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Is My Child Dyslexic?

Updated: Jul 19, 2020

According to the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia is defined as a neurologically-based disorder which interferes with the acquisition and processing of language. Children with dyslexia often find it difficult to read, write, spell, and sometimes, do simple arithmetic. While most experts have agreed that no two persons with dyslexia are alike, there are some tell-tale signs to look out for that point towards a possibly dyslexic child.

Here are some signs of child dyslexia to look out for:

  • Finding it difficult to handle prepositions or directions like up, down, in front of, behind, on top, under, beside, left, and right.

  • A shorter-than-usual attention span compared to peers of the same age

  • Apparent clumsiness in motor tasks like running, climbing, jumping, catching, throwing, or kicking a ball

  • Confusing familiar words or letters in words, for instance saying “aminal” instead of “animal”

  • Difficulty memorising nursery rhymes

  • Showing little interest in learning new words and letters

  • Having problems with self-care skills like tying of own shoes or dressing

  • Difficulty sequencing stories using story photo cards (such as what happened first, what happened next, what happened last), and problems following colour sequences such as stringing beads in a sequence.

  • Problems with self-care skills such as learning to tie shoes or dressing up

  • Putting words in the wrong order in sentences

  • Poor articulation when speaking (continuing after primary 3)

  • Finding it difficult to sound out new words

  • Looking tired after reading or writing tasks

  • Enjoys being read to, but does not enjoy reading

  • Having problems in learning to tell time on an analogue clock

If your child displays three or more of the symptoms of dyslexia above, do speak with his teacher about having him tested for dyslexia. Multiple tests may be needed as dyslexia encompasses different areas of learning. Do also remember that it is difficult to diagnose most children of dyslexia accurately until they are older than five.

At the end of the day, the onus is on us parents to know our child and be aware of his or her personal needs and shortcomings. As important as it is that the teachers at school be well qualified and experienced, their attention can be divided between a class of children in school. As a result, it is parents who often spot suspicious symptoms in their child, such as an unexpected difficulty in reading which is not evident in an older sibling or a peer of the same age.

Concerns of this nature should be raised – with your spouse, the child’s school, and anyone who is concerned in the well-being of the child – as soon as they are spotted. It may well turn out that you had nothing to worry about, or it may be something that needs to be addressed. Either way, it’s always good to be as aware and involved in your child’s developmental progress as possible.

Occupational therapists are able to work with children who have difficulties in reading and writing so as to improve functional outcomes and promote better learning in school.

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