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Health Information For Parents
Dyslexia (dis-LEK-see-uh) is a type of learning disability. A child with a learning disability has trouble processing words or numbers. There are several kinds of learning disabilities — dyslexia is the term used when people have trouble learning to read, even though they’re smart enough and want to learn.
Dyslexia is not a disease. It’s a condition someone is born with, and it often runs in families. People with dyslexia are not stupid or lazy. Most have average or above-average intelligence, and they work very hard to overcome their learning problems.
Research has shown that dyslexia happens because of the way the brain processes information. Pictures of the brain show that when people with dyslexia read, they use different parts of the brain than people without dyslexia. These pictures also show that the brains of people with dyslexia don’t work efficiently during reading. So that’s why reading seems like such slow, hard work.
Most kids begin learning to read by learning how speech sounds make up words (phonemic awareness) and then connecting those sounds to alphabet letters (phonics). Then they learn how to blend those sounds into words and, eventually, they can recognize words they’ve seen many times before.
Reading is a little like riding a bike: it requires doing many things at once with precise timing. With practice, typical readers gradually learn to read words automatically so they can focus their mental energy on comprehending and remembering what they’ve read.
Kids with dyslexia, though, have trouble with phonemic awareness and phonics. So reading doesn’t become automatic and stays slow and labored. When a child struggles with these beginning steps in reading, comprehension is bound to suffer and frustration is likely to follow.
A common assumption about dyslexia is that letters or words appear reversed — that “was” appears like “saw.” This type of problem can be a part of dyslexia, but reversals are very common among kids up until first or second grade, not just kids with dyslexia. The major problem for kids with dyslexia is in phonemic awareness, phonics, and rapid word recognition.
In preschool and elementary school kids, some signs of dyslexia include difficulty with:
Older kids, teenagers, and adults might have these same signs of dyslexia and probably also will:
Dyslexia is usually diagnosed during elementary school. In some cases, it doesn’t become apparent until a child is older and is expected to read and comprehend longer and more complex material. Continuing problems with advanced reading, spelling, and learning a foreign language may be signs that a bright teenager has dyslexia.
Dyslexia can only be formally diagnosed through a comprehensive evaluation by a reading specialist or psychologist, either at school or in the community. Pediatricians often know the signs of dyslexia and can guide families to proper help.
Delays in identifying kids with dyslexia can create a bigger reading problem and a drop in self-esteem. So it’s important to recognize symptoms early in elementary school and begin specialized reading instruction right away.
Fortunately, with the proper assistance and help, most kids with dyslexia are able to learn to read and develop strategies that allow them to stay in the regular classroom.
They usually work with a specially trained teacher, tutor, or reading specialist to learn how to read, spell, and manage the condition. Your child’s teacher, psychologist, or pediatrician may recommend an academic therapist — also called an education therapist or an academic language therapist — who is trained to work with kids with dyslexia.
In the United States, federal laws entitle kids with reading and other language-based learning differences — collectively known as “specific learning disabilities” — to special help in public schools, such as specialized instruction, extra time for tests or homework, or help with taking notes. States vary in how these laws are implemented. Parents should discuss these laws and accommodations with school staff.
Kids with dyslexia may feel that they’re not as smart as their peers because it’s difficult to keep up. As they move through elementary school, problems can get worse as reading becomes more important to learning.
Kids who have difficulty often avoid reading because it’s hard or stressful. So they miss out on valuable reading practice and fall farther behind their classmates.
It’s important to support your child’s efforts by encouraging and assisting in reading at home. Also try to give your child opportunities to build confidence and have success in other areas, such as sports, hobbies, art, and drama. Artists, athletes, scientists, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, and statesmen all have been able to achieve great things despite trouble with reading.
If you think your child might have dyslexia, talk with your doctor, your child’s teacher, or a reading specialist. The sooner a reading problem is found, the sooner your child can get the proper help.
What teachers should know about dyslexia, and teaching strategies to help students with dyslexia succeed in school.
Knowing what’s “normal” and what’s not in speech and language development can help you figure out if you should be concerned or if your child is right on schedule.
For many kids, reading doesn’t come easily. But these simple steps can help them become eager readers.
Wha tifev eryth inglo ooked lik ethis whe nyo utrie dtoread?
Dyslexia is a problem that makes it difficult for a kid to read. With some help and a lot of hard work, a kid who has dyslexia can learn to read and spell.
Dyslexia is a learning disability in which people have difficulty learning to read, even though they are smart enough and are motivated to learn. Learn more about dyslexia and how to deal with it.
Having a learning disability doesn’t mean you can’t learn. The trick will be figuring out how you learn best.
Strong self-esteem is a child’s armor against the challenges of the world. Here’s how to build healthy self-esteem in your kids.
Regardless of your child’s age or reading level, almost every community has programs and resources that are helpful.
Finding time to read is important to developing literacy skills. And there are many easy and convenient ways to make reading a part of every day.
Whether their kids are just starting kindergarten or entering the final year of high school, there are many good reasons for parents to volunteer at school.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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