the correct answers that he knew just a few minutes ago?

Now that you have completed the test, add up how many questions you answered yes to and arrive at a total. The dyslexia probability scale is as follows:

If you answered "YES" for:

a. 11 or fewer items-- there is a low probability that your child is dyslexic.

b. 12-20 items-- there is a good chance that your child is dyslexic.

c. 21 or more items--the probability is high that your child is dyslexic.

There are many existing, useful techniques to assist your child in his learning journey and, in many ways, dyslexia is a gift. After all, some of the world's most esteemed individuals, including Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Winston Churchill and General Patton, have been dyslexic. Once you have confirmed that your child is dyslexic, you can learn effective strategies to make learning a joy again! Look at that list of famous dyslexics again--it really is a talent, with one small obstacle, that you and your child can overcome.
About the Author
Known as America's "LD Coach," or Learning Differences Coach, Bill Allen has helped thousands of children and their parents experiencing difficulty in learning to read. For more info on dyslexia and to find out about the affordable and all-sensory Learning to Read Program, visit http://www.LDCoach.com
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