Helping Your Dyslexic Child
If your child complains that the letters in his book are dancing across the page, he may not be joking. He may be suffering from dyslexia, a severe reading disorder.
Those with dyslexia have normal vision and intelligence, but dyslexia affects their perception, cognitive abilities, and language -- even reading a menu could be a challenge. On the other hand those with dyslexia may have excellent math or spatial skills.
According to Janet Lerner and Frank Kline in their book "Learning Disabilities and Related Disorders," definitions of dyslexia vary, but there are key similarities:
- Dyslexia occurs in the brain and affects the neural connections.
- Dyslexics have difficulty recognizing letters and words.
- They struggle to understand written information.
The International Dyslexia Association lists additional signs to look for, including:
- Difficulty learning to speak
- Poor spelling
- Problems memorizing facts involving numbers
See the Internation Dyslexia Web site for age-specific signs according to age.
Lerner and Kline write that recent research indicates that dyslexia appears to have a genetic basis. For example, family histories reveal that severe reading problems run through families, and studies of twins show that where one twin has reading diffuculties, often the other does as well.
If you suspect your child might have dyslexia, talk to your doctor about getting your child tested. There is no single test for dyslexia; instead, your doctor may recommend a combination of tests to rule out other factors that may be causing the learning issues (hearing, vision, neurological, and psychological tests) as well as a reading test to evaluate his skills.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there is no cure for dyslexia. However, children with dyslexia can improve their reading skills through tutoring and remedial education. There are several excellent reading programs available. Reading specialists as well as speech therapists can pinpoint the best approach for your child.
Charles Schwab, renowned investment broker and dyslexic, established http://www.schwablearning.org, a Web site for those seeking information and help.
Dyslexia can slow a child down, but it doesn't stop him or her from learning.